INDIANAPOLIS – The Tennessee Titans have the 11th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Ran Carthon, the general manager of the Titans, made it clear on Tuesday that he is willing to move the draft order up or down at the 2023 NFL Combine to bring the best players to his team.
"We're always open for business," Carthon said. "You have my number. Call me. It's always about being open, to keep adding value. We listen and answer every call and see what happens.”
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Deals are made in the first round of every NFL draft, but this year's class is expected to be busier than usual. Many teams need quarterbacks, and four quarterbacks are projected in the top 10. Teams like the Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles, who beat the Titans, are quarterback-focused and have all the leverage.
On the other hand, some of the Titans' biggest needs are positions that look like they have a lot of talent after the first 11 picks. If the Titans fall behind, they can add an extra draft pick to fill a hole by pulling the trigger.
Carthon says all options are on the table and all options make sense. These are the Titans' arguments for trading, trading, and staying in the first round.
Why the Titans should trade up in the NFL draft
The Titans don't need a quarterback like the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks and Las Vegas Raiders do. But Ryan Tannehill has just one year left on his contract, his production has declined over the past two years, and in a conference full of quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence , Titans. they risk being left behind in a real arms race.
If Carthon is convinced that Alabama's Bryce Young, Ohio State's CJ Stroud, Kentucky's Will Levis or Florida's Anthony Richardson can be the Titans' Mahomes, Allen or Burrow, it's worth the move.
The trade also allows the Titans to bet on the market for an offensive tackle, receiver or cornerback. When Carthon determines that there is only one player at a certain position who can adequately cover one of the Titans' biggest holes, it is imperative to make sure that player is available to the Titans.
Why must the titans act?
ESPN's Scouts Inc. lists eight receivers, eight tight ends and 10 cornerbacks among the top 64 picks. That means roughly 41% of the players projected in the first two rounds fill the Titans' top three needs. The Titans have options, and they could use those options to get more draft capital later in the first round.
The Titans have just six picks and more than $12 million in cap space in 2023 to expand the roster through free agency and contract renewals. Building rookie contracts is much easier than expensive free agents, something the Titans learned with their All-Star draft classes in 2016 and 2019.
Why the Titans should finish 11th
Simple isn't always best, but staying calm and having a clear, detailed plan for draft weekend is the easiest option for a first-year GM. Drafts and trades can work, but overly aggressive teams can result in too many assets being released and teams renegotiating too much talent on the roster without getting a differentiator.
The Titans' six picks probably aren't enough to meet everyone's needs, and No. 11 probably isn't early enough to sign a franchise quarterback. But when it comes to planning the best approach to Titan cohesion and weaknesses, knowing exactly when to pick with different strategies that respond to the rest of the league is a huge plus.
What is the best option?
If Carthon thinks the Titans' biggest problem is quarterback, the best thing to do is act and buy higher. If the goal is to deepen the list, the lowest prices are the most favorable. If Carthon thinks the Titans can get back to the playoffs by plugging the biggest holes in the first and second rounds, staying where they are makes more sense.
Given where the Titans' needs lie, where their draft strengths lie, how many teams want to move up, and the state of the AFL, it seems like going down will serve the Titans best. But no team is going to deny a star quarterback a chance when there's a way to get it.
Nick Suss is a Titans writer for The Tennessee. Contact Nick at [email protected]. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicksuss.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessee: Tennessee Titans 'Open For Business' for Draft Trades. Is it time to grow up?