INDIANAPOLIS – Never say never.
Jameson Williams and John Metchie, a pair of talented Alabama receivers, are recovering from recent knee surgeries. Neither player will take part in on-field work here at the NFL Combine, and they won't be able to participate in Alabama's Pro Day leading up to the NFL Draft either.
The Titans figure to be in the market for help at the position, but they can't afford to pick a guy and wait for him to heal up, right?
If your answer is an automatic yes, you don't know Titans General Manager Jon Robinson very well.
"We have done it a couple times here," Robinson said. "Really the last couple of years with the (2019) draft and Jeffery (Simmons), and this past year with Caleb (Farley). And you know I thought Caleb was on track, he was back practicing, he was moving around good, and then had the unfortunate injury there. He is working hard, he has been in there every day, I see him in there. He is rehabbing, he is getting stronger."
Plenty of factors go into making the decision to pick a player who is injured, Robinson said.
"But those are some of the harder discussions we have, is the risk-reward of the player," Robinson said. "Knowing that, and with those two players (Williams and Metchie) specifically, the timing of that injury and how much of the season they are going to miss and not have those guys, relatives to the dividends that they might bring to your football team."
In 2019, the Titans picked Simmons in the first round of the draft, and they had to wait until midseason his rookie year before he could play as he recovered from his ACL injury. Three seasons in, Simmons has proven to be worth the wait. He's coming off the best season of his career, which ended with a trip to the Pro Bowl.
In 2021, the Titans picked Farley, who was recovering from back surgery. Just as Farley was getting back in the swing of things last year, he suffered a torn ACL that sidelined him the remainder of the 2021 season.
In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Titans currently have the 26th overall pick in the first round.
Williams and Metchie are considered two of the draft's best prospects at receiver after memorable careers with the Crimson Tide.
Williams, who suffered his knee injury during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in January, said on Wednesday he's ahead of scheduled in his recovery.
"I was hearing five to seven months, but I'm hearing I'm ahead of schedule," Williams said at the NFL Combine. "I'm six weeks out of surgery right now. I've been walking without the brace for two weeks, without the crutch for three weeks. Hopefully things keep going on this track, and I'll be back as soon as possible."
Metchie, almost three months after tearing his ACL in the SEC championship game, said his recovery is on schedule, and going well.
"Around June, in June, I should be cleared, I should be good to go," he said on Wednesday. "Just ready to play football and run some routes.
"My recovery is going really well. All the doctors say it's going really well, so I shouldn't have any issues there at all."
Might the Titans be tempted to pick another gem if either player slides into the GM's wheelhouse?
While Williams is considered a late first-round pick, Metchie has been projected as a late first-round or early second-round pick.
Both players feel they have something to prove.
"I hope (the injury) doesn't affect me, but I'm not sure how it affects me," Williams said. "At the end of the day, I just hope to get drafted. I hope a team takes a shot at me."