With the 227th selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans have selected outside linebacker Josh Carraway from Texas Christian University. The pick was the first of three in the seventh round for the Titans, acquired in a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals.
In the trade, the Titans sent the Bengals the 207th overall selection, a sixth round pick, in exchange for picks #217 and #227. The Bengals selected RB Brandon Wilson at #207, and the Titans selected OT Corey Levin at #217.
After redshirting as a freshman, Carraway played out all four years of his eligibility at TCU. In two years as a full-time starter, 2015-2016, he registered 96 total tackles, 12.5 sacks, and 17 tackles for loss.
Carraway will likely serve as a right outside linebacker in Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 defense, where his skill-set will allow him to readily contribute as a situational and rotational pass rusher. According to draft expert Nolan Nawrocki, while Carraway “lacks point-of-attack strength” and has “limited lower-body explosion,” he has “very good arm length” and possesses “natural bend, burst, and suddenness” off the edge.
The Titans’ base group of pass rushers includes two Pro Bowlers (Brian Orakpo and Jurrell Casey) and another edge rusher in Derrick Morgan who has 13.5 sacks in the last two seasons. However, at times last season, the group would suffer long stretches in which they would be unable to get consistent pressure, exposing an already weak core of defensive backs.
These stretches were likely caused by a lack of variety in the Titans’ pass rushers’ approach. Orakpo, Morgan, Casey, and Karl Klug are all powerful, bull rush players. If Carraway, who relies more on his athleticism and ability to bend, is able to contribute during his rookie season as a third down pass rush specialist, he could be the last piece to the puzzle of a dominant defense.