Tennessee Titans have potential dilemmas in 2023 NFL Draft

Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Columbus Dispatch)
Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Columbus Dispatch) /

The Tennessee Titans started the offseason with no bigger need than to fix their offensive line, and the 2023 NFL Draft could present the perfect opportunity to majorly address it.

Paris Johnson Jr. and Peter Skoronski are easily the top 2 tackles in the class, and one of them falling to the eleventh pick would be a dream.

The Tennessee Titans have made some decisions on the offensive line in free agency, most notably signing Andre Dillard to a three-year contract. But Johnson and Skoronski are such good players that if one of them fell into the team’s laps, they would have a hard time passing it up.

The question here is what happens if both of these guys are gone by the time the Tennessee Titans are on the clock? While one could realistically fall, there is a real chance that both players are drafted inside the top 10.

Of course, we cannot get too far here without mentioning the rumors of the Titans trading up to select a quarterback, but they are just what they are at this point, rumors. Until something like that happens you have to assume it won’t since it will change the entire way you have to view this draft class.

Let’s play it safe and assume that the Titans have to resort to plan B with the eleventh pick. It is full of several good scenarios, but none that jump out as great or perfect fits.

Tennessee Titans may have to settle with the 11th pick

Just because the Tennessee Titans may miss on Johnson and Skoronski does not mean that offensive line is off the board at pick 11, as Anton Harrison, Broderick Jones, and Darnell Wright are all potentially “first-round” talents. But all three of them have questions that make them iffy at that point in the draft.

Harrison is a really good run blocker and has great athleticism, but what raises concerns about his value that early in the draft is that he is not as good of a pass blocker right now. Jones has a lot of potential too, but he has some glaring issues when it comes to moving in the open field.

If the Tennessee Titans were selecting one of these three, it would probably be Wright since he has the best track record in terms of on-field success. His experience on both the right and left side also gives him that versatility that Ran Carthon has shown to value in the few moves he has made in free agency.

That being said, he was noticeably better on the right side than the left, and while the Tennessee Titans definitely need help on both, the left side is a bigger need.

Now, wide receiver is another position of top priority, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba has recently gotten a lot of buzz as the potential pick at that time. It is for good reason too, as JSN is one of the best route runners in this draft class. Not only that, but he managed to post a decent 40-yard dash time which was one of his big concerns heading into the pre-draft process.

You also cannot discount the fact that Mike Vrabel has major connections with Ohio State, which could play a huge role in the decision to draft JSN or not. That being said, probably the biggest concern with him is that he was out for basically all of 2022 with a hamstring injury, and the Tennessee Titans certainly do not need any more of those if they can avoid them.

Regardless of how much the Tennessee Titans might need a wide receiver, it is a hard position to get behind drafting eleventh overall in this draft class. Countless wideouts drafted on Day 2 have panned out so well, and each one of the receivers in this class has a concern (or a few) that make them much more desirable commodities later in the draft.

One of the only ones who might have been reasonably worth it at pick eleven was Jordan Addison, but his underwhelming combine performance put a damper on his value. And aside from JSN’s injury, he has only played in the slot throughout his time in college, which is not the end of the world since he could probably still play as a Z receiver in the NFL, but it is just another thing that makes his projection a little bit more difficult.

The Titans could use some help at EDGE, and there are some guys such as Nolan Smith and Myles Murphy who could be nice additions but are not convincingly worth that high of a pick. A good cornerback is very likely to be available at that time, but the Titans certainly do not need to spend another high draft pick on one again.

Right now it seems like the 11th pick is a little bit of a “no man’s land” but it is hard to see a great alternative to staying there.

Trading up to select a quarterback might be what a lot of people want to see, but the reality is it is not that simple. While that could be the one move that puts this franchise over the top, it is much more likely to ruin them for several years, and it would be hard for Ran Carthon to make it happen unless the perfect plan fell into place.

Sticking and picking is obviously the scenario with the least variables, and it is not at all like the Titans would get a bad player by doing so. They just better be sure that there will be someone who they really like at that point because most of the likely available guys are those who you would be happier taking five or six picks later.

Now if done well, trading back could be the scenario that really benefits the Titans. This year’s first-round pick might not be so flashy if that is what happens, but this team is one that needs as much talent as possible, and adding additional draft capital can only help in that regard.

It is not that doing so does not carry a risk, as the player talent level obviously drops off the farther you go into the draft. But in this situation, some of the same players they would have to consider at the eleventh pick would last longer than that, so trading back while keeping a pick in the top 20 would probably turn out just fine.

But like trading up, trading down depends on not only getting the right package but there being teams interested in trading up to begin with. Teams do not normally make those decisions until they see a player of their liking fall to an optimal spot, so the Titans cannot just count on that.

It is exciting that the team has the highest first-round pick that they have had since 2017, but it does not come without several question marks. One thing is for certain though, and Carthon has stated it himself — the Tennessee Titans are open for business.