Titans draft Texas NT T’Vondre Sweat

Let it not be said that the Tennessee Titans are neglecting the trenches.

Raiders 2024 NFL Draft: T'Vondre Sweat film breakdown - Silver And Black  Pride

They followed up a massive, physically imposing first-round pick on the offensive line with a massive, physically imposing second-round pick on the defensive line — from 6-5, 342-pound Alabama offensive tackle JC Latham to 6-4, 366-pound Texas defensive tackle T’Vondre Sweat.

The Titans took Sweat with the No. 38 pick, and it’s a more polarizing choice than Latham was at No. 7. Some analysts gave Sweat a chance to sneak into the first round. The Athletic draft analyst Dane Brugler gave him a fourth-round grade, ranking him No. 129 on his big board. There’s a range of opinions in between. Brugler’s is that while he must harness consistency and focus, Sweat “is a rare athlete for his size, with the power and ingredients to be a dominant force against the run.”

He also must mature, as a DWI arrest earlier this month in Austin, Texas, would suggest. The Titans visited with him afterward and felt comfortable enough to take him higher than some would have expected.

NFL Draft 2024 tracker: Live blog, pick-by-pick grades and analysis
Big board best available: Who’s left from Dane Brugler’s Top 300?
Draft pick grades: Nick Baumgardner, Scott Dochterman rate Rounds 2-3
Full draft order: Team picks for all 257 selections
“The Athletic Football Show”: Watch live reaction to the draft

‘The Beast’ breakdown

Sweat ranked No. 129 in Dane Brugler’s Top 300 big board. Here’s what Brugler had to say about him in his annual NFL Draft guide:

“With his powerful base, Sweat refuses to be moved and effortlessly controls the point of attack before shedding with urgency and range to finish. As a pass rusher, his hands and feet need to be more consistently synced up, but he can create knockback and collapse the pocket.”

Nick Baumgardner grades the pick

Tennessee Titans: Grade for T'Vondre Sweat pick in 2024 NFL draft

This is a tough one. Sweat was charged with a DWI earlier this spring and, per our Dane Brugler, was open about his partying and off-field antics with teams during the draft process. Football-wise, Sweat is a unique mountain of a man at 360-plus with the feet and agility to play multiple spots. Can you trust him off the field, can he keep his weight down? High-risk, high-reward pick here.

Grade: B

How he fits with Titans

Jeffery Simmons badly needs help after Denico Autry signed with the Houston Texans in the offseason, a couple of months after things went south between the former Titans coaching staff and Teair Tart — a tackle who occupied space and blockers and made things easier for Simmons when he was going. Autry is the bigger loss, and this is not a replacement for his versatility. But as anyone who watched Sweat push the line for the Longhorns can attest, if he’s at peak condition and energy, he can be a force. This is somewhat reminiscent of the Titans taking Simmons in 2019 while still anchored up front by Jurrell Casey, the difference being that Simmons is in his prime now.

Rookie impact

AUSTIN, TEXAS - NGÀY 30 THÁNG 9: T'Vondre Sweat #93 của Texas Longhorns ăn mừng sau pha tắc bóng trong trận đầu tiên với Kansas Jayhawks tại Sân vận động Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial vào ngày 30 tháng 9 năm 2023 ở Austin, Texas. (Ảnh của Tim Warner/Getty Images)

The only thing holding Sweat back from major impact as a rookie would be Sweat. The opportunity is there for him. And the result of his rookie season will give a strong indication of where things are going for him with this franchise and in this defense, just because the opportunity is so big. Brugler wrote in “The Beast” that scouts said Sweat played in the range of 380 pounds last season, and that simply won’t cut it against NFL blockers. A big key here will be Simmons — who is as strong a leader the Titans have now that Kevin Byard and Derrick Henry are gone — showing Sweat the way. His ability to do so likely encouraged the Titans to make this pick.

Depth-chart impact

Other than Simmons, the Titans have free-agent signee Sebastian Joseph up front, an underrated add, and then a bunch of players who will be working hard to carve out a role and/or make the team — Quinton Bohanna, Keondre Coburn, TK McLendon, Shakel Brown. This is a position that could be impacted by undrafted free agents, but the clear top three is Simmons, Joseph and Sweat, and that isn’t likely to change.

They also could have picked ….

Florida State defensive tackle Braden Fiske would have been a safer pick, a guy with a lower ceiling than Sweat but a higher floor. Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean, a tremendous defender and punt returner, was there. On the cornerback front — a clear area of interest for the Titans in this draft despite their free-agency exploits — Alabama’s Kool-Aid McKinstry was there. Several other corners of interest were on the board as well, though some could fall into the fourth round — and perhaps the Titans can find a way to move up.

Fast evaluation

There are arguments against both of the Titans’ first two picks, and certainly more in the case of Sweat. Also, there’s tremendous potential. If Sweat can follow the lead of Simmons, a great player, pro and leader, that duo should make things easier on everyone else on a defense that still needs help at edge, linebacker and safety.

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