Things haven't gone the way the Tennesse Titans were hoping for after their 27-3 win over Cincinnati in week four. The team has lost their last two games, seen their quarterback Ryan Tannehill battle injuries, and had a very average offense overall. In this week's Inside the War Room, we look at how the Titans can address some of the needs that have arisen lately in the 2024 NFL Draft.
In addition to giving a Titans mock draft this week’s article also highlights NFL Draft prospects who had elite weeks last week, and a few to watch this coming week. We also honor National Tight End Day which was this Sunday, by discussing a few draft prospects at this position to watch.
Tennesse Titans Mock Draft
First Round Pick No. 9- Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame
While the biggest need in Tennessee this offseason will likely be quarterback, the team doesn’t have enough draft capital to move up in the draft to select either Caleb Williams or Drake Maye. This will lead to them addressing the left tackle spot with the selection of Joe Alt. Alt is one of the top pass blockers in the 2024 NFL Draft class and also shows the strength to consistently open up running lanes.
Second Round Pick No 40- Denzel Burke, CB, Ohio State
The Titans have invested heavily in the cornerback position recently using a first or second-round pick in three of the past four years at this position. However, they have gotten little production from these picks which is why they take Ohio State cornerback Denzel Burke. It also would make sense for the Titans to trade down in the second round since they don’t have a third-round pick.
Fourth Round Pick 109- Jack Sawyer, DE, Ohio State
The Titans add another Ohio State Buckeye with the selection of defensive end Jack Sawyer. Sawyer was viewed as a potential last first-round pick going into the season, but his lack of production could cause him to fall down the draft board. He would be a good replacement for
Denico Autry who is scheduled to be a free agent after the season.
Fifth Round Pick 155- M.J. Devonshire, CB, Pittsburgh
The Titans take their second cornerback in the 2024 NFL Draft with the selection of Pittsburgh’s M.J. Devonshire. Devonshire who was named to Inside the War Room’s All-Underrated defense is a ballhawk who has already defended ten passes this year which ranks fifth in the nation.
Sixth Round Pick 184- Thor Griffith, DT, Harvard
In the sixth round, the Titans address their defensive line again with the selection of one of the top small school defenders in the 2024 NFL Draft. Last season, Griffith had 12 tackles for loss and five sacks. He is also an impressive athlete who runs a 4.95 40-yard dash and bench presses 225-pounds 45 times according to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman.
Seventh Round Pick No. 221- Isaac Rex, TE, BYU
Tennesse has gotten very little from the tight end position this year, with this position only accounting for 187 yards this season. BYU tight end Isaac Rex is an athletic tight end who shows consistent hands in the passing game.
Seventh Round Pick 252- Jermaine Burton, WR, Alabama
With their last selection of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Titans add Alabama wide receiver Jermaine Burton. Burton has been playing lights out lately accounting for 319 over the last three games. However, he has been inconsistent at times and also needs to be a more polished route runner.
Top NFL Draft Performances of Week Eight
1. Jalen Green, OLB, James Madison
Jalen Green had one of the best games in NCAA history recording five sacks vs. Marshall. Against the Thundering Herd, his five sacks are the most a player has had since 2019. He also helped hold Marshall to just 169 yards in the team's 20-9 win. This is the second time he has been named a top performer as well with the first one coming in week five.
2. Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. showed he can put up ridiculous numbers against even the best defenders in college football. In much of this game, Harrison was matched up against Penn State cornerback Kalen King who carries a first-round draft grade on my board. Despite facing the toughest competition he will see this season he still was able to come away with 11 receptions for 162 yards and a touchdown that sealed the win for the Buckeyes.
3. Terrell Allen, OLB, Tennessee State
A small school player to watch is Tennessee State outside linebacker Terrell Allen. Last season, Allen was named All-OVC after picking up 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. This season he has already toped both of those numbers picking up 14 tackles for loss and nine sacks in just seven games. His best performance of the season came this past week when he picked up four sacks vs. Lincoln.
4. Ryan Flournoy, WR, Southeast Missouri State
The top small school wide receiver in the 2024 NFL Draft Ryan Flournoy, is finally starting to show why scouts are so high on him after battling a broken hand the past few games. In the team’s win vs. Tennessee Tech, he averaged 33.8 yards per catch on six receptions and also scored one touchdown.
5. J.J. McCarthy, QB, Michigan
Going into the season I was one of the biggest doubters of Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy, and one of the reasons was his lack of accuercey. This was after he completed 50% or less of his passes in three of the final six games of the 2022 season. However, I now have a late first-round draft grade on him partly due to the fact he has completed at least 70% of his passes in all but one game this season. In the Wolverines win over Michigan State he completed 21 of 27 passes with four touchdown tosses.
6. Andre' Sam, S, LSU
A player who has had a very interesting career is LSU safety Andre' Sam who is now on his fourth team in seven years. It looks like Sam may have found his best fit this season though as he already has a career-high three picks this season, with two of them coming on Saturday against Army.
7. Nash Hutmacher, DT, Nebraska
Nebraska defensive tackle Nash Hutmacher is having a breakout season this year. Going into the season he had 0.5 career tackles for loss and had zero sacks. This season, however, he already has six tackles for loss and four sacks. His best of the game came on Saturday when the 6-foot-4 330-pound defensive tackle got to the quarterback 2.5 times and was also consistently applying pressure.
8. Nathaniel Watson, MLB, Mississippi State
Mississippi State linebacker Nathaniel Watson showed why he will likely be a steal in the 2024 NFL Draft against Arkansas. In this game, he accounted for 14 tackles and two sacks and was one of the main reasons why Arkansas was only able to score three points on the day. This was just the latest impressive game from Watson who now has double-digit tackle numbers in four games this season and also has 7.5 sacks on the year.
9. Matthew Sluka, QB, Holy Cross
Holy Cross quarterback Matthew Sluka set a Division 1 single-game quarterback rushing record on Saturday when he ran for 330 yards in a close loss to Lafayette. He also accounted for more than half of the team’s yards in the game. Unfortunately, he did struggle as a passer completing only 33% of his passes for 85 yards.
10. Cody Schrader, RB, Missouri
To say the least, Missouri running back Cody Schrader has exceeded expectations after walking on at Missouri after a stellar career at Truman State. He currently leads the SEC in rushing yards with 807 yards and rushing touchdowns with nine. In his game against South Carolina, he had the best game of his Missouri career rushing for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
Three Prospects to Watch in Week Nine
1. Shedeur Sanders, QB, Colorado
This Saturday will be another big test for Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders who needs to bounce back from a disappointing second half against Stanford two weeks ago. This week he will face UCLA who has one of the better defenses he will compete against all season. The Bruins currently rank 18th in pass defense and also are averaging 3.43 sacks a game.
2. Jonah Elliss, DE, Utah
The Utah vs. UCLA game will match up two strengths. The Utah defense which ranks sixth in the nation is led by Jonah Ellis who already has ten sacks on the year. They face off against an Oregon offense that is only allowing 0.57 sacks a game which is the second-best mark in the FBS. If Utah is to pull off the big win over Oregon, Ellis is going to need to get to the quarterback on a consistent basis.
3. Luke McCaffrey, WR, Rice
A Group of Five matchup to watch this weekend is Rice wide receiver Luke McCaffrey against Tulane. McCaffery has had a stellar season this year already catching seven touchdowns, and is averaging 17 yards a catch. He will be facing the 22nd ranked Tulane Green Wave and their 118th ranked pass defense. If he can have a big night look for Rice to have a outstanding chance of pulling the upset.
NFL Draft Scouting Notes
— It has been another horrific season for the Iowa Hawkeyes’s offense, and along with horrible playcalling, the offense had also been hurt by injuries, especially at the tight end position. Earlier in the season the team lost Luke Lachey to a season-ending injury, and last week it was announced that Erick All will miss the rest of the year with a torn ACL. In addition to their top two targets being out the team is also without their starting quarterback Cade McNamara who is also done for the year.
— Another tight end who has been battling injuries this year is Stanford tight end Benjamin Yurosek. Yoursek started the season off strong accounting for 138 yards in the season opener vs. Hawaii. However, since then he has only accounted for seven receptions and 101 yards. A major reason his production has been so little is a shoulder injury he is currently battling. No matter how you look at it though it has been a disappointing year for a player who caught 49 passes for 445 yards last season and was named to ITWR’s All-Underrated offense going into the year.
— While both All and Yurosek are seeing their NFL Draft stock drop, one tight end who is moving up the board is Ohio State’s Cade Stover. This season he is averaging a career-high 15.9 yards per catch and has at least 50 receiving yards in each game. This ability to stretch a defense was one of my biggest concerns with him going into the season, but he has proven that should not be an issue at the NFL level. He has also made numerous tough catches in traffic, including one he made against Penn State in the third quarter. I currently have Stover rated as a third-round prospect, which is two rounds higher than I had him going into the season.
— Oregon running back Bucky Irving is living up to the expectations I had for him when I named him to the All-Underrated team going into the season. In his last two games he has rushed for over 120 yards in both contests, and against Washington State on Saturday he scored three times. His top trait as a runner is his contact balance which consistently allows him to bounce off tacklers despite being only 195 pounds. He also shows impressive quickness which helped him account for two runs over 40 yards this past week.
NFL Draft Quotes of the Week
“Any opportunity for me to guard players of that talent with that much skill. It’s always exciting for me because I can test my skills and get to compete against the best in college football. I never have a problem competing against the best because I consider myself one of the best as well.
- Penn State cornerback Kalen King about going up against Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka via the Andy Staples show
“Such a positive guy, hardworking, great personality and loves the game. Loves everything about the game, not just the game itself. And I hate to lose anybody, and certainly feel badly for Erick in that regard. He was certainly adding a lot to our football team. It’s a tough deal. We’ll all support him in his recovery, his road back, and certainly hope all goes well.”
- Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz on tight end Erick All
“He’s a special guy and I think the Redhawks need to appreciate what we’re watching because I think he’s gonna do the same thing in the NFL.”
- Southeast Missouri State head coach Tom Matukewicz on wide receiver Ryan Flournoy
"I do belong in the SEC. I do belong as one of the best running backs in the country."
- Missouri running back Cody Schrader
“I’d say his heart’s pounding out of his chest. This dude’s so passionate. He cares so much for his teammates. He never goes down on first contact. Really selfless player, and I think that really shows up when you watch this guy on the field.”
- Oregon head coach Dan Lanning on running back Bucky Irving