Dane Brugler 2023 NFL mock draft combines Tennessee Titans strategies

Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: Gator Sports)
Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: Gator Sports) /

With nearly half a year left until the 2023 NFL Draft, Tennessee Titans fans can ignore most mock drafts for at least another two months. However, Dane Brugler is the exception to the rule because he has unique insight into the NFL Draft and into NFL front offices.

Nothing is written in stone, but Brugler absolutely knows his stuff. On December 1, 2021, Brugler posted his first 2022 NFL Draft (1 round), and he correctly mocked:

-Aidan Hutchinson to the Detroit Lions

-Andrew Booth to the Minnesota Vikings

-Nakobe Dean to the Philadelphia Eagles

-David Faalele to the Baltimore Ravens

-Barnhard Raimann to the Indianapolis Colts

Some of those picks happened outside of the first round, but the reason he matched the right players with the right teams at such a high rate is that he understands what each NFL front office is looking for and what their tendencies are.

In case you were wondering, he matched Jameson Williams to the Tennessee Titans before Williams skyrocketed up draft boards.

So, with the preamble out of the way, what did he do with the Tennessee Titans’ first pick?

Two Tennessee Titans draft strategies converge

With the 26th pick, the Tennessee Titans select…Darnell Washington TE, Georgia

This is a really interesting pick. While I think left tackle, wide receiver, and possibly center all make more sense, Washington is clearly going to check off a lot of boxes for the Tennessee Titans.

Since 2018, Jon Robinson has had 10 picks in the first or second round, and 7 of those draft picks have been multi-year SEC starters.

When he has gotten away from those picks, it has been because he wanted to take a swing on someone with high upside who was falling down the draft for one reason or another. Harold Landry was one of those swings and it landed the Tennessee Titans a Pro Bowl EDGE in the second round.

Caleb Farley was also one of those swings, and it seems like his injuries are going to be nearly impossible for him to overcome. At the very least it will be hard for him to overcome them in time to prove that he was worthy of a first-round selection.

The other name on the list is Dillon Radunz who has proven that he deserves to start somewhere on this offensive line and over the course of the regular season and the preseason he has started at every position on the offensive line except center. The question now is where he will start and not if he will start.

Washington would qualify as a multi-year SEC starter (started in 6+ games every season and played in 22 of UGA’s last 23 games after an injury sidelined him to start 2021).

At 6’7, 275 lb., Brugler called him an outstanding blocker, which would also appeal to the Tennessee Titans who have leaned towards bigger, more physical players in the first round.

Coming out of high school, Washington was a 5-star ATH and he has always been quicker and more flexible than you would expect from someone with his size. After adding 35 pounds in three years and becoming more and more productive, it is impossible to look at Washington and not talk about him as someone who still has untapped potential.

I think I speak for every Tennessee Titans fan when I say that if drafting Washington meant that Geoff Swaim was on the sideline (or gone), it would already guarantee a better offense. Now add in the fact that you would be replacing him with someone who is bigger, stronger, faster, and cheaper, and it makes that even more tantalizing.

For years, I have been against the idea of drafting an iOL, TE, RB, DT, off-ball LB, or safety in the first round. Historically those players are rarely worth that pick, but when you are one of the last six teams making a pick, it is hard to find “first-round value” in the first round.

With that in mind, taking a massive athlete who fits the identity of the Tennessee Titans offense and who replaces one of their worst players, is something that is very difficult to get mad about.