Cap space gets a lot of attention when free agency rolls around, but teams like the Tennessee Titans know that the decisions you make in the draft have a domino effect on how much you can spend in free agency.
A great way to visualize this is to look at a recent article from Over The Cap where they really dug into the numbers to figure out which positions a team should focus on to maximize their draft value.
As you would expect, drafting a quarterback is the best way to save money because quarterbacks earn the most outrageous contracts in the NFL. Teams are smart to get their signal-callers locked down because you can’t win NFL games without a quarterback, but that still means paying outrageous numbers.
However, there is one important reason why the Titans should completely ignore the quarterback position in favor of a different one.
Tennessee Titans have to focus on a receiver in the first round
The Draft Network had an article last year that broke down just how hard it is to hit on a quarterback in the NFL Draft.
This is a bad quarterback class, so getting a good quarterback with the first overall pick would be difficult if you needed one. It is even worse for a team like the Titans who don’t draft until the 26th pick, but luckily they don’t really need a quarterback in the near future (if they get better playcalling).
If they were forced to pick a quarterback at 26, history says that they have a 76.9% chance of that quarterback being a bust. Common sense says that number should be much lower considering the talent available this year.
Where they can find value, is by drafting a wide receiver in the first round. According to the OTC article I referenced earlier, wide receiver and left tackle are the second and third most valuable positions in the draft.
"“It is clear why the NFL values the QB so highly while over the long term wide receiver is a clear 2nd. However if focusing more on recent history teams have been so reluctant to let their tackles walk in free agency you can make a strong argument that left tackle is more valuable in a draft.”"
With a left tackle in place and a potential replacement for Taylor Lewan down the road in Dillon Radunz, it makes sense to lean towards the wide receiver in this situation.
Drafting a receiver in the first round makes sense when you look at the talent in this draft class, when you look at the Tennessee Titans’ team needs, when you look at potential fits, and now financially.
Even if Zion Johnson is available, the Tennessee Titans need to strongly consider the top receiver left on the board when they pick at 26, and they definitely need to consider receiver over quarterback when you look at the terrible track record quarterbacks have this late in the draft.