Mike Herndon: Potential Titans' draft strategies

Mike Herndon: Potential Titans' draft strategies

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

The Tennessee Titans are set to pick 11th in the upcoming 2023 NFL draft, their highest-held selection since Jon Robinson traded the first overall pick in 2016 for a haul of picks from the Rams. That higher-than-usual draft slot combined with a wide range of needs on the roster makes Ran Carthon’s options particularly plentiful heading into his first draft as general manager.

C.J. Stroud

© John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, most of the intrigue leading into the draft will center around that 11th overall pick in the first round and there are two primary trains of thought as of the beginning of March. One is to stick and pick the top left tackle prospect available and set an anchor for the overhauled offensive line. The other is to either trade up for a quarterback or see if one of the top options falls in your lap at 11.

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Titans seeking versatility: Ran Carthon on the lookout for positionless players

Cam JonesINDIANAPOLIS – In 1999, the Titans lucked into Jevon Kearse at pick No. 16 because some teams ahead of them didn’t know what he was.

They judged him too small to be a 4-3 end, the most popular front at the time, and while he had great speed they worried about how he’d hold up against the run as an outside linebacker.

Tennessee simply saw a player who it believed could get to the passer, putting him at end and coaching him to do so. And he promptly set a rookie record with 14.5 sacks.

The stigma of being a tweener – a player like Kearse who may be a hybrid end/linebacker, now just an “edge” – or a linebacker who can play inside and outside like Cleveland’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah or a safety who plays everywhere like Arizona’s Isaiah Simmons – is a thing of the past.

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A cool step in how Ran Carthon is learning what Titans coaches need

Mike VrabelINDIANAPOLIS -- Ran Carthon has emphasized on multiple occasions that he wants to learn what Mike Vrabel and his staff are looking for in players and then provide it for them.

At the NFL scouting combine Tuesday, the Titans GM talked through a smart request he made of Vrabel's assistants and Vrabel spoke of the opportunity it gave them all to reassess the components of the team.

Hear from them both with my thoughts in the video report below.

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First impressions of Titans' OC Tim Kelly

TimKellyCombineINDIANAPOLIS – The first time we heard from Tim Kelly as a member of the Titans coaching staff, he emphasized the offense he’ll coordinate will strive to be consistent, efficient and versatile.

They are pretty standard buzzwords for someone in his role, and they certainly plug right into what we’ve already heard from Mike Vrabel, the guy who elevated Kelly from passing game coordinator after he fired Todd Downing after injuries crushed the Titans offense that was still ridiculously anemic, averaging 17.5 points a game.

Here is the thing he said to get excited about:

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Ran Carthon offers definite statement on Ryan Tannehill -- or does he?

Ran CarthonINDIANAPOLIS – When we last heard Ran Carthon talk formally to the Titans' media, he’d just become the Titans’ GM and he had not had time to assess Ryan Tannehill.

Tuesday afternoon at a podium at the NFL combine he offered much more of an assessment, but hardly one that tells us the team’s plan for the quarterback position for 2023. He declined to get into any discussion about whether the team will look to renegotiate or extend Tannehill’s contract. But he said the QB heading into his 11th year “is under contract and will be a Titan.”

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Julio Jones, Robert Woods still hurting Titans' books, draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans' failures at receiver tend to focus on the trade of A.J. Brown.

But other moves at the position also contributed to the team’s lack of playmakers and will continue to have a bearing on the 2023 roster.Julio Jones

Pool photo/ Tennessee Titans

Julio Jones and Robert Woods are still messing them up.

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Mailbag: Derrick Henry's status, how many new OL, A.J. Brown talking

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Yes, it's time for the best questions of the week.

First, however, a plug for the podcast. Handy links: Apple, Spotify, Google PodcastsTuneIn and YouTube.

The feedback has been good and helpful. Please keep it coming.

TitansSwordFaceUSAHere we go.

Chris Kaklamanis Okay… I’ve been seeing lots of whack stuff that people have been posting on Twitter or talking about on national tv and I need to ask to your thoughts Paul Kuharsky.

Lots of people with podcasts or tv shows are talking about the Titans are going to either cut Henry for a $7M cap relief, or trade him.. and that seems totally ridiculous to me. Do you think the Titans are going to make a silly and shortsighted move like moving on from Henry?

One year left on his deal so I can’t imagine the Titans would get anything more than a 4th or 5th round pick. And I can’t see why on earth the would Titans cut Henry.

Photo: © George Walker IV-USA TODAY Sports

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Podcast: Why the Titans' cuts so far aren't painful and evaluating recent departures

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A new podcast episode  -- "Pain-Free Titans' Cuts" -- is up on Apple, Spotify, Google PodcastsTuneIn and YouTube, which you can see below.

The Paul Kuharsky PodcastWhichever platform you prefer, please subscribe, rate and review.

The YouTube broadcast is below.

Subjects I dive into:

💥 What the Titans' cuts mean
💥 A history of what recent players have done after they've left Tennessee
💥 Free-agent edge rusher options
💥 My review of a new city for me, Tulsa
💥 A tribute to Taylor Lewan 

You can find previous podcasts here.

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