The Tennessee Titans are at a crossroads. New general manager Ran Carthon could decide to rebuild around quarterback Ryan Tannehill and take another stab at the AFC South division title next season. The Titans could also dump Tannehill and ignite a full-blown rebuilding period. Carthon’s decision will ultimately shape Tennessee’s 2023 season (and possibly beyond).
The Titans have multiple holes across the offensive line and at wide receiver. Tennessee’s draft is expected to heavily focus on the offensive side of the ball. The Titans are currently nowhere near competing with the AFC’s elite from an offensive perspective. Cornerback and EDGE are sneaky needs, too.
With that being said and with plenty of moves still to come ahead of April’s draft, here’s what a seven-round draft for the Titans might look like if it happened now.
(Note: I completed this mock draft using the Beta version of our Mock Draft Machine 2.0, which you can access by becoming a TDN Premium member!)
Round 1 (No. 11 overall): Paris Johnson Jr. OT, Ohio State
The Titans are expected to release Taylor Lewan this offseason after he suffered his second season-ending ACL injury in three years. Releasing Lewan would create $14.8 million in cap space for the cash-strapped Titans, per Spotrac. It’s a no-brainer, but finding a left tackle of the future is Carthon’s top priority.
The Titans would be thrilled if Paris Johnson Jr. is on the board at No. 11 overall. Johnson is an explosive athlete with the type of movement skills that make him a plug-and-play starter. Head coach Mike Vrabel would love to add another Buckeye to his offensive line by pairing Johnson with Nicholas Petit-Frere.
Round 2 (No. 42 overall): Josh Downs WR, North Carolina
The Titans went to great lengths to revamp their pass-catching group in 2022 by drafting Treylon Burks, Kyle Philips, and Chigoziem Okonkwo. All three flashed difference-making potential throughout their rookie campaigns, but the Titans still require more at receiver. The loss of A.J. Brown still stings.
Josh Downs is a dynamic receiver that would complement Burks. Downs is a crafty route-runner that attacks defenses in the short, intermediate, and deep portions of the field. He would add a much-needed playmaking presence to Tennessee’s 30th-ranked passing attack.
Round 3 (No. 73 overall): Emmanuel Forbes CB, Mississippi State
The Titans gave up a league-high 4,671 passing yards in 2022. Kristian Fulton is entering a do-or-die contract season. Roger McCreary is a better fit for the nickel position and Caleb Farley hasn’t met his pre-draft expectations as he continues to earn the ever-dreaded ‘bust’ label. The Titans need another boundary corner.
Vrabel and defensive coordinator Shane Bowen love corners that can play man coverage. Emmanuel Forbes prefers to align in press-man coverage where he can use his physicality to disrupt a receiver’s timing. Fores is the ultimate competitor at the catch-point. Forbes, who holds the SEC and FBS record for pick-six touchdowns, would immediately slot into Tennessee’s secondary while alternating with McCreary outside and at the nickel.
Round 5 (No. 150 overall): Dylan Horton EDGE, TCU
The Titans are expected to release Bud Dupree this offseason and Harold Landry is coming back from a season-ending torn ACL. Tennessee’s defensive line has been productive in recent years, but they’re going to require another body at the position. TCU’s Dylan Horton played the 2022 campaign at 275 pounds (per his team’s request) after weighing 245-ish in 2021. Horton is at his best on the edge, but the Titans love front multiplicity. Horton could play multiple positions in Tennessee.
Round 6 (No. 187 overall): Mark Evans II IOL, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
The Titans may have needs at all three interior offensive line positions. That depends on whether or not Ben Jones retires after suffering two concussions in 2022. Starting right guard Nate Davis is set to reach free agency.
Mark Evans II is a small-schooler worth getting familiar with. Evans is relentless as a run blocker. He primarily played tackle at Arkansas Pine-Bluff, but length concerns project Evans to guard at the next level. He’s an excellent fit for Tennessee’s zone-based scheme.
Round 7 (No. 231 overall): A.T. Perry WR, Wake Forest
Tennessee’s lack of depth at receiver may warrant doubling down at the position. The free-agent class of receivers leaves plenty to be desired, although veteran releases may still bolster that market (Keenan Allen?). Wake Forest’s A.T. Perry has X-receiver size and tendencies with the physical tools necessary to develop into a mismatch weapon in the red zone.
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