Top Titans' Scenarios and Final Draft Thoughts

Olu FashanuNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Final thoughts before the NFL Draft starts tonight with the Titans lined up at No. 7.

Here is what I would like to see unfold for them in order of preference.

1)    Trade back two to six picks for Olu Fashanu, LT, Penn State

Fashanu (pictured) is a premier pass protector with room to grow as a run blocker. He’s starting from snap one in training camp and Bill Callahan can have a very fast impact on rounding out his game. JC Latham would be the fallback. He’d get every chance to start out on the left side but might wind up on the right, and that would wind up a fail to me. 

Who’s the trader? Well, I started out playing with the chart and values there and was trying to balance things out with the calculator.

I felt I was asking too much, but I wasn’t factoring in the QB tax. So I reached out to my long-time friend Kevin  Seifert who covers the Vikings. If Minnesota was empty-handed at 7, would he give up 11 and 23 straight up? He would, to take JJ McCarthy or even Michael Penix, presuming Drake Maye is gone. 

Well, the Titans would have to make that deal for the difference between Alt, presuming he’s there, and Fashanu or JC Latham. 

Other plausible deals: 

The Bears give up Nos. 9 and 45 for 7 to move for a WR. That’s pretty balanced.

The Raiders give up 13, 44 and 77 to move for a QB, conceivably Penix. That’s QB taxed.

Anything like any of those and I think the Titans would win big. The Saints may be looking to come up from 

2)    Stay put and pick Joe Alt

He’s a great prospect. There is every reason to expect he’d be a three-contract guy and lock up the position, adding his name to the Brad Hopkins, Michael Roos, Taylor Lewan list of guys who’ve held down the position and ending the pain the franchise has suffered since Lewan’s knee went bad.

It is, however, important to note that Alt is not quite Lewan. Alt is taller, heavier and has bigger hands and longer arms.

But in seven athletic categories: 40-yard dash, 20-yard split, 10-yard split, vertical jump, broad jump, short shuttle and three-cone drill, Lewan outscored the Notre Damer when he was coming out of Michigan in all but three-cone. Alt’s got a fantastic RAS of 9.92, but Lewan was literally at the top of the chart with a 10.0.

Fashanu is a 9.49 and Latham didn’t qualify due to lack of measurements.

3)    Stay and pick Malik Nabers

Either he’s not there because he’s a phenomenal, explosive weapon prospect or he’s there because a couple of receiver-needy teams have judged him to carry some concerns that help make someone else more attractive – probably at least three QBs, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Rome Odunze and Alt or maybe even Latham.

I’ve heard from two guys who work for teams that are out of range for Nabers and aren’t going to get in range for him by sharing that he’s got some issues. One said they aren’t enough to push him out of the top 10, one said they are things that will need to be managed.

Do the Titans have the same sense of him? Does a new coach want to make the trade-off to manage those things if they are a factor?

4)    Stay and pick Rome Odunze

Zero issues with him. He’s a fantastic player and a plus-character guy you’d happily put on a billboard as soon as he gets his footing at team headquarters. 


Left vs. right and Andrus Peat: I don’t want to hear that a right tackle is just as important as a left tackle. There is still added value to a guy protecting the blindside of a QB like Will Levis. And it’s simply not the case for the Titans right now given the state of their roster. 

Bill Callahan has a chance to turn Nicholas Petit-Frere, Jalyn Duncan or maybe even Leroy Watson into the starting right tackle. None of them is a candidate to start at left tackle.

There is no lineman on the roster who can start at left tackle. And for those who are somehow convincing themselves that Andrus Peat is in reserve as the answer, well Callahan is good but a third year in a row of patchworking a premier spot is not the way to go. Peat was a solid left tackle for New Orleans last year. That came after eight seasons as a left guard, three of which earned Pro Bowl berths. 

The Saints are tackle-needy and look to be moving on from Peat after nine seasons. He averaged $7.44 million annually and made $5.5 M last year after a pay cut. New Orleans is cash-strapped.

Tennessee needs a left tackle who is indisputably a left tackle.

In addition to New Orleans, the Cowboys, Chiefs, Bears and Commanders also need left tackles. Denver would like to upgrade on Garrett Boles. The Jets are relying on injury-prone veteran Tyron Smith so they would be wise to draft one. The Lions, Dolphins and 49ers will likely need one in a year and could be in draft-ahead mode. The Chargers need a right tackle but could certainly select a left tackle and move him to start his career.

Leaving aside his old team, that's at least five others besides the Titans with immediate need who've passed on Peat in favor of drafting first. Sign him if he's cheap enough after adding a class -- to put on the second line of the depth chart, or to start briefly while waiting on a Patrick Paul or Jordan Morgan.

Defense: I thought the odds of a defender in the first round were slim, and then Ran Carthon did more to feed that with an answer at the Tuesday press conference when he was asked about finding a starting safety or linebacker.

“You look at the 49ers roster and you look at some of the guys that they have in there as starters on defense or offense and those guys were acquired in the fifth, sixth and seventh round,” he said. “And so, we've challenged the scouts, we've challenged the coaches to make sure that we have that board probably as fine-tuned as the top half to make sure we know those guys.

“And not only know those guys but know which guys fit schematically for exactly what we want to do. So, we're going to be able to look to address as many positions as possible all throughout all of our picks.”

Finding starters in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds is a big ask. 

Right now, the Titans have three players who could start who they found in the fifth round or later: Fifth-rounder Josh Whyle would be part of a two-tight end set; Fifth-rounder Kyle Philips would likely line up in the slot in three-wide; and two undrafteds -- Otis Reese and Jack Gibbens -- would currently vie for an inside linebacker slot. All of them could be shoved down the depth chart by draft picks.

Sebastian Joseph-Day was a sixth-rounder for the Rams and Daniel Brunskill was undrafted by Atlanta.

The 49ers depth chart at the start of January featured quarterback Brock Purdy (seventh-rounder), tight end George Kittle (fifth), right tackle Colton McKivitz (fifth), weakside linebacker Dre Greelaw (fifth), nickelback Deommodore Lenoir (fifth).
Bowers: If Brock Bowers to the Titans happens, I think it would only be if he slipped past 10 and the Titans traded down ensuring they have enough capital to address left tackle, edge and inside linebacker. Maybe Bowers' presence would allow them to move forward with what they have at receiver.

But it sure feels like the Jets have him tabbed at 10.

Scenarios: After some significant time with PFF’s draft simulator, I put out a small bracket of Titans draft scenarios starting April 5th.

Here’s a rundown of all the results and the winner. The crux of it is, you love Joe Alt. The two scenarios he was in won their first-round matchups, and the one that paired him with a receiver won three times to win the whole competition, including by the largest margins in the first round and semifinals.

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