Tony Pauline is one of the most connected people in the world of draft insiders, and he linked the Tennessee Titans with one of the NFL Draft’s top tackle prospects.
During Tulsa’s pro day on Wednesday, it appears that the Tennessee Titans sent some important decision-makers to watch Tyler Smith’s workout.
That group included offensive line coach Keith Carter and Director of Player Personnel Monti Ossenfort. It is interesting that Carter went, but even more interesting that Ossenfort was on hand considering that he is one of the big shots in the Tennessee Titans front office. He is so well respected throughout the league that he was in the mix for the New York Giants GM job this offseason.
Historically the Tennessee Titans have done their best work when drafting offensive linemen with good athletic traits and letting them develop under Carter.
Dillon Radunz played at North Dakota State and by the end of his rookie season he was shutting down Nick Bosa. Nate Davis played at Charlotte and he played at a Pro Bowl level in 2020 in the scheme he was drafted to play in. Aaron Brewer was a UDFA out of Texas State and over the past two seasons he has shined when he was asked to fill in and he might be in line to start in 2022.
Is he a serious target for the Tennessee Titans?
Tyler Smith fits what the Tennessee Titans want in an offensive lineman, especially when you look at his athletic ability (RAS below). However, fitting what the Titans want in an offensive lineman and him being a serious target are two different things.
A lot would have to happen for the Titans to walk away from the draft with Tyler Smith. Specifically, they would need to address receiver and tight end multiple times in free agency.
As a fringe first-round pick, the most likely scenario is that GM Jon Robinson is doing his due diligence on players who could be BPAs at premium positions in a trade-down situation. Since the Titans may want to pick up a second-round pick by moving out of the first round while staying in the top-50, it makes sense to look at the offensive tackles in a deep class.
Tony Pauline did say that the Titans and Dolphins were looking at Smith the hardest:
"“I was told the Jets will try and have Smith meet with head coach Robert Saleh, but the big tackle may not be available when the team selects at the top of Round 2. The feeling leaving Tulsa’s Pro Day is the Dolphins or Titans could swipe him off the board late in Round 1.”"
However, that feels like a smokescreen, and last year Pauline had very little (if any) inside information on the Titans draft plans. His final mock draft had the Titans taking a receiver in the first (they didn’t take one until their 5th pick), two offensive tackles, and a running back so one out of four positions correct and no direct hits.
To sum it all up, this visit seems like it is more about the Titans doing their due diligence on targets that might be the best player available in a trade-down scenario than it is about their intentions to draft an offensive tackle in the first round.
Maybe things change if the Titans decide to cut or trade Taylor Lewan, but until that happens their roster has two starting tackles on it already despite whether Mike Vrabel wants to admit it or not.