Seven prospects for Titans who make the most sense at No. 7 overall pick

At the NFL Combine last week, Titans general manager Ran Carthon didn’t hide that the team is zeroing in on two positions in the upcoming draft: wide receiver and offensive line. 

“Two areas that we’re going to be focusing on,” he said in Indianapolis. 

It’s no surprise. 

Tennessee has had one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines for the past couple seasons, and it has struggled to find a long-term replacement for left tackle Taylor Lewan, who was a cap casualty in February 2023. 

And at wide receiver, the Titans have few playmakers outside of 31-year-old DeAndre Hopkins, who last season became the team’s first 1,000-yard receiver since 2020. Former first-round pick Treylon Burks has been a disappointment throughout two seasons.

But what does all that mean for Tennessee at No. 7 overall in next month’s draft? Will the organization prioritize wide receiver or a left tackle? What are the options outside of those positions?

Here are seven names to watch for the Titans in the first round: 

Joe Alt, OT, Notre Dame

Measurables: 6-foot-9, 321 pounds
Notable stats: started 33 consecutive games at left tackle 

Alt should be at the top of the Titans’ list to be their hopeful franchise left tackle. A towering figure, the 6-foot-9 Alt is the consensus top offensive tackle prospect. He has the length and power to neutralize edge rushers. 

He began his college career as a tight end, which tells you about his fluidity, even if the consensus in the scouting community is that he lacks “wow” athletic traits. 

Check out some of Joe Alt’s best moments of 2023

Alt’s father, John, is a former first-round pick and two-time Pro Bowl left tackle in his own right and Joe’s brother, Mark, plays in the NHL, which speaks to the strength of his bloodlines. 

Alt allowed just five pressures last season, the fewest among the 220 FBS offensive tackles who played at least 317 pass block snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Olu Fashanu, OT, Penn State

Measurables: 6-foot-6, 312 pounds
Notable stats: Started all 12 games in 2023 at left tackle

If Alt is off the board, the athletic Fashanu might be the second-best option. 

He’s said to be a bit raw in his technique and slides, but the Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year is a well-coordinated athlete who “dances” with defenders, according to FOX Sports NFL Draft Analyst Rob Rang. Fashanu wasn’t charged with a sack in three seasons at Penn State, according to PFF. 

He was also teammates with Titans quarterback Will Levis for a year with the Nittany Lions. Fashanu said at the combine last week that he recently spoke with Levis, who helped him acclimate to college life. 

Could Fashanu return the favor, helping Levis to establish himself as Tennessee’s long-term quarterback as his blindside protector in 2024? 

[ROB RANG: 2024 NFL Draft OT rankings: Scouting the best tackle class in 20-plus years]

Malik Nabers, WR, LSU

Measurables: 6 feet, 200 pounds
Stats (2023): 89 receptions for 1,569 yards and 14 TDs

At the combine, new Titans head coach Brian Callahan stressed a desire to have a variety of different receivers. Nabers would be a great prospect to begin leaving that imprint. 

Expected to be the next great wideout coming out of LSU, following in the footsteps of Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase, Nabers leaves the Tigers as their all-time leader in receptions (189) and receiving yards (3,003). He plays inside and out and is a crisp route runner, possessing a knack to set up defensive backs to create separation. He’s not the biggest for his position, but he’s dynamic in yards-after-the catch situations. 

Nabers has a similar physical profile as Chase, whom Callahan coached in Cincinnati. And in Tennessee, Nabers would have the opportunity to be mentored by Hopkins as he’s groomed into the WR1. 

Joel Klatt’s top pass-catchers in 2024 NFL Draft

Rome Odunze, WR, Washington

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 212 pounds
Stats (2023): 92 receptions for 1,640 yards and 13 TDs

On paper, Odunze appears to be one of the safest prospects at the top of the draft. The FBS receiving yards leader last season, Odunze checks all the boxes as a potential WR1 in the NFL with his size, physicality and grit (he played through a broken rib and punctured lung early last season). Odunze is terrific in contested-catch situations. 

Brock Bowers, TE, Georgia

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 243 pounds
Stats (2023): 56 catches for 714 yards and 6 TDs

The Titans don’t have a need at tight end — starter Chig Okonkwo and backup Josh Whyle were drafted in the past two years — but Bowers is considered a generational prospect at the position. He also fits into the larger theme of Callahan’s hopes to add dynamic pass-catchers and elite talent on the offensive side of the ball. 

Brock Bowers’ highlights during his career with the Georgia Bulldogs

Terrion Arnold, CB, Alabama

Measurables: 6 feet, 189 pounds
Stats (2023): 5 INTs, 12 PBUs, 63 tackles (6.5 for loss)

All indications point to the Titans taking an offensive lineman or a receiver at the top of the draft. But if defense is under consideration, Arnold is a name to keep in mind. 

Defensive coordinator Dennard Wilson is a defensive backs specialist — he coached DBs with the Rams, Jets, Eagles and Ravens from 2015-23 — and Tennessee figures to be starting with a clean slate at cornerback. Starters Kristian Fulton and Sean Murphy-Bunting are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next week. 

An elite talent, Arnold is an aggressive corner, which fits into Wilson’s vision of having an attacking defense in Nashville. The Titans had just six interceptions last season, worst in the league. Arnold was tied atop the SEC with five picks in 2023. 

Dallas Turner, edge, Alabama

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 247 pounds 
Stats (2023): 11 sacks, 53 tackles (15.5 for loss), 2 forced fumbles

Turner is another defensive name to consider. Edge rusher has been a strength for the Titans the past three years, but they must get younger at the position. Denico Autry, who turns 34 in July, is set to be a free agent. Harold Landry, who had 10.5 sacks this past season in his first year back from a torn ACL, will be 28 by the start of next season. 

In 2023, Turner was a consensus first-team All-American and was the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year. 

Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.

Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more

Source link