Titans starting offense projection after mandatory minicamp

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·9 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

After completing mandatory minicamp last week, the Tennessee Titans are a little more than one month away from opening their training camp for the 2022 season on July 26

For the last couple of seasons, the Titans have been considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Unfortunately, they have a few more question marks this season than they have had in years past, particularly on offense.

Nonetheless, those question marks aren’t a guaranteed death sentence for the Titans’ 2022 season.

This is an extremely talented and well-coached team that was the No. 1 seed in the AFC last year despite a ridiculous amount of injuries and breaking the NFL record for most players used in a season.

Over the next few months, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel and his staff will be tasked with trying to produce the best, most reliable 53-man roster that can continue their conference relevancy and recent divisional supremacy.

With everything we know following mandatory minicamp, I went ahead and predicted Tennessee’s starting Week 1 offense, but these predictions could change once the pads come on in camp and players start to separate themselves over an extended period.

With all that said, let’s take a closer look at my pre-training camp starting offense.

QB: Ryan Tannehill

Syndication: The Tennessean

Despite the Titans trading up in the third round to select Malik Willis, there’s no real starting job competition for the 2022 season. Tannehill will be the starter for the duration of the season unless there is a dramatic change of events, such as an injury, extremely poor play, etc.

RB: Derrick Henry

Syndication: The Tennessean

This should come as no surprise to anyone that Derrick Henry will be the starting running back in 2022.

The Alabama product was well on pace to become the first back to ever post two 2,000-yard seasons in 2021 before an unfortunate injury sidelined Henry for the final nine games of the regular season.

Coming off the injury, Henry has his fair share of doubters, something he is well aware of.

“I get motivated by anything,” Henry said, per Jim Wyatt of Titans Online. “Someone could motivate me and wouldn’t even know it… The doubters, whatever they want to be, I am definitely motivated and ready to go. We’re going to see.”

Look for the King to make a statement early and often to silence all the doubters that have come out of the woodwork since the injury took place.

WR1: Robert Woods

Syndication: The Tennessean

Prior to Woods’ ACL injury last November, the USC product had only missed one game in the previous three seasons (2018-2020).

Over those three seasons, Woods averaged 1,238 total yards (rushing and receiving), while also adding 18 touchdowns, both through the air and on the ground.

Woods was on pace for another 1,000-yard season in 2021 had he not suffered the unfortunate injury in practice prior to Week 10. The former Rams receiver accounted for 45 catches, 556 yards (12.4 YPC) and four receiving touchdowns. Woods also tallied eight carries for 46 yards (5.8 YPC) and one rushing touchdown.

Woods also flashed as a blocker last season. The veteran wide receiver had the highest run-blocking grade among players at his position in 2021 (84.9), according to Pro Football Focus.

Also, per Next Gen Stats, the talented wideout accounted for 288 “Run Block Wins” over the last five seasons, second-most among all wide receivers.

Woods may not have the type of superstar ceiling as the Titans’ previous No. 1, but the USC product possesses the type of skillset that has the potential to excel in a culture and scheme like Tennessee’s.

WR2: Treylon Burks

Syndication: The Tennessean

There’s been a ton of negative publicity surrounding the once highly-touted and hyped-up rookie wide receiver from Arkansas. There’s no denying that Burks’ start hasn’t been ideal by any means.

The rookie wide receiver has been hampered by asthma, forcing him in and out of rookie minicamp and OTAs, and he did not participate in either of the open sessions of mandatory minicamp.

The concern has only been amplified due to the Titans’ commitment to secrecy with anything injury-related.

This allows fans and media members to draw their own conclusions on anything and everything, and those conclusions are usually way more dramatic than the actual reality of the situation more often than not.

However, barring a situation where this asthma was a recent development (head coach Mike Vrabel said the Titans were aware of it when they drafted Burks), history shows that he is more than capable of managing the condition come the fall.

So, before anybody writes off an extremely talented rookie before he even puts on his shoulder pads, remind yourself why Burks was selected in the first place.

According to Sports Info Solutions, among all SEC wide receivers in 2021, Treylon Burks ranked:

  • 1st in yards per route run (3.9)

  • T-1st in Broken tackles (10)

  • 2nd in quarterback rating when targeted (153.9)

  • 3rd in yards per target (12.3)

  • 3rd in yards per reception (16.7)

  • 3rd in yards per game (92 YPG)

  • 4th in receiving yards (1,104)

  • 4th in receiving touchdowns (11)

  • T-4th most DPI’s drawn (3)

  • 5th in YAC (631)

  • 6th in total first-downs (42)

  • 7th in receptions (66)

  • 7th in yards after contact (202)

  • 7th in DPI yards (39)

  • 8th in targets (90)

  • 9th in completion percentage when targeted (73.3%)

  • 9th in average depth of catch (7.4)

  • 10th in first-down percentage (63.6%)

  • 10th in average depth of target (9.1)

Until we are given a true reason to worry once camp/preseason arrives, that’s the type of talent I’m penciling in as a starter until proven otherwise.

WR3: Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

Syndication: The Tennessean

Last season, Westbrook-Ikhine caught 38 passes, which ranked second on the team. He was also second on the team in receiving yards and touchdowns (four) as well.

According to Vrabel, the Indiana product has made several nice strides thus far in the offseason.

Unless the Titans have a late acquisition at the position, Tennessee is likely going to have to hope that the strides Westbrook-Ikhine has made this offseason will translate to the field once the season gets here.

Regardless, expect the Titans to rotate all of their wide receivers a bunch since the majority of them have the versatility to play inside and outside.

TE: Austin Hooper

Syndication: The Tennessean

The addition of Hooper has the potential to become an extremely underrated addition to this offense.

Last season, the Titans got minimal production from their entire tight end group.

The Stanford product was once a two-time Pro Bowler in Atlanta (2018 and 2019) after averaging 73 catches, 723 yards, and five touchdowns over those two seasons.

The Titans are hoping they can get Hooper back to that level after a couple of relatively mediocre seasons in Cleveland where he never eclipsed 46 catches or 435 yards.

When he’s at his best, Hooper is capable of contributing at a high level, both as a pass-catcher and blocker. Now that he’s once again the clearly superior tight end on the roster, look for Hooper’s ceiling in Tennessee to be closer to his Atlanta days.

LT: Taylor Lewan

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Lewan has been penciled in as the Titans’ starting left tackle since 2014, and that trend is going to continue once again in 2022. The Michigan product is motivated for a bounce-back season after a 2021 that was hampered with injuries and lingering affects from his 2021 ACL tear.

LG: Aaron Brewer

AP Photo/Wade Payne

Brewer is going to be very difficult to beat for the Titans’ starting left guard spot if he was able to add play-strength to his game this offseason.

The Texas State product is a fantastic athlete and he excels in a zone-blocking scheme like Tennessee’s. However, some weaknesses you can’t mask, and Brewer’s tend to show up in pass protection when he’s forced to anchor down against a physically superior defender.

I expect Brewer is cognizant of this weakness and I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt that he will show up stronger and ready to take this starting opportunity.

Having said all that, if we get to preseason and his pass protection is still a liability, I may have to change this prediction to Jamarco Jones. But until proven otherwise, I’m going with the better athlete and zone-blocking guard.

C: Ben Jones

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans re-signed Ben Jones to a well-deserved extension, so no surprise here that the Georgia product will be the opening-day starter barring a series of unfortunate events.

RG: Nate Davis

Syndication: The Tennessean

Davis looks to be in great shape entering a contract year and should be plenty motivated to put a strong showing on film. The Charlotte product has started in 43 games since being drafted by the Titans in 2019 and there’s no reason to believe that number won’t significantly grow in 2022.

RT: Dillon Radunz

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

For everybody’s sake, this better be the outcome. The Titans cannot afford to enter another draft season with the need to replace another failed early-round offensive tackle.

After being under consideration for the left guard spot, Radunz has been focusing on right tackle lately, so all signs are positively pointing towards Radunz getting the nod. As of right now, the North Dakota State product is the clear favorite to anchor the right side of the offensive line.

1

1