When Ran Carthon was hired as the new Tennessee Titans GM, there were two things that he made clear.
First, his relationship with Mike Vrabel was paramount and he was going to get Vrabel’s stamp of approval before making any move. Second, when it came down to roster design, his belief was that the GM’s job was to build a team not just collect talent.
If this rumor from ESPN about the Tennessee Titans draft plan is true, the only way it makes sense is if the first thing is trumping the second thing. According to Matt Miller, the Tennessee Titans aren’t locked into drafting a quarterback or an offensive lineman. In fact, they aren’t even committed to drafting an offensive player at all.
"“Tennessee is considering several positions in Round 1, and the most common scenario shared among NFL sources is Tennessee staying at No. 11 and aiming for a pass-rusher. “"
There are worse moves that the Tennessee Titans could make, but not many. Drafting an EDGE at 11 is the epitome of collecting talent instead of roster building, and it would only dig the Tennessee Titans into a deeper hole going forward.
Surely the Tennessee Titans are smarter than this, right?
I have already written before that EDGE is an overblown “need” for the Tennessee Titans. The team is getting Pro Bowl EDGE Harold Landry back this season, which will be a massive addition.
Remember, he is coming back from his injury after 12 months of healing and rehab, meaning that he should be able to work out and do things with the team in training camp and OTAs.
On the other side, the Titans just gave Arden Key a 3-year, $21 million deal to be the starter. Key was someone Carthon personally signed off on as a free agent signing back in his San Francisco 49ers days, and Vrabel and Carthon obviously agreed to bring him to Tennessee despite being strapped for cap space in 2023, so they must like him.
Sure, Denico Autry is getting older, but he also has had 8+ sacks in back-to-back seasons and the Tennessee Titans haven’t cut him to clear cap space, so it seems like they aren’t ready to move on from him yet either.
Finally, when you look at the last two draft classes, you could argue that Rashad Weaver is one of the better young EDGEs to come out considering that he has only been able to play for one season.
The argument for drafting an EDGE is the same argument for every position which is, “Well, what if he is a great player?” but when you are drafting 11th, you aren’t getting no-brainer EDGE prospects like Myles Garrett.
Based on what this coaching staff has done in past years with veterans and rookies, a first-round EDGE is more likely to get buried on the depth chart and healthy scratched* than they are to play heavily for the first half of the 2023 season. (*Unless the team is historically injured again and they are forced to play rookies)
This is a situation that would almost certainly guarantee that Nick Westbrook-Ikhine was heavily featured in the Tennessee Titans passing game and that the offensive line would remain paper thin and average at the top.
None of that is ideal when you know that a young quarterback has to be on the way either this season or next season.
The only saving grace for the Titans in this scenario is that they wouldn’t be giving up future picks in this scenario, because with one of the worst offenses in the NFL, they are going to need the top-5 pick that they would earn after that decision.