Tennessee Titans get good draft grades for a bad draft class

2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3
2023 NFL Draft - Rounds 2-3 / David Eulitt/GettyImages

There is a disconnect between the draft grades that the Tennessee Titans are getting and the feeling in the fan base.

Most of the draft outlets have the Tennessee Titans getting a middling grade, but some have them rated inside the top-10 draft classes and there are some people that think that means that fans are overreacting to the perceived negatives about this class.

What this all boils down to is that the majority of draft grades look at the player that is drafted, and which pick the team used to draft that player. If they have the player ranked higher than where he was drafted, that means that the team got good value with their pick which means they get a better grade.

That means that it is the perfect time to talk about the fallacy of the best player available strategy.

The Tennessee Titans have said that every player they drafted stood out on their board as a good value and any other pick would have meant that they take a step down in the caliber of player that they were bringing in.

On paper that sounds smart, I mean why wouldn't you want to get the most talented players on your roster? Let's think about it a different way.

Forgive the extended metaphor here, but imagine that you are repairing a car. Right now you have a car that you could drive, but it is pretty beat up. In fact, both of the back tires are flat which is a real problem and the windshield has a big crack in it.

So, you send your friend to AutoZone with your car and some money. Three hours later he comes back with a pristine windshield that looks really nice. However, you look and the back tires are still flat, so you ask him what he did with the rest of the money that you gave him.

Your friend tells you that he thought about getting new tires, but they had a great discount on steering wheels and brake pads. He says that even though you don't need a new steering wheel right now and that your brake pads are fine for another year, he was trying to maximize the money you gave him.

It is great that your windshield is fixed, but it isn't going to be any easier to drive that car. Now, instead of having a car that is closer to getting you where you want to go, you have a garage full of discounted parts that may or may not help you later because the tires were overpriced.

What makes it worse, your friend thinks he did a good job and he is going to do it all over again the next time you send him out to get parts. Maybe next time they will have tires, but he could also come back with a box full of air fresheners and a new tail light if he feels like that is a better value.

Enough car talk, what about the Tennessee Titans draft

That is the problem with this draft class for the Tennessee Titans. Peter Skoronski is a blue-chip talent in a position where the team needed help, and that is great news. I am optimistic about the offensive line and if they start Corey Levin instead of Aaron Brewer at center, this could be the best offensive line that the Titans have had in years.

Even if you hate Will Levis as a prospect, the consensus on him is that he was the fourth-best quarterback in this draft class but he was still a quarterback that would traditionally get drafted in the first round in other classes.

The reason why the Levis pick is so bad really starts with the position he plays and what that means for the Tennessee Titans over the next two years.

No matter what happens, the future of Mike Vrabel and Ran Carthon with the Tennessee Titans now rides on Will Levis. A big reason for that is that by trading up to get Will Levis, they have basically taken themselves out of the race for a top quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft class.

This isn't like drafting Malik Willis in the third round last year when he fell in their lap. Trading up and giving up the equivalent of a 1st round draft pick to get him after drafting a guard in the first round means that you need to be confident that Skoronski was worth drafting that highly AND that Will Levis will work out.

If you gave up so much draft capital for Levis and told your owner that he was worth a first-round pick, you can't just cut bait with him after one season. If you do, then why would Amy Adams Strunk believe that you had any idea what you were looking for? That means that Mike Vrabel and Ran Carthon didn't just choose Will Levis over Hendon Hooker, they chose Levis over Hooker, Caleb Williams, and Drake Maye.

If Will Levis works out, it would be huge for the Tennessee Titans to have four years of a quarterback on a rookie contract. They could focus on building around him through free agency which is important considering that they only have three picks in the top-150ish picks next year after trading their third-round pick to get Levis.

Regardless of whether or not the Levis pick works out, the fact remains that this draft was a failure in terms of process. Putting a premium on a guard (even one as good as Skoronski) will almost certainly be a mistake when you look back and see the dozen or more interior offensive linemen that were drafted outside of the first round that had successful NFL careers.

Moving up to draft Levis when they didn't think highly enough of him to draft him with the 11th pick is a mistake considering the glaring need at wide receiver and tight end. It is an even bigger failure to draft a running back instead of addressing either position with their third-round pick (even if I like Tyjae Spears as a player).

The Tennessee Titans' only plan for this draft was to draft the highest-graded player on their board, and they didn't think about what the team would look like after that. You can sense this because, in the past 48 hours, they have said several times that they will still have a chance to find more players before the season starts either through the waiver wire or a trade.

They continue to push the bill further and further down the line, but with the draft and the bulk of free agency gone, their chance to do anything meaningful is almost certainly gone. Unless they can figure out a way to get teams interested in a trade for Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill, this is going to be a case of the Tennessee Titans rolling the dice and crapping out.