Best Options WIth Titans' Top Two Picks and Why a Trade is So Vital

Best Options WIth Titans' Top Two Picks and Why a Trade is So Vital


Free agency isn’t over, but with the calendar turning to April and the NFL Draft just over three weeks away, we have reached the point where teams are zeroing in on draft strategies, hosting visits with players of interest, and fine-tuning their draft boards. For the Tennessee Titans, that means figuring out what to do with the eight picks at their disposal, most critically picks No. 7 and 38.

Feb 1, 2024; Mobile, AL, USA; American offensive lineman Patrick Paul of Houston (76) faces off against American defensive lineman Jordan Jefferson of LSU (99) during practice for the American team at Hancock Whitney Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Paul/ © Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

A thought that I can’t escape as we get closer to the draft is that Tennessee cannot exit this draft having only picked twice in the top-100 selections. Whether that means trading back in the first round or the second, Ran Carthon has to find a way to add another Day Two pick or two.

I’ve laid out my reasoning for this belief previously, but I’ll hit it again here. The cupboards are bare when it comes to young, up-and-coming talent on this roster at virtually every position group. It’s far too early to make definitive statements about any of the 2023 draft class, but the only other player currently contributing at a high level on a rookie contract is third-year cornerback Roger McCreary. You could make an argument for Chig Okonkwo as well, but his hot-and-cold 2023 season at least raises some questions about his trajectory and ceiling as the team’s top tight end.

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Titans' L'Jarius Snead Hopes to Force Teams to 'Rearrange Their Offense'

L'Jarius SneedNASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans have rarely sent a cornerback to track a top receiver around the field.

Samari Rolle, Pacman Jones and Cortland Finnegan did so occasionally for specific matchups, Finnegan most notably with Andre Johnson with whom he ended up in a highlight-reel fight.

Finnegan’s Titans’ career ended in 2011. 

Since then, it’s been almost always left, right and nickel.

So the arrival of L’Jarius Sneed gives the Titans a chance to do what the Chiefs did in 2024 when he drew matchups against some of the NFL’s top wideouts and had great success against them weekly. No matter where they lined up.

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Fanatics as Titans' Merchandise Operator Doesn't Mean Only Fanatic Products

FanaticsNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- While Fanatics is taking over the Titans' merchandise operation, it does not mean the much-maligned manufacturer's products will dominate the marketplace.

The team announced Monday that Fanatics is its new "omnichannel retail partner." I felt like that complicated things as omnichannel is an unfamiliar word and concept.

"Under the new deal, Fanatics assumes operations of the full suite of on-site merchandise and fan gear touchpoints at Nissan Stadium, and launches a new, advanced e-commerce platform for the team," the announcement said.

Many fans are understandably wary of Fanatics products which have a terrible reputation.

But it's important to note that Fantatics as operators does not mean their product will be the overwhelming merchandise choice at titansteamstore.com.

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How Chad Brinker, Ran Carthon Will Define Success for 2024 Titans

Chad Brinker and Ran Carthon
  Chad Brinker and Ran Carton

ORLANDO – The Titans move forward with a lot of changes after a terrible season. Their 6-11 mark was the third-worst record in the AFC.

They’ve got a new coach, a new staff and a new offensive philosophy. So far, they’ve got nine new players through aggressive free-agent shopping and a big trade.

The Titans are in a competitive division where the Texans are the reigning champs with offensive rookie of the year C.J. Stroud in place and a good-looking free-agent class added.  

Things can change dramatically in a year in the NFL, but what are the team’s expectations for the first year of Brian Callahan’s version of the Titans?

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How the Draft's Top Three WRs Stack Up to What Titans' Leadership Likes


The Tennessee Titans are in a better place with their wide receiver room than years prior, maybe even the best. But they’re not done. There is a difference between hope and expectation and the Grand Canyon-sized gap between those two words is how to view Treylon Burks and Kyle Philips as they both enter year three.

You hope that both turn things around in various facets of their game, but the Titans should not expect that they will. Neither of those players precludes the Titans from drafting a wide receiver, should the right opportunity present itself in any round of the draft. It would be insane to pass up on the wide receivers in this draft, even the ones on Day Three. Pulling a Colton Dowell-like move, where they ignore a deep WR class that will dry up by the seventh round, would be a tough pill to swallow. 

Sep 3, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive back Renardo Green (8) defends a pass intended for Louisiana State Tigers wide receiver Malik Nabers (8) during the first half at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
Malik Nabers/ © Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

However, based on their comments, I don’t believe that will be the case. In fact, it would be downright stunning if they don’t address wide receiver before the beginning of the sixth round. Brian Callahan spoke in great detail about needing playmakers at the position and if all things are created equal, get the guy that scores points. Derrick Mason on 102.5 has said that he “knows” Ran Carthon really wanted Zay Flowers last year. That lets us know that it is not out of the realm of possibility that one of the top three wide receivers in this draft could be picked over Joe Alt.

So, how do each of the top-3 consensus players stack up to what the Titans decision decision-makers have traditionally looked for? Let’s talk it out.

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Where the Titans Stand on One Blue Chip vs. Two Very Good Players

ORLANDO – The Titans still need several good players. But the NFL is keyed by great players.

In my conversations with Ran Carthon and Chad Brinker at the NFL annual meetings I asked each about weighing the idea of adding a blue player – blue being a star of superstar in the color-coding popularized by super scout Mike Giddings in the early 1980s (read this) – as opposed to two very good players. 

Nov 27, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish offensive lineman Joe Alt (76) blocks Stanford Cardinal defensive tackle Dalyn Wade-Perry (50) during the fourth quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Alt/ © Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

“So you’re saying trade with Minnesota?” Carthon said, laughing, referring to the Vikings, who are in prime position for a move up with someone like the Titans at No. 7. The Vikings hold No. 11 and 23. “Honestly that will be something that we explore, because it depends on what’s available to us, what happens in the first six picks. You’ve got to be able to play the board. 

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How L’Jarius Sneed Fits in Dennard Wilson’s Plan for the Titans' Defense

How L’Jarius Sneed Fits in Dennard Wilson’s Plan for the Titans' Defense


The Titans made their second big splash of the 2024 offseason over the weekend by landing cornerback L’Jarius Sneed in a trade with the Chiefs which includes a new four-year, $76 million contract for the two-time Super Bowl champ. The return for Kansas City was the Titans 2025 third-round pick and a swap of seventh-round picks (221 overall going to KC in exchange for 252 overall) in the 2024 NFL Draft.

In Sneed, the Titans are getting one of the premier cornerbacks in the NFL who is still in his prime at age 27, but we’ll get into the details of who he is as a player and his fit within Dennard Wilson’s attack-style defense shortly. But first, I want to touch on the trade terms and the contract.

Sep 17, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) catches a ball just outside of the endzone with pressure from Kansas City Chiefs corner back L'Jarius Sneed (38) during the fourth quarter at EverBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports
L'Jarius Sneed forces Calvin Ridley out of bounds/ © Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

To me, the trade terms were relatively favorable for the Titans, especially considering that future picks are usually discounted a round in value, meaning that the 2025 third-rounder is valued the same as a 2024 fourth-round pick.

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Inside the Titans' Trade for L'Jarius Sneed

Inside the Titans' Trade for L'Jarius Sneed

ORLANDO – When the Titans first checked in with the Chiefs about L’Jarius Sneed and got permission to talk to the cornerback about a contract things were too expensive on multiple levels.

Kansas City wanted too much in trade compensation and Sneed wanted too much in a contract.

“Patience is a virtue,” said Chad Brinker, president of football operations. “Particularly in our sport sometimes, people don’t want to be patient, they want to hurry up and jump out, and take care of business -- and sometimes you have to do that. 

Dec 11, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed (38) celebrates his interception with cornerback Joshua Williams (23) and safety Justin Reid (20) n the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
L'Jarius Snead/ © Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

“In this case, I think we put together a pretty good plan and strategy heading into free agency. And when that opportunity came upon us, obviously we evaluated it, we met as a staff, we brought coaches in the room, we watched the tape, we wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page, just kind of confirming some things. And then we just felt like where we were in the process we just weren’t ready to make that move at that moment.”

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