Re-Grading the Tennessee Titans 2019 Draft Class

Updated: Jan 4


In honor of the Titans winning the AFC South, today I am re-grading their 2019 draft to see how GM Jon Robinson performed.


PHOTO CREDIT: Isaiah J. Downing / USA TODAY Sports


Round 1 - Pick 19 - Jeffery Simmons, DT

Mississippi State


Though Jeffery Simmons had torn his ACL in a pre-draft workout, Tennessee thought they could get value here, by selecting him. Simmons had top 10 potential, but slipped all the way down to 19, because of the injury. Many people thought that he would miss his rookie year, but he made his debut in Week 7, and never looked back. He is now one of our best defensive players and will be an anchor on the D-line for years to come.


Grade on Draft Day: B-

Grade Now: A-


PHOTO CREDIT: Dale Zanine / USA TODAY Sports


Round 2 - Pick 51 - AJ Brown, WR

Ole Miss


AJ Brown was brought in to give then-QB Marcus Mariota help on the outside and to pair with fellow receiver Corey Davis. AJ caught 3 passes for 100 yards, in Week 1, and then took off, leading all rookies with 1,051 yards. He was thought to be one of the top receivers in the draft, if not the best of them all, but AJ was the 4th one taken. As a prospect, he was said to be the most NFL-ready of the wideouts in the draft, and he has shown that, as he is nearing another 1,000-yard season.

Grade on Draft Day: A

Grade Now: A+


PHOTO CREDIT: Andrew Nelles / Tennesseean.com


Round 3 - Pick 82 - Nate Davis, G

Charlotte


Nate Davis was drafted to fill the role of the departed Josh Kline, at right guard. He missed all of training camp with an injury, but when he went on to the field as a rookie, he helped Derrick Henry become the 2019 rushing champ. He has been inconsistent at times, but I can see Nate Davis being a big part of the offensive line in a few years, plowing lanes for Henry, and protecting Ryan Tannehill.


Grade on Draft Day: B

Grade Now: B+


PHOTO CREDIT: Mike Dinovo / USA TODAY Sports


Round 4 - Pick 116 - Amani Hooker, S

Iowa


To me, this was an odd pick at first as the Titans already had two All-Pro safeties, Kenny Vaccaro and Kevin Byard, and had picked a safety in the previous draft, in Dane Cruikshank. Nevertheless, Amani Hooker had a solid rookie season, being a key contributor on special teams, and being on the receiving end of a fake punt in the AFC Championship game. Vaccaro has missed time this season and Hooker has done well filling in for him, with 3 interceptions this season. I can see Hooker as a special teams ace and a nice backup to have if Byard or Vaccaro go down.


Grade on Draft Day: C-

Grade Now: B+


PHOTO CREDIT: Christopher Hanewinckel / USA TODAY Sports


Round 5 - Pick 168 - D’Andre Walker, OLB

Georgia


This could be the worst pick of the Jon Robinson era. Tennessee was looking to gain some depth at outside linebacker and picked the former Georgia Bulldog in the 5th Round. Walker was put on injured reserve during training camp, and he missed all of his rookie years. He worked to come back in 2020, but the Titans signed Jadeveon Clowney and had discovered a potential star in David Robertson, and Walker was released on September 5, 2020. He never got an opportunity with the team, and right now without much help at outside linebacker, we could probably use him.


Grade on Draft Day: B

Grade Now: F


PHOTO CREDIT: Jim Mone / Associated Press


Round 6 - Pick 188 - David Long, Jr. MLB

West Virginia


David Long was originally drafted to be the 3rd or 4th linebacker on the depth chart. Fast-forward to the 2019 playoffs, in the Wild-Card round Jayon Brown got hurt. So in the Divisional round, David Long stepped in and helped the Titans upset the Ravens. He helped stop MVP Lamar Jackson on a couple of 4th and 1’s and made plays. Now, veteran, Weasly Woodyard is gone, and Brown is out for the season, and Long is the 2nd middle linebacker to the depth chart. With Rashaan Evans struggling, David stepped up in a recent loss to the Packers and had his best day yet. Jon Robinson found a diamond in the rough, and David Long may be the next great middle linebacker for the Titans.


Grade on Draft Day: C-

Grade Now: A-



My Hits, Misses, or Mehs

Hits: Let’s start off with the hits. The biggest hit was AJ Brown, who has blossomed into a star and can be one of the best in the game. Next up is Jeffery Simmons. He can be a game-wrecker, and Jon Robinson found a top talent at 19 overall. David long is our last hit. Taken so late, he could help Tennessee when any linebacker goes down, or become a great starter.


Misses: The only miss is D’Andre Walker. He never played a regular-season snap and is currently not on a roster. He could end up being the worst draft pick of Jon Robinson.


Mehs: Nate Davis is our first meh. He is a borderline hit, but I think he just needs more time, and if he gets more consistent, he could get into the hit category. Amani Hooker is also a meh, due to the lack of playing time. Though he has shown signs of stardom (look at the 3 picks this season) He could be a hit if he can become a dominant special teamer, and becomes a high-level backup.



Final Thoughts


Overall Jon Robinson did his thing and had another good draft in 2019. He picked Simmons and Brown, who are producing at a high level. Brown is going to the Pro-Bowl this year, and Simmons has anchored a shaky defensive line. The David Long pick was good as well, and Nate Davis could become a reliable starter. Amani Hooker has earned the trust of Mike Vrabel and the coaching staff. The only bad part of the draft was D’Andre Walker, as he has not panned out as we wanted him to. I think Robinson has built the roster his way using homegrown stars and if he can continue to draft like the 2019 draft, Tennessee can be a contender for years to come.


​© 2020 by House Enterprise.

A Jake Zimmer and Will Tondo creation.

Based in Providence, Rhode Island

  • LinkedIn