The NFL Draft starts tomorrow. Each team has done most, if not all, of their research on their desired prospects. The combine and private pro days are all done, and all the players can do is wait to hear their names called. Each NFL analyst has put out their mock drafts, but nobody knows what chaos will occur on day one. Being a loyal Tennessee Titans fan, it hurts knowing how chaotic the first round can be *cough cough, AJ Brown*. But with new GM Ran Carthon, I will endorse any move he makes. With that said, here are the 3 scenarios I see the Titans in on day one, and which player that I believe should be picked.
Florida QB Anthony Richardson (Photo: Doug Engle / USA TODAY NETWORK)
Situation 1: Trade Up Into the Top-5, Pick QB.
When a new GM comes into a team and starts a regime, they usually try to grab a QB for themselves, either via trade, or the draft. Here Ran gets his guy. Tennessee trades multiple firsts, a second, a third, and a swap of late-round picks, somewhere into the top 5, with 3rd overall being the rumored spot. The pick is Ohio State’s CJ Stroud. What sets Stroud out from the rest of the QB’s in his class is his on-field traits. He arguably has the highest floor, as well as the highest ceiling. He is proven to show up in big games, like the way he tore apart the Georiga Bulldog defense in the semifinal. The reason why I like him over Anthony Richardson is the fact that he is a proven passer. Richardson is a freak athlete. No other QB in the league can do things that he does. But as a passer? Stroud is better. Pairing up CJ with Treylon Burks and Chig Oknonkwo is a lethal core to build around.
Ohio State LT Paris Johnson Jr (Photo: Adam Cairns / Columbus Dispatch)
Situation 2: Stay at 11, Pick OT.
The offensive line was the worst part of the team last year, and while they have improved the unit this offseason, injecting young blood into a group that is largely on short contracts is a must. Ohio State’s monster Paris Johnson Jr is a perfect pick in this situation. Andre Dillard is unproven, and while he could turn out to be a great signing for Tennessee, he could also be a huge bust. Drafting Johnson, and having him sit a year would be beneficial for the team a couple of years from now. Standing at 6’6” 311lbs Johnson is the perfect blindside protector for whoever the QB is 2024-on.
Ohio State WR Jaxson Smith-Njigba (Photo: John McCoy / AP)
Situation 3: Trade Back to Around 18-20, Get Picks, Pick WR.
If Tennessee decides to not give up multiple firsts to trade up, and doesn’t like the value at 11, a trade back into the late teens or early twenties seems like their best bet. This is where it gets really interesting. There isn’t a Ja’marr Chase in this class, but there are definitely some Justin Jefferson-type late first-round steals. While TCU’s Quentin Johnston and USC’s Jordan Addison are definitely good prospects, I’m torn between two guys in the 18-21 pick range. Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Boston College’s Jay Flowers. I love JSN and what he brings to the table, especially in-terms of production. Last year, with two first-round receivers in Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave on the team, Smith-Njigba still put up 1,606 yards and 9 TD’s. That's 600+ more than Olave and Wilson. The guy can flat-out play and is dominant out of the slot. Mike Vrabel-type guy without a doubt. But man, I want Zay Flowers so badly. Viewed as a second-round prospect before the combine, Flowers shot his draft stock up dramatically with a huge combine and pro-day. He has 4.4 speed, with unrivaled explosiveness and change of direction. His routes are crisp and he is a legit home run threat every play. If the Titans trade back, I want to see a Burks-Flowers-Chig trio (sorry Jaxon).
I want to trade up for Stroud or Bryce Young but the most logical scenario here is to trade back. Getting a WR2 along with some extra draft capital is a great way to start an already promising Ran Carthon-era. Thankfully, Ran said that Tennessee is not fielding trades for King Henry so my heart doesn’t have to be broken for a second year in a row, but there are rumors that Ryan Tannehill may get shopped, and even a slight possibility that a Malik Willis-Trey Lance deal may (definitely won’t) happen. If Tanney is traded I can see a third-rounder or maybe even some idiot giving us a second, but either way, the only way that happens is if Lamar Jackson is a Tennessee Titan or if we trade up. Malik Willis is not a starting-caliber player. With all of that being said, I am excited about the draft and all the chaos that will come along with it tomorrow night. #TitanUp