The Tennessee Titans play a crucial game tonight against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and honestly, there isn’t a bad outcome for the Titans.
Obviously, if the Titans win they are into the postseason for the third-straight year and they will get to host the Baltimore Ravens or Los Angeles Chargers in the first round of the playoffs.
That would be great for the team’s morale considering the incredible collapse that they have had over the last six weeks, and the side benefit of all but kicking the Jacksonville Jaguars out of the playoffs is a nice bonus.
Then again, losing has its benefits too.
Fans don’t want to admit it right now, but in four months they would be kicking themselves if they gave up 10+ picks in draft position just to (probably) get kicked out of the playoffs a week later.
Watching a team like the New York Jets or Pittsburgh Steelers walk away with an offensive tackle that the team desperately needs would hurt more than people realize, and it would hurt the Tennessee Titans beyond just this offseason.
Over the past few years, the Tennessee Titans had the recipe for a post-season run and I never would have advocated for fans to be rooting for a loss. This season is different because the team is broken in a way that doesn’t look salvageable for the playoffs and Mike Vrabel’s faith in Todd Downing hasn’t been shaken despite being on the precipice of the second-worst losing streak in Tennessee Titans history.
Public enemy numbers one and two for Tennessee Titans fans should be:
1. Whoever has been responsible for keeping this team healthy the last two seasons
If those people are gone either way, then the offseason will be a success regardless of where the Tennessee Titans pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
However, let me prove my point here and show any doubters the difference in picking in the 10-12 range compared to where the team was picking when Jon Robinson was the GM.
Re-writing history for the Tennessee Titans
Jon Robinson had a top-10 pick in his first two draft classes since the roster was terrible in 2015 and he leveraged the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft for a trade that included multiple All-Pros.
After that, the Titans were supposed to pick 25th, 19th, 29th, 22nd, and 26th.
This is who the Tennessee Titans picked with those selections and the potentially franchise-changing option that they could have added in the top 10.
Who they got in 2018: Rashaan Evans
Who they could have gotten in 2018: Tremaine Edmunds or Leighton Vander Esch
The Tennessee Titans actually jumped up from 25th to 22nd in the draft to take Evans, a player that Dean Pees believed in as the centerpiece of his defense (who has rejoined him in Atlanta and has 155 tackles, 6 TFLs, and 2 sacks).
Tremain Edmunds (16th) and Leighton Vander Esch (19th) were both drafted before Evans and both have turned into Pro Bowl linebackers that have stayed with their team past the first contract.
Who they got in 2019: Jeffery Simmons
Who they could have gotten in 2019: Hopefully Jeffery Simmons, but maybe Brian Burns
Jon Robinson was a good GM and sometimes he found ways to knock it out of the park despite a less-than-desirable draft pick. Simmons has been incredible, but considering that they signed Jadeveon Clowney after the 2019 season, Brian Burns could have been a candidate to pair with Harold Landry.
Who they got in 2020: Isaiah Wilson
Who they could have gotten in 2020: Tristan Wirfs
At this time the Tennessee Titans needed a right tackle to replace Jack Conklin and they were stuck with taking the best tackle left on the board at 29. This was a pick that no one really liked at the time but they understood considering what the Titans had and what they needed.
Imagine how different this team would have been over the last three years if they had an All-Pro right tackle instead of a revolving door at the position.
Who they got in 2021: Caleb Farley
Who they could have gotten in 2021: DeVonta Smith, Micah Parsons, or Rashawn Slater
This was a top-heavy draft class and the Tennessee Titans really didn’t have many options late in the first round. Caleb Farley was someone who had the tools to be a great cornerback, but the medicals were always the big question mark.
Unfortunately, the Titans bragged about how their medical staff was lucky enough to be one of the few teams that got to spend time with him in person at the 2021 NFL Combine. Stop me if you have heard this one before, but the medical staff proved to be completely inept when they signed off on Farley who has had multiple season-ending surgeries since being drafted.
With the 10th pick, the Titans could have opted to replace Corey Davis with DeVonta Smith, which would have been an incredible asset to have.
We know that the Titans wanted to add more speed at the linebacker position, so Micah Parsons would have been another easy candidate for the team’s top-10 pick.
Dillon Radunz was the Tennessee Titans’ best tackle not named Taylor Lewan over the past two seasons, but Mike Vrabel and Keith Carter have committed themselves to put him in the wrong position so they can start other “tackles” like Dennis Daley and David Quessenberry. It would have been harder (but not impossible given their track record) for them to bench Rashawn Slater for either of those players.
You can say what you want about Robinson’s drafts, but there is a huge difference in the talent pool teams have when they draft in the 20s instead of in the top 10. Sure, you can always find talent in the draft in every round, but look how easy it was to just plug in the best player at a position of need for the Titans when you look back.
Winning the division is great and winning a Super Bowl is the whole reason why teams play this game, but unless you believe this team is close to winning a title already, then you should be rooting for them to have their best chance at one of these Pro Bowl/All-Pro caliber players that just aren’t available for playoff teams.