The Tennessee Titans have been embroiled in trade rumors in the weeks leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft. Several reports have suggested at various times that the Titans would move up in the draft, to 3rd, or to 6th overall. However, with less than a week to go from draft day, there they sit at 11th. The same 11th overall they've held since losing in Jacksonville in Week 18.
Therefore, with no real indication the Titans are going to move from 11th overall, we have to assume they won't. With that being said, let's look at a few options while everyone else dreams of trading up for C.J. Stroud.
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3. Paris Johnson Jr., OT, Ohio State
Before the Titans were at the center of every trade rumor, Paris Johnson seemed like the favorite to be taken at 11th. Now he's almost a second option, though some regard him as the best tackle in the draft. It would give the Titans plenty of options on the offensive line, as they would have three players who could adequately start at tackle. You'd imagine Johnson would occupy one tackle spot, but it could make room for one of Andre Dillard and Nicholas Petit-Frere to move inside to guard.
Johnson could solve a long-term problem for the Titans in the same year they lose Taylor Lewan. Lewan locked down the left side for the Titans for the better part of a decade. Here's to hoping Johnson could repeat that act if selected at 11th overall.
2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State
Another Buckeye that could wind up in the Music City is receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. He missed almost the entire 2022 season after lighting the world on fire in 2020 and 2021, but he's lost exactly zero of his talent. He's an absolute nightmare with the ball in his hands. The Titans have had exactly four of those at receiver since the rebrand in 1999. Those are, of course, Derrick Mason, Drew Bennett, A.J. Brown, and, yes, for a couple of years Kenny Britt.
It's almost incredible how terrible the Titans have been at drafting receivers over the past two and a half decades. Of course, it was easy to mask that for most of that time considering the Titans' incredible record drafting and acquiring running backs. However, that time is not now. The Titans were completely inept passing the ball in 2022, due in large part to a lack of receiving talent. Smith-Njigba could provide the solution.
1. Insert Any QB Here
Look, the Titans are in a rebuild, and everyone knows it. Malik Willis is thought of as a whole lot worse now than he was a year ago when he was drafted. Ryan Tannehill is maybe the guy to bridge the gap. Sure, they need a ton of help at a ton of other positions on offense. Sure, they need players plural at all those positions. But what's the one position on the field that can mask all offensive issues like no other? Quarterback.
Be it Stroud, Young, Levis, Richardson, Hooker, any of them. There's buzz around the Titans taking a quarterback in the first round, be it at 11th or somewhere else. It's hard to ignore the reality that sooner or later it's a position that must be addressed for the long term. But is that year now? Who knows. Ran Carthon may find it more prudent to build the roster first and find the quarterback second, or he may not.
There were reports that Mike Vrabel held a private 1-on-1 meeting with C.J. Stroud at Ohio State's pro day, does that materialize into anything? Perhaps. This year more than just about any, it's clear that no one really knows anything about the draft except the general managers. Maybe that's for the best.