Calvin Ridley signing should give Tennessee Titans conviction around draft strategy

Calvin Ridley #0 Tennessee Titans
Calvin Ridley #0 Tennessee Titans / Justin Ford/GettyImages

The Tennessee Titans signed Calvin Ridley to a multi-year contract last week, and it shakes things up in many different ways.

First of all, it gives the team another bonafide starter whose abilities perfectly complement DeAndre Hopkins, which in itself will be a huge help for Will Levis and the rest of the offense.

While Ridley was slightly underwhelming in his 2023 campaign in Jacksonville, coming back after two years off football and doing what he did was objectively impressive. Besides that, he did what he did despite not being put in the best position to succeed, so there is untapped potential for Ridley in the Titans offense, even if he is 29 years old.

His addition is an obvious upgrade to the Titans and takes the pressure off of many players, especially those who are young and still developing. But the ripple effect of the Ridley acquisition extends to the entire offseason approach, particularly at the NFL Draft five weeks from now.

Tennessee Titans should be certain before trading down in the draft

Adding Ridley to the Titans gives them ammo to trade down in the 2024 NFL Draft, but their intention should not be to trade down in the first round. This process is going to be about balancing quality and quantitiy.

On one hand, the Tennessee Titans do need to pay attention to "quantity" in this draft because they lack a 3rd round pick this year. However, the quality of the talent is extremely important as well, and a top-ten pick allows you to find true blue-chip talent more than anywhere else in the draft.

Not only that, but from what the Titans have done so far, it looks like Joe Alt would be the best fit for them in the 1st round, and he is very likely to be there. More and more, it looks like four quarterbacks will be selected before the Titans pick 7th overall, and that wide receiver is a big need for the other teams who are not going with a quarterback.

If Alt is gone before the Titans pick, then there is a potentially different discussion to be had, but it looks unlikely, and it certainly seems like Ran Carthon is planning for him to be their pick at 7th overall.

It is logical to assume that the team will get out of the first round with left tackle addressed, so we should turn our attention to the 2nd round. And that is where they should look to trade back, and also where Ridley erases that final bit of doubt that doing so is the right move.

Even in a draft that is loaded with wide receiver talent, before the Ridley signing, the Titans were going to have wanted to be sure that they came out of the first two rounds with a receiver who has immediate starting potential. Before the Ridley signing, they were probably wary of trading down in the second round and missing one of the talented receivers that had fallen through the cracks.

Now with Ridley in the fold, the Titans can afford for that to happen. He and Hopkins are two proven starters in the NFL, so now the offense can afford to have a more developmental receiver in the mix, and allow whoever they pick to have a lesser role his first year and focus on improving his weaknesses.

With the Tennessee Titans missing their third-round pick in this draft, there was almost no wiggle room with what they could do in the first two rounds. Now with Ridley, they can focus on trading back to trying and acquire an additional top-100 pick. Heck, with how deep this receiver class is and with the experience they currently have at the position, they could even wait until the third round or later to take one if they see guys they like beforehand.

Even in a 2024 season where the Titans still will not have all of their holes filled, they want to do everything possible to round out the offense and give Levis all he can have to succeed. Signing Ridley helps them think creatively about how to do that because it checks off one major need and allows them to open their minds to different options after the first round.