The Tennessee Titans still possess the 11th overall pick in the NFL draft and fans are on the edge of their seat trying to predict what the team will do.
Will they trade up and take their quarterback of the future? Will they even need to trade up to take a quarterback?
Images of CJ Stroud, Anthony Richardson, and, yes, also Will Levis photoshopped in a Tennessee Titans uniform have been floating around the internet. Those options are sexy and fun scenarios to imagine. However, I expect the team to take a different direction.
First, quarterback is not the Tennessee Titans' biggest immediate need. The more pressing needs for the Titans are NFL-caliber offensive linemen and wide receivers.
No matter how you feel about Ryan Tannehill, no rational argument can be made that his play was more problematic than the offensive line or wide receivers. If the Tennessee Titans are really trying to "reload" and not "rebuild" like they have said all offseason, then that is how Mike Vrabel and Ran Carthon will be looking at it.
After last year, it is clear that an offensive is a unit that is only as strong as its weakest link and the same can be said for the wide receivers currently. These groups are such significant areas of need that I would not be surprised to see multiple picks used on either or even both.
Second, the likelihood that a quarterback will fall to them at 11 is less than what people believe it to be. Seven teams in the top 10 are just as or more quarterback-needy than the Titans. Any of those teams could theoretically be persuaded to take one of the top quarterbacks in the draft before Tennessee has a chance to make a decision.
You might be saying at this point, "Well, they could just trade up."
That brings me to my third reason. Based on how expensive it is to move up into the top-3 historically, the Tennessee Titans do not have the draft capital to trade up to the 3rd pick only by moving picks. Maybe they could make it work if the team wanted to trade a player to pick up draft capital like Kevin Byard, Derrick Henry, Kristian Fulton, etc. However, until they actually do that it is hard to imagine them moving up.
There are too many needs to fill in the draft to simply trade current and future picks and after the reception of my last article about the possibility of Kevin Byard being used to get the Titans to the 3rd pick, I know fans would have a hard time accepting a trade like that. (We can't have it both ways people!)
Therefore when the Tennessee Titans are on the clock, I think they will take Peter Skoronski the offensive tackle out of Northwestern.
Boom, there's my prediction. It's neither sexy nor all that much fun, which is exactly why the Titans will do it. It is the logical, safe, and correct decision. I think Paris Johnson will have already been taken, making Skoronski the Titans' man.
It is the pick that fills the most crucial and immediate need with the highest-end talent available at one of the toughest positions to fill outside of the draft. Talented receivers become available all the time during the season and it is much more likely for the Titans to find talent in the second and third rounds at that position than at tackle.
Even though Andre Dillard may start at LT given his NFL experience, Skoronski can start his NFL career by thriving at LG as rookie. If his arm length isn't an issue, then he will be competing for the LT job every season until he gets it. If it is an issue, then he could still be a 10-year starter.
With all this considered, Peter Skoronski is my pick for the Tennessee Titan's first pick in the 2023 NFL draft.