Tennessee Titans connections may be crucial for a draft day trade

Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Tennessean)
Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Tennessean) /

Between Mike Vrabel and Ran Carthon, the Tennessee Titans are connected to a lot of decision-makers around the NFL.

Before the Tennessee Titans hired Ran Carthon he spent time working with four current John Lynch (Denver Broncos), Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (Minnesota Vikings), Brad Holmes (Detroit Lions), and Martin Mayhew (Washington Commanders).

That doesn’t mention the connections he has to head coaches around the league like Robert Saleh, Mike McDaniels, Kyle Shanahan, and DeMeco Ryans.

However, the connections I want to talk about today are ones that Mike Vrabel has made. Specifically, the relationship between him and new Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort and Atlanta Falcons HC Arthur Smith.

While the Tennessee Titans aren’t a player away from a championship, this is going to be a very important draft for Vrabel and Carthon. Don’t forget, the Tennessee Titans finished the season with a 7-game losing streak and that is something that Amy Adams Strunk is going to have to sit with for another five months until football starts back up.

I’m not saying he is on the hot seat, but right now it is hard to see the Tennessee Titans being very good in 2023. It looks much more like they are gearing up to make a run in 2024, which Mike Vrabel should be fine with as long as he can show some improvement and show that he has a plan.

Every NFL team should attempt to leave the draft with a class that yields 3 starters that hopefully includes one Pro Bowl player. In a class that lacks a little bit at the top, the Tennessee Titans might want to consider moving up and that is where the connections to the Cardinals and Falcons come in handy.

Why should the Tennessee Titans trade up in the 2023 NFL Draft?

It is hard to imagine a world where the Arizona Cardinals keep the third overall pick in the draft. Sure, they could stick and make sure they came away with Will Anderson, but trading down and landing one of the top corners or Jalen Carter is a great plan too.

Something to remember, it was just two years ago when a San Francisco 49ers front office that included Ran Carthon, traded up from 12 to 3 to draft a developmental quarterback in Trey Lance.

Is it that much different to imagine the Tennessee Titans trading up from 11 to 3 to draft C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, or Anthony Richardson?  According to Daniel Jeremiah, the Titans are actually one of the teams that are exploring a trade up to three.

In a perfect world, C.J. Stroud is there for them because the Houston Texans love Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers are enamored with the Cam Newton-like potential of Anthony Richardson. However, you could make an argument that Ryan Tannehill’s stability as the starter would give them a year to develop any of those three into a starting quarterback by 2024.

That is IF (and it is a massive if) Mike Vrabel is willing to let go of the reins and let Tim Kelly create an offense around what the rookie quarterback does well.

However, if the Titans only think there are two franchise quarterbacks in this draft and they aren’t interested in making a move that would probably cost a first-round pick in 2024 and 2025, that doesn’t mean they are locked into 11.

The Atlanta Falcons are sitting at 8 overall, and they are in front of the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles. Neither of those teams is a lock to draft an offensive lineman, but they do have some holes at the position and guys like Paris Johnson and Peter Skoronski would probably be some of the best players on the board.

Since the Falcons are set at tackle for the next few years with Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary, they would be a prime target for a trade-up.

The closest trade I can find to this in recent history was in 2021 when the Philadelphia Eagles moved up two spots from 12 to 10, and it only cost the Eagles a third-round pick. If that is the difference between the Titans getting their top offensive lineman or their third-highest-rated lineman, it is worth considering.

This will be Ran Carthon’s first draft class and it will follow him for the rest of his career. His goal should be to identify a player who checks every box for him and who fits the vision that he and Mike Vrabel have for the Tennessee Titans going forward. If you can find that by trading down or sticking and picking with the 11th pick, great, but if you can’t then you can’t afford to settle.