Division rivals could heavily influence Tennessee Titans' draft decisions

Ryan Tannehill (17) Tennessee Titans
Ryan Tannehill (17) Tennessee Titans / Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean-USA TODAY

Everyone knows at this point that the Tennessee Titans are interested in trading up for a quarterback in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. There are only hours left to speculate, and we will find out just how serious the Titans were with their interest soon.

Whether or not people think that Ran Carthon and the Titans would be jumping the gun by doing that, you could hardly blame them if they did. With a new GM and a team that is currently stuck in the middle, it would make sense if they wanted to jumpstart a new era with the guy they can legitimately plan for as the quarterback of the future.

Everyone has an opinion of what the Tennessee Titans should do in the first round, but since they are sitting at 11, the Titans don't control their own fate. Right now they are at the mercy of the ten teams drafting before them, and they are either going to have to wait patiently or try to outbid one of those teams if they are going to get their quarterback of the future.

This draft didn't need more layers of intrigue, but just in case this draft didn't seem crucial yet, two of the teams that could also be looking at quarterbacks in the top-five are also in the AFC South.

Tennessee Titans have to keep pace with division rivals

The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts own the second and fourth picks in the draft respectively, and both of them desperately need quarterbacks. The Titans will not be able to jump the Texans in the draft, but they will be able to jump the Colts if they so wish.

And that alone might be enough of a reason for the Titans to want to move up in the draft. It is pretty much known at this point that the Colts are going to take one of the top four quarterbacks, and the fewer options they have to choose from, the more it benefits the Titans.

But where things really get interesting is with the Texans. Rumor has had it that they are likely to pass on a quarterback at the second overall pick, and as improbable as that sounded a week ago, it is appearing more and more that it could legitimately happen.

Now, if they do take a quarterback, Will Levis seems to be the guy they would be after. And if the Texans do either of those things, the Titans might see a golden opportunity.

The Texans will have missed out on all of the consensus top three quarterbacks in the draft, and knowing that trading up to the third overall pick would hurt the Colts, the Titans may have a hard time turning that down. Not to mention that -- at least in theory -- trading up to that spot would be feasible for the Titans.

They are in no way rivals with the Arizona Cardinals, who currently hold the pick, so neither team would have a problem doing business. More importantly, Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort used to work for the Tennessee Titans until this year, so they could choose to leverage that connection in order to get their franchise quarterback.

You have to also consider that the Titans have not had this high a pick in a while and under Mike Vrabel, they cannot rely on that for a while. Knowing that they are in a spot to reasonably be able to trade up to the top of the draft, they might just take that opportunity while they have it.

Let's also not forget that the Jacksonville Jaguars, their other division rivals, already have their franchise quarterback, and if the Texans and Colts take a signal caller this year, the Tennessee Titans will be the only team in the AFC South left without a starting quarterback on a rookie contract.

While they do not want to make a panic move, they do not want to be too far behind the eight ball in that regard, which would be yet another logical reason to pull the trigger if someone they like is available at the third pick.

The draft is by no means a failure for the Titans if they are left without a top quarterback, and the Texans and Colts each select one. But the combination of circumstances might just work out in the Titans' favor, and once again, it is not like these chances come around very often at all.

If nothing else, be prepared for Ran Carthon to make a move, and if you think anyone knows what is coming next, don't be surprised if you are wrong. The Tennessee Titans just might be the most unpredictable team in the most unpredictable draft of the last decade.