Ran Carthon is telling Tennessee Titans fans who he is as a GM

NFL Combine
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Last year the Tennessee Titans draft plan was muddled because Ran Carthon and Mike Vrabel had different ideas on where the team was going. This year is different.

Ran Carthon is in the driver's seat this year and even though he is listening to the coaches about what they want, owner Amy Adams Strunk made it very clear that the buck stops with him.

That has led to some interesting draft decisions.

Let's talk about J.C. Latham. When you are talking about tackles in this class, most draft analysts would have said that Joe Alt and Olu Fashanu were the top left tackles available and that the best right tackle prospect was Latham.

Instead, the Titans drafted Latham at 7 to play left tackle.

Despite passing up on the value of a trade down or staying there and taking one of the no-brainer prospects like Rome Odunze, this pick still has a real chance to be a good one for one reason. Instead of some jabroni like Keith Carter or Jason Houtailing in charge of his development, he was hand-picked by Bill Callahan.

Alright. I am not sold that he will be a Pro-Bowler and it certainly wasn't great value, but just the fact that Bill Callahan is invested in him and believes in him is enough to make me think that this move can work and that it could turn out better than I originally thought.

However, on Day 2 the Titans drafted T'Vondre Sweat NT, Texas. That one was not endorsed by an elite position coach, and it was a massive reach in terms of value.

What makes it worse is that the next three picks after that were all traded and the teams that traded down all either received multiple top-100 picks or a top-100 pick and a future 2nd-round pick.

There is no question that Sweat has talent and tools, but there are a few big problems. The biggest problem and the one that isn't debatable is, the Titans want him to play in the 340-345 range, and that would be reasonable except that he played at nearly 400 lb. last season (in the 380s). That is a massive difference and guys who are that big rarely keep their weight under control in the NFL.

Right now no one knows whether these players are going to be worth where they were selected or not. All anyone can do is project what these guys will be and hope for the best, and draft grades are just there to show you what that pick looks like on paper compared to the other options that a team had based on the wide range of opinions on these prospects.

instead of just talking about the result, I want to talk about the process and what that tells us about Ran Carthon as a GM with real power this year. This is obviously a very small sample size, but these are things that these picks have in common and they are things that were emphasized as being important parts of the draft evaluation in the press conferences following the picks.

First, both draft picks were players that the Titans hosted for top-30 visits which is very interesting.

Another thing is that Ran Carthon continues to be completely uninterested in trading down. Carthon said they had 7 or 8 teams calling up to trade with them in the second round, and we know they were good offers because of what the teams picked after the Titans received. Instead, they stayed at 38 and the rest is history.

There is also a trend of guys who can play immediately, but that should be the goal for top-100 picks so I am not going to weigh that too heavily right now.

Finally, despite all of the talk about using more analytics, this is a draft where the most important factors have been big guys who played on teams that won games. Repeatedly, Carthon and Callahan talked about how they were making an effort for this roster to get bigger. Not faster or more athletic, just bigger.

I am going to assume that the Titans aren't making their selection purely based on height and weight. A nicer way to say it is guys with elite physical tools. Here is where they stood out on Mockdraftable.com.

JC Latham: 95th percentile hand size, 95th percentile weight, 82nd percentile arm length, 82nd percentile wing span.

T'Vondre Sweat: 99th percentile weight, 97th percentile hand size, 77th percentile wing span, 52nd percentile arm length.

So the question right now is who is next?

After Day 2, the only players that visited the Titans that are still available are:

1. Kris Abrams-Draine CB, Missouri
2. Jarvis Brownlee CB, Louisville
3. Caelen Carson CB, Wake Forest
4. Rasheed Ali RB, Marshall

The problem is, none of those players are physically imposing like Latham and Sweat. If one of those players are prioritized tomorrow, then we know that visits might really be a big part of the evaluation.

On the other hand, if physical tools are the most important thing for Carthon in this class, then of the guys whose tools jump off the page are:

1. T.J. Tampa CB, Iowa State
2. Johnny Wilson WR, FSU
3. Cam Hart CB, Notre Dame

So we will see how the draft goes from here, and it is worth noting that Ran Carthon has said that Day 3 is where the franchise gives area scouts and position coaches much more freedom in standing on the table for guys that they love.