Tennesseee Titans fans, the offseason has come a bit earlier than normal hasn’t it? For the first time since 2018, the Titans failed to reach the playoffs, and failed to win the AFC South for the first time since 2019. Not only that, but the Titans seem to be at a crossroads.

General Manager Jon Robinson and offensive coordinator Todd Downing have been let go. A new General Manager, Ran Carthon, has been brought in, and offensive coordinator candidates are being evaluated. It really seems like the Titans are ready to move in a different direction than they have in the past few years.

However, the holes the Titans have to fill don’t exist purely inside the front office. The roster needs some work as well. That’s where free agency and the draft come in.

The Titans hold the 11th pick of 31 first round selections, with the Miami Dolphins losing their first round pick due to tampering violations. With the draft, comes months of speculation and mock drafts. One of the longest serving and most respected draft analysts is ESPN’s Mel Kiper, who released his most recent mock draft earlier this week. With 27 of 31 picks set, the Titans are covered in his mock. Let’s take a look at who Kiper has the Titans selecting.

11th overall: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State

Boy, does a left tackle fill a position of need for the Titans. Long-serving stalwart Taylor Lewan looks a very likely player to be cut this offseason, so the Titans desperately need a left tackle, especially considering backup Dennis Daley had one of the worst pass blocking seasons any offensive lineman has ever had, so he’s clearly not your long term answer.

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Kiper has the Titans taking Paris Johnson out of Ohio State. Johnson actually has familiarity with at least one member of the Titans offensive line, as he played alongside right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere in college. Johnson actually spent Petit-Frere’s final season in Columbus at right guard, but was moved to left tackle in 2022, and he really showed out, looking like an easy lock for a first round selection in the process.

Across 757 snaps, Johnson allowed only nine hurries, two sacks and no quarterback hits, which is supremely impressive for someone playing in a different position on the line. He’s got some work to do to be a polished run blocker, but if there’s one kind of lineman the Titans do not lack it’s polished run blockers.

The Titans desperately need pass protection, regardless of who’s under center, be it Ryan Tannehill, Josh Dobbs, Malik Willis or someone else. It doesn’t matter who’s your quarterback if they have no time to read the defense and throw the ball. Johnson should be able to start from day one in the NFL, and that’s the profile of player the Titans need.

If the Titans value a reload over a full rebuild, as seems to be the strategy of new general manager Ran Carthon, they need players they can plug directly into the roster to contribute from the get-go. Johnson also started his final 21 consecutive games for the Buckeyes, showing a durability the Titans are sorely lacking.

Essentially, Paris Johnson at number 11 overall boils down to a very simple calculus of him being the best player likely to be available at a premium position, and one that’s a position of desperate need for the Titans. It’s as simple as that.