Draft Day Drama: Tennessee Titans
By Jonathan Walker
The Titans hold the 11th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. But in the latest mock draft from Mel Kiper he has them trading up to the 3rd overall pick. This “proposed deal” would cost the Titans somewhere in the ball field of the 11th, 41st, ‘24 1st round pick, and possibly a ‘25 1st or 2nd round pick. This would allow them to have their pick of either Florida QB Anthony Richarson or Kentucky QB Will Levis. They are rumored to be in love with Anthony Richardson. In 2022 Richardson had over 2,500 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, with 9 interceptions completing only 53.8% of his passes. He also ran for 654 yards and 9 touchdowns.
It seems their offense would be a better fit for Anthony Richardson due to his arm strength and ability to run. Unfortunately I see Richardson as more of a thrower than a passer. Richardson might have the ability to throw the ball but what the Titans need is a QB who can pass the ball effectively.
Now for the DRAMA, if the Titans are willing to give up the 11th, 41st, ‘24 1st round pick and possibly ‘25 1st round pick, why would they just not trade for the former MVP Lamar Jackson? Drafting a rookie you never know what you will get, look at when the New York Jets traded up to the 3rd overall pick in 2018 giving up the 6th overall pick, 37th pick, 49th pick and ‘19 2nd round pick. The Jets used that 3rd round pick to draft QB Sam Darnold who compiled over 8,000 passing yards, 45 touchdowns, 39 interceptions along with 417 rushing yards, 5 touchdowns and a 13-25 record over a 3 year span. Look at what the 49ers gave up to get Trey Lance: First-round picks in the 2022 and '23 NFL Drafts, as well as a third-round selection in 2022. How’s that going now? Keep in mind that the Titans new GM is Ran Carthon, who spent the last six seasons with those 49ers. Hmmm.
Let’s say Richardson matches what Darnold did in his first 3 compared to Lamar Jackson’s last 3 seasons. Lamar had over 7,500 passing yards, 59 touchdowns, 29 interceptions along with over 2,400 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns and a 31-11 record. Given these stats, why would the Titans not go after the former MVP? The only difference (which is a big one) is the contract. Signing Richardson would cost around $38 Million, trading for Lamar Jackson would cost at least $230 Million guaranteed. Now that is a bit of a price difference but that is the price you pay for a QB who is 1 of only 4 active NFL players who have won the MVP.
When Anthony Richardson actually played a college defense that could somewhat resemble a NFL defense, it did not go well. In their game against the Georgia Bulldogs Richardson went 18/37 for passing with 271 yards and 1 touchdown in their 20-42 loss. If those were the numbers Richardson put up against a good defense, then he would be torn apart in the NFL. There’s a possibility that Anthony Richardson can’t handle a NFL defense if that game showed us anything. When Georgia would pressure Richarson he would rush the throw and it would not be on target. Even simple passes like throws to a flat were off due to Richarson not being able to handle pressure. Most of Anthony Richardson’s completed passes were against the backups for the Georgia defense. Or maybe he just had a bad day. Let’s think that’s how the Titans see it.
It would make more sense if the Titans brought in Lamar Jackson, as it would impact every skill position on their offense in a positive way. Every defense that would play against them would have to compensate for Lamar’s running ability, allowing WR Treylon Burks to get 1-on-1 coverage which he has shown he can beat. If a defense forces Lamar to pass the ball, they would be in trouble as well. Over the years Lamar has shown incredible improvement in his passing ability. Unfortunately, this option is extremely far-fetched and unlikely to happen.
Instead, I see the Titans trading up to select Anthony Richardson. This wouldn't be good for Treylon Burks owners. In fact, it wouldn’t be good for any skilled position players on the Titans. The Titans could feel pressured to pull Ryan Tannehill sooner than later in favor of starting Richardson.
The fact of the matter is that Richardson is a prospect that probably needs a couple of years to develop rather than being a starting NFL QB day 1. None of this will be good if you own any Titans players in fantasy.