By finishing above .500 for the first time since 2011, the Tennessee Titans made positive strides last season. That was an quite accomplishment after winning five games the previous two seasons combined.
The Titans are building team around quarterback Marcus Mariota and his unique skill set. The former Heisman Trophy winner and second overall draft pick has the Titans in position to make the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade.
Here are the three best moves and the worst one made by the Tennessee Titans this offseason.
#1. Signing Eric Decker and drafting Corey Davis
The Titans have not had a consistent receiver in some time. Last year, Mariota’s go-to receiver was tight end Delanie Walker, who had just 65 catches. Rishard Matthews emerged as the team’s best outside receiver, but he is not a No. 1 guy.
The Titans recognized that Mariota needed weapons and got him a couple. Western Michigan's Corey Davis was ranked as one of the top two receivers in the draft and a consensus first round pick, though not many thought he would go fifth overall. He is a big bodied receiver that runs good routes and can make plays down the field.
Decker was a bit of a surprise because he was released by the New York Jets nearly three months after free agency began. He has the size, route running and veteran savvy to make plays all over the field.
The addition of the two receivers along with third round pick Taywan Taylor gives the Titans six receivers that can share the field together. Even though they have a run-first offense with DeMarco Murray, the Titans should have an improved passing attack.
#2. Drafting playmakers
Along with Davis, the Titans had a solid draft, grabbing cornerback Adoree' Jackson in the second round, Taylor in the third, Jayon Brown in the fifth and Josh Carraway in the seventh. A three-way player for the USC Trojans, Jackson needs to work on his skills as a cornerback, but he is flat out electrifying with the ball in his hands. Taylor is a dynamic receiver, Brown an athletic linebacker that could be a linebacker/safety hybrid type and Carraway is a long and athletic pass rusher.
They all have some things to work on, but this could be a high-impact group of players.
#3. Re-signing Karl Klug
Defensive end Karl Klug is the not the biggest player or the fastest player. Nor is he unusually athletic or flashy.
What the former fifth round draft pick is is a dependable, hard-nosed player. As noted by the team’s official website said when Jacksonville re-signed him in March, Klug “popular with coaches, teammates and fans for his no-nonsense approach, and rugged style of play.”
Having glue players that make plays on the field is a bonus. Seeing them get rewarded with a new contract can be a moral boost for the entire team, not just the individual player.
The worst: Signing Sylvester Williams
Williams was a former first round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2013. Although he won a championship with the team, the hype hasn’t matched the production, as he had just 94 combined tackles and six sacks in four years for the Broncos.
He may be able to help the Titans as part of their defensive tackle rotation, but a three-year, $17.5 million contract with $9.5 million guaranteed is not worth the risk. In fact, it was the sixth largest contract handed out to a defensive tackle this offseason.
There were more productive and less risky defensive tackles that signed contracts for less money and shorter terms than Williams.