Titans didn't get played in missing out on C.J. Stroud

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There is an idea floating around that the Titans got played Thursday night in the first round, that letting it get out that they wanted to move up for C.J. Stroud backfired and resulted in the QB they desired landing with division rival Houston.

I think they probably did want Stroud.

C.J. Stroud
C.J. Stroud/ Courtesy Ohio State

But I don’t really understand how a team with the 11th pick gets played by the team with the second pick and the team with the third pick. The Texans and Cardinals had all the control as the first round unfolded.

Houston may have done a good job selling people on the idea that they were not taking a QB second overall, but what did that matter?

Once the Titans made an offer to the Cardinals, their GM Monti Ossenfort was obligated to try to get his team the best offer he could. 

Based on the sort of passing game efficiency Mike Vrabel has repeatedly spoken about and his Ohio State intel, it’s not much of a jump for anyone looking at the third pick to presume the Titans jump would have been for Stroud.

From there it’s pretty easy for Houston to shift from a plan where they would have drafted defense second overall and looked to move up from 12 for Stroud to taking Stroud second and looking to move up for their defender.

And that’s what they did as their GM Nick Casserio struck a deal with old New England front office friend Ossenfort to move all the way from 12 to three for Will Anderson.

The Texans gave up a ton to make their move for the Alabama edge: No. 12 and 33, along with a 2024 first-round pick and third-round pick. The Cardinals traded No. 12 with a second-rounder, No. 34, to Detroit for No. 6 and selected offensive tackle Paris Johnson, Jr.

You can't trick your way into the draft's second-best quarterback from the 11th spot if the team with the second pick wants him.

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