Live 2024 NFL Draft grade: Tennessee Titans draft UNC LB Cedric Gray

North Carolina v Clemson
North Carolina v Clemson / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages

Instead of trading down and adding more picks on Day 2, the Tennessee Titans decided to pick T'Vondre Sweat and wait for nearly 70 picks until their next selection.

After heavily leaning on size (no pun intended) as the determining factor with their first two selections, there weren't that many prospects who stood out physically in the fourth round.

Leading up to the pick, the few standouts in that category were guys like T.J. Tampa the cornerback from Iowa State, Johnny Wilson the 6'7 wide receiver from Florida State, and Cam Hart another cornerback from Notre Dame.

The question was whether the Titans might continue to reach for guys like that, or if there would be a shift in strategy on Day 3. Remember, Ran Carthon has said that Day 3 is the time when the veteran scouts and position coaches have a much bigger say in the draft selection. I won't say that Ran Carthon just sits back and lets them pick, but it is probably fair to say that he speculates a lot more on Day 3 and is just there to veto any decisions he strongly disagrees with.

Those scouts and coaches battled it out and Frank Bush won the argument, so the Titans selected North Carolina linebacker Cedric Gray.

What does this mean for the Tennessee Titans

Once again the Titans went with need over best available, but this one makes much more sense and it is much better value than the other two selections.

Gray was always a late Day 2/early Day 3 guy who is just a solid linebacker. As a player he does everything well, but like most linebackers he does his best work when he is kept clean and he is allowed to shoot gaps.

You can see that on tape and you can see it on paper, he has been a starter for the last three seasons, and that has led to three-straight years with 100+ tackles where he averaged 10 TFLs per season.

Dane Brugler projects him as an immediate special teams starter and a guy who can compete for a starting linebacker spot right away. Considering that his competition is going to be Jack Gibbens and Otis Reese, it is easy to see how he could come in and quickly put himself in the front of it line.

This wasn't a flashy pick like a wide receiver or an EDGE, but it is a high-floor pick that fills an obvious need with a cheap starter who can also contribute on special teams. That is what Day 3 picks are for.

Grade: B+