Anyone who tells you they know what they are getting out of a draft from new Tennessee Titans’ GM Ran Carthon is lying to you.
Carthon has never been the one calling the shots in the war room on draft day, and even if he had he has talked about the importance of getting players that are approved by the head coach instead of the players that he has graded the highest. His job during the draft process is going to be to work with Mike Vrabel to create a draft board that ranks how well players fit into the holes that Vrabel wants to fill on the roster.
Overall talent is obviously a factor, but the Tennessee Titans are not going to draft the “best player available” because that isn’t what Carthon or Vrabel wants. In fact, Carthon has given a quote about this exact thing when he said that they are trying to build a team and that they aren’t in the business of just collecting talent.
However, Carthon wasn’t brought in just to be a yes-man for Vrabel. He is in the building because he has learned how to fill needs during his time with the L.A. Rams and the San Francisco 49ers.
To that end, if the Tennessee Titans are trying to add a player at the skill position, there is an interesting trend that Carthon might have picked up from his time in L.A.
40-times might matter to the Tennessee Titans
According to KNBR in San Francisco, the 49ers’ starting skill position players all ran a 40-yard dash that was within .04 seconds of each other.
This is an interesting trend considering that those players play different positions and were drafted at different parts of the draft (two first-round picks, one was a second-round pick, and the other was a fifth-round pick).
So, how can we use this to look at draft prospects that the Tennessee Titans might like? Let’s narrow it down to the receivers and see if there is anything that stands out.
Obviously, no prospect is going to get knocked from running a 4.2, but it is interesting that Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel both run in the 4.48-4.5 range. Why would that range make sense for a receiver in San Francisco?
When you think about the role that receivers play in the Kyle Shanahan offense, it makes sense that neither ran in the 4.3s. In that offense, receivers are asked to block or at least to be able to make the defense believe that they might block, otherwise, it would take all of the potential out of the play-action game.
Instead of targeting some fast receivers and some blocking receivers that tip the play call, the 49ers wanted to find receivers that have the size to block (over 205 lb.) AND the speed to make plays in the open field.
If the Tennessee Titans want to get back to leaning on the play-action pass more, you could understand why these types of receivers could be appealing.
Using the filter of 205+ lb. receivers that ran faster than 4.52, here are the receivers from the NFL Combine that might be on the Tennessee Titans’ radar:
Bryce Ford-Wheaton, WVU: 221 lb., 4.38
Andre Iosivas, Princeton: 205 lb., 4.43
Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss: 220 lb., 4.46
Jalen Wayne, South Alabama: 210 lb., 4.51
For what it is worth, Rashee Rice was very close weighing in at 204 lb. and running a 4.51. Since he is a favorite for Tennessee Titans fans, keep an eye on him as well.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean that every other receiver is off of the Tennessee Titans draft board but considering that 49ers trend, fans might want to keep those numbers in mind. If there is a cluster of similarly-graded receivers on the board when the Tennessee Titans draft, then those numbers might be the tie-breaker.