Rumors are swirling that the Tennessee Titans may be exploring a potential trade up for one of the top quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
According to NFL.com and NFL Network’s lead draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, the Tennessee Titans may be exploring potential trade scenarios that may help them land of the top quarterbacks in the NFL draft. On the Move the Sticks podcast, hosted by both Jeremiah and draft analyst Bucky Brooks, Jeremiah dropped hints that teams around the league have indicated the Titans are exploring opportunities to trade up, maybe even as high as 3rd overall, to ensure they have a chance at one of the top quarterbacks available.
In a twitter exchange with former Titans’ Offensive Tackle Taylor Lewan, Jeremiah downplayed the overall activity level, using words like “homework” and “due diligence”.
However, where there is smoke there is always the possibility of fire. But what would a potential trade-up scenario look like for the Titans? Recent history may provide a clearer picture.
San Francisco 49ers Trade (2021)
Prior to the 2021 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers executed a nearly identical trade to the one the Titans may be exploring. Trading with the Miami Dolphins, they jumped from the 12th pick to third overall (Titans are currently selecting 11th). In that trade, the 49ers gave up the No. 12 overall pick (2021), a third-round compensatory pick in 2022, and first-round picks in 2022 & 2023. The 49ers would go on to select Trey Lance, an athletic quarterback from North Dakota State University. A steep price to pay and the jury is still out on who may have won the trade.
When the Niners selected Lance, he was the third quarterback off the board. A scenario also nearly identical to the Titans explorations, as both the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans, selecting first and second overall respectively, will like take quarterbacks. There are four prospects widely believed to be in consideration: CJ Stroud (Ohio St.), Bryce Young (Alabama), Anthony Richardson (Florida), and Will Levis (Kentucky). Are the Titans comfortable enough with each of them to justify paying a premium to move up?
The answer to this question may be the biggest topic surrounding the Titans’ draft plan. On the one hand, it’s the most important position in football and not having it resolved will prevent a team from ever progressing. On the other, the Titans would be giving up A LOT of draft capital and essentially punting on the development of Malik Willis. Whatever the decision they make, it looks like the 2023 NFL Draft has the potential to get a lot more interesting.