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Analyst Charles Davis Talks Titans, From HC Brian Callahan to GM Ran Carthon to QB Will Levis to NFL Draft Possibilities at No. 7


NASHVILLE – While working as an analyst for Titans preseason games since 2018, Charles Davis has developed a pretty good understanding about the franchise.

Davis, however, admits his in-season travels with CBS – and NFL Network for draft coverage – led to him being caught off-guard by the events in Tennessee in January.

"I know when the season ended, and I heard all this smoke about Mike Vrabel not being there, and I pretty much dismissed it," Davis said. "I just didn't see that coming. I thought Mike would be there and they would rebuild, retool, all those things."

Davis, who starred at the University of Tennessee, thinks the Titans ended up getting it right with their hire, after making the move.

In an interview from Super Bowl LVIII, Davis tackled a number of Titans topics, from their new head coach to quarterback Will Levis, to General Manager Ran Carthon to the upcoming NFL Draft.

"Obviously with the change, I like the change in terms of getting Brian Callahan," Davis said. "I'm a big Brian Callahan fan. I've had a chance to work with him all these years as an offensive coordinator, me in a production meetings, talking with him – I talk to those guys one-on-one, the coordinators. And, I really liked (Brian) a bunch. Even though he wasn't calling plays (in Cincinnati), it's a lot like Mike McDaniel going to Miami, who didn't call plays in San Francisco. It's like Bobby Slowik going to Houston, he didn't call plays in San Francisco. But they call them all week long, they just didn't call them on Sundays.

"(Brian) is going to be OK. I love the fact he got his dad (Bill), not just because it's a great story. But because he got maybe the best offensive line coach in the league. … He's phenomenal. Plus, as a former head coach, as a former play-caller, he can do all those things to help his son adapt and acclimate out of the gate. So, I am excited for Tennessee for those reasons."

Callahan, who served as offensive coordinator the past five seasons with the Bengals, will get a chance to show what he's really about as a head coach with the Titans, Davis said.

"I think things (will) emerge that you didn't see," Davis said. "When you're the offensive coordinator but you are not calling plays, to us, media people, and fans, you are seen but you are not heard. Now he has a chance to be heard and people will see things and think it's new.

"But I think within the Cincinnati Bengals and other places he's been, they'll be like, 'Yeah, we saw all of that before, you just didn't see it because we always want to talk to the play-callers', right? I think he's going to be fine."

Davis thinks the pairing of Callahan with quarterback Will Levis will be a good one in Tennessee.

In 2023, after being inactive the first six games of the season, Levis ended up starting nine games in 2023, and he completed 149-of-255 passes (58.4%) for 1,808 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions, with a passer rating of 84.2.

"I think this is a great opportunity for a young quarterback, to get with a guy who is offensive-minded, loves coaching quarterbacks, can't wait to get involved with it," Davis said, "and they can develop and grow together, which is really pretty cool.

"Because if you think about it, what is the easy parallel?: Zac Taylor and Joe Burrow."

Davis said he also has confidence in Carthon, the Titans second-year GM he met over 20 years ago.

Back then, Davis was working as sideline reporter for Jefferson Pilot's SEC Game of the Week, and Carthon was a running back for the Florida Gators. The two developed a friendship back then, and they remained in touch.

Earlier this offseason, the Titans announced Carthon would have final say over the team's roster, from the draft to free agency.

"He's been prepping for this pretty much his entire life if you think about it, being the son of Maurice Carthon and growing up in the game and doing all the things he has done," Davis said of Carthon. "Here's the kicker: When you're the GM, and you have a coach like Mike Vrabel, you are trying to work in tandem, in concert, with somebody like that, but Mike Vrabel has a presence, he's a force of nature, and he's not even trying to be – it's just who he is. And that force of nature not being there gives Ran Carthon a chance, maybe his voice will be quote/unquote heard, not that it wasn't, but people will get to look at him with new eyes.

"It's just how it works – Mike was the established guy, and Ran was the new guy. Ran wants to be collaborative, and now he'll have a chance to do that with Brian."

Among Carthon's biggest tasks this offseason: Deciding what to do with the seventh overall pick.

That decision, of course, will come after free agency.

And, after Davis has more of a chance to study the possibilities.

"I haven't gotten that far yet, but when you are picking at No. 7, you need just about everything," Davis said of the Titans, and their needs. "I still think offensive line is a huge (need), and this is going to be a crazy offensive tackle draft. I've heard numbers like 10, 11 tackles going in the first round. Like that's how big of a draft it is.

"So, to me, the left tackle position is a glaaaaring need for the Tennessee Titans. So, they might have their pick of multiple guys at No.7 – who do you like best out of the guys that remain?"

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