Early indicators point to the Tennessee Titans taking a receiver in the first round

Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans
Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

The 2024 NFL Draft is three months away, but fans have been discussing what the Tennessee Titans should do with their first-round pick for weeks now.

Between now and then, the Tennessee Titans still have to hire Brian Callahan's coaching staff, go to the NFL Combine, go through free agency, watch Pro Days, and schedule private visits. The team isn't locked into any decision right now, but when you have the 7th pick in the draft, there are only so many ways that can change.

Looking at the NFL landscape right now, it certainly seems like three quarterbacks will be drafted in the top six, with the Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders, New England Patriots, and New York Giants all considering their options.

If that happens, that means that the Titans are guaranteed to have one of their four best, non-QB prospects available.

Depending on who you ask, that means that two of these five players will be available:

-Marvin Harrison Jr.
-Joe Alt LT, Notre Dame
-Malik Nabers WR, LSU
-Rome Odunze WR, Washington
-Olu Fashanu LT, Penn State

They won't all have the same grade on the Tennessee Titans board, but there is a good chance that Alt and Nabers are going to be very close, and the trio below those two will be very competitive.

Reading the tea leaves, the consensus right now is that pass catchers are going to be drafted 4th, 5th, and 6th. If that is the case, then the Titans will just decide which tackle they like the best (Joe Alt) and run the card up to the commissioner.

However, when was the last time that exclusively quarterbacks and receivers made up the first six picks? Despite the NFL's evolution into a passing league, I don't think that has ever happened before. So, while this could be a historic draft in that regard, what if it doesn't happen?

What if the L.A. Chargers or New York Giants draft Joe Alt and move him from left tackle to right tackle? Then the Tennessee Titans are going to have a choice to make between the third receiver and the second offensive tackle, and if that means picking between Olu Fashanu and Rome Odunze, the Titans are going to have to make a tough choice.

However, there are some strong indications to suggest that the Tennessee Titans will lean toward the wide receiver in that situation.

Brian Callahan has a plan for the Tennessee Titans

If you listen to Brian Callahan's interview with Jared Stillman on 102.5, he made it clear that he is going to side with the wide receiver over the offensive lineman if the grades are equal. Here is his quote where he made it clear which position he prefers:

"I tend to lean to the position that can score touchdowns because if you play the quarterback position well and if you are playing it right, you can negate some of the issues you have in pass protection."

That might scare some Titans fans, but think about where Brian Callahan has been and which teams have had the most success. He references it in that interview, but with the Denver Broncos, he saw Peyton Manning's preference for having great receivers.

He started his time in Denver with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside with Wes Welker in the middle of the field. The next season, the Broncos added Emmanuel Sanders to replace Eric Decker.

When Callahan was hired to be the Cincinnati Bengals OC, they drafted Joe Burrow and spent the 33rd pick in that draft and the 5th pick in the next draft on Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase respectively. Tyler Boyd was already manning the slot, and that trio of receivers have helped the Bengals thrive on offense despite a lackluster offensive line.

What Callahan wants is great, but Ran Carthon just got a promotion and was given roster control. That means that Callahan's input is appreciated and valued, but when push comes to shove Carthon is going to be the one whose job is on the line based on this draft pick.

Luckily for Callahan, there is a real reason to believe that Carthon feels the same way when it comes to the value of receivers over offensive linemen.

There are rumors that Ran Carthon wanted to draft Zay Flowers with the 11th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but Mike Vrabel wanted to draft Peter Skoronski. Vrabel thought that offensive lines should be built from the inside out, and the rumors say that Carthon gave in to Vrabel in an effort to be collaborative.

Looking back on it and looking at how little difference it made to have Skoronski on an offensive line with Andre Dillard, Jaelyn Duncan, and Aaron Brewer, I would guess that Carthon wishes he could have a do-over to see what life would have been like with Will Levis, DeAndre Hopkins, Zay Flowers, Derrick Henry, Tyjae Spears, and Chig Okonkwo.

This is going to be an interesting offseason and this is a debate that will rage on until the pick is in, but right now fans should be embracing the idea of taking a wide receiver over an offensive lineman because it seems like a real possibility and Callahan has had a lot of success doing that in the past.