NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The uncertainty of free agency makes evaluating the 2020 NFL draft prospects a bit more challenging for teams like the Tennessee Titans that are facing potentially extensive roster turnover. The scouting combine presents a chance for GM Jon Robinson and coach Mike Vrabel to get an up-close look at top prospects in drills as well as an opportunity to get to know them through individual meetings.
Here's a look at key players who could be appealing to the Titans as they work through the evaluation process:
Yetur Gross-Matos, linebacker/defensive end
Penn State | 6-foot-5, 265 pounds
Gross-Matos will likely be a standout in the field drills because of his loose hips and short-area quickness. His explosiveness off the ball on game day should transfer to an impressive 10-yard split. The Titans need pass-rushing help, and Gross-Matos led the Nittany Lions with 8.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss this season. He could be a strong possibility at pick No. 29. The formal meetings will also be important for Gross-Matos because he faces allegations of hazing while at Penn State, which is something teams will likely want to discuss.
Zack Baun, outside linebacker
Wisconsin | 6-foot-3, 240 pounds
Baun is a high-motor player who consistently harassed quarterbacks in 2019 -- racking up 19.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks. That kind of ability to impact the passer is exactly what the Titans need. He's a fast-twitch athlete who has lateral quickness as well, so expect to see him impress in the bag drills. Baun's versatility will show in field drills when he's asked to drop back into coverage and react to the ball. While the senior's explosiveness will stand out, there are questions regarding how to specifically use him.
Noah Igbinoghene, cornerback
Auburn | 5-foot-11, 200 pounds
Igbinoghene is the son of an Olympic athlete. His mother represented Nigeria as a member of the 4x100 relay team in the 1992 Olympics (bronze medal) and the 1996 Olympics (fifth place). His father is a five-time SEC champion from Mississippi State in the long jump and triple jump. Like his parents, the Auburn cornerback excelled in the long jump and triple jump, so expect to see him impress in all of the tests at the combine. The Titans need a cornerback who is able to run with faster receivers but also willing to get involved in run defense. Igbinoghene has played the position for only two years but fits the bill.
Cameron Dantzler, cornerback
Mississippi State | 6-foot-2, 185 pounds
The prized pupil of former standout NFL cornerback Terrell Buckley, Dantzler will impress with his technique during DB drills. The 6-foot-2 corner's combination of length and athleticism is appealing to NFL personnel people who want players who can match up with a variety of receivers. Dantzler is a sticky cover corner whose confidence and competitive nature will surface during formal meetings at the combine. The Titans need a shutdown-type cornerback who can take on tough AFC South assignments like Houston Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins. Dantzler is a strong candidate to rejoin college teammate Jeffery Simmons in Tennessee and help out from day one.
Devin Duvernay, wide receiver
Texas | 5-foot-11, 202 pounds
As a senior at Sachse High School, Duvernay was the 6A Texas State 100-meter dash champion in 2015. Duvernay will undoubtedly run well in the 40-yard dash. Testing well in the three-cone drill and short shuttle will be crucial for Duvernay to show that he has quickness in addition to his straight-line speed. When watching Duvernay play, it's clear that he isn't just a track guy playing football. There is a level of toughness that shows when he lined up in the slot and worked the middle of the field for most of his 106 receptions for 1,386 yards and nine touchdowns. A lot of Ryan Tannehill's passing yards in 2019 came by way of yards after the catch. An explosive player like Duvernay who routinely turns short passes into big gains should draw interest from the Titans.
KJ Hamler, wide receiver
Penn State | 5-foot-9, 176 pounds
Hamler's explosive playmaking ability makes him a vertical threat when lining up outside the numbers and the slot. He is also a weapon who can be used on jet sweeps and other specialized plays to take advantage of how well he runs with the ball in his hands. Vrabel and offensive coordinator Arthur Smith dialed up a number of these plays last year, so Hamler would fit into their plans. Robinson has looked for field-stretching wideouts in the draft (Taywan Taylor) and through undrafted free agents such as Kalif Raymond and Cameron Batson. There's a good chance that Hamler could be his next attempt to add explosiveness to Tennessee’s offense.