Tennessee runs into the 2023 NFL Draft looking for help at every offensive position other than running back.
New general manager Ran Carthon’s challenge: filling the Titans’ numerous needs without a full deck of draft picks.
The Titans encountered too many misses in the draft to maintain an incredible run of consistency in the AFC South. They missed out on the playoffs last season — albeit by one game — despite turning the offense over to quarterback Joshua Dobbs. No knock on Dobbs, but playoff teams don’t find starting quarterbacks for January postseason games by signing them off other rosters in December.
A run of first-round duds spun the Titans into a thin team lacking the depth to withstand the type of injury wave that hit them last season.
Moving back from No. 11 and accumulating draft picks would be defensible, but pre-draft buzz has focused on Carthon pushing to make a major jump up the draft board to find his quarterback of the future.
1. OLB: Tennessee is overdue for a pass rusher capable of changing the game. Harold Landry had 12 sacks in 2021 and rates as a solid starter, not a player opposing offenses game plan to stop.
2. WR: A top-flight tight end could also be on the list, but outside receivers to stretch the field and move safeties off the line of scrimmage — away from Derrick Henry — are a bigger need.
3. OL: Signing Andre Dillard to man the left tackle spot isn’t a home run, but he’s a necessary insurance policy. Taylor Lewan was the rare homegrown player to be drafted in the first round (11th, 2014) and sign a second contract with the Titans. If the Titans find their top-rated blocker on the board at No. 11, Carthon won’t hesitate.
2023 Draft Picks
Round Pick (Overall Pick)
1. 11 (11)
2. 10 (41)
3. 9 (72)
5. 12 (147)
6. 9 (186)
7. 11 (228)
1. OLB Nolan Smith, Georgia: Not as heavy or physical as coach Mike Vrabel typically wants, selecting Smith would mark a shift in approach led by Carthon. Speed on speed, Smith’s pass-rush win rate could be off the charts when paired with inside terror Jeffery Simmons. Smith ran a 4.38 40-yard dash in February.
2. OT Broderick Jones, Georgia: Multiple face-to-face meetings with Carthon tipped the Titans’ hand. Jones has the NFL body (6-feet-6, 345) and athleticism to play right tackle tomorrow. There are multiple teams who believe Jones can fit at left tackle in their scheme. Vrabel and ownership might need a moment to embrace drafting another Georgia OT in the first round (Isaiah Wilson, 29th overall in 2020, never played a snap for the team).
3. WR Jordan Addison, USC: Yes, the Titans spent their first-round pick on a wideout last year, but Treylon Burks’ strengths are his strength and size. Addison is slippery if not a speedy deep threat who would walk into the Tennessee WR room as the top route-runner. He had 160 receptions for 2,259 yards and 21 touchdowns over the past two seasons at Pitt (2021) and USC (2022).