NASHVILLE – ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. takes a lot of pride in his mock drafts.
When he thinks about the Titans at No.11, a few things make things a little tougher on projecting who might be the right pick for Tennessee.
For starters, the Titans have a new general manager in Ran Carthon, who has no draft tendencies, or hints, to help make an educated guess.
"It makes it a little more difficult," Kiper said on a conference call on Wednesday morning. "And, what they did in free agency, too."
Kiper on Wednesday morning discussed possible scenarios for the Titans while delving into what the team has done recently in adding six free agents.
"You look at bringing in an Andre Dillard," Kiper said of the former Eagles lineman who was signed by the Titans on Monday. "How does he factor in? He was kind of a disappointment, had some injuries in Philadelphia, was a former first-round pick. … And he played some guard (last) year. So, he could be left tackle (or) guard, so he brings some versatility there.
"(The Titans) brought in Arden Key, who had a decent year off the edge last year in Jacksonville. (They signed) Daniel Bruskill (formerly of the 49ers) who can be a guard. They added another corner (in former Tampa Bay CB Sean Murphy-Bunting) and a couple of linebackers (in former 49ers LB Azeez Al-Shaair and former Cowboys LB Luke Gifford) and they also have (linebacker) Chance Campbell (a 2022 draft pick) coming off the injury.
"So, you look at where they are right now, they have done some things in free agency that will allow them at 11 to just take the best available player. They don't have to go o-line line like we thought."
In his most recent mock draft, which was released on Tuesday, Kiper has the Titans going with a defensive player with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft.
In Tuesday's mock, with the four top quarterbacks and two top offensive tackles (Paris Johnson Jr. and Peter Skoronski) off the board, Kiper has the Titans taking a Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson.
Here's what Kiper said in his analysis:
Tennessee has used free agency to bring in Andre Dillard to play left tackle and Daniel Brunskill to compete for one of the guard positions, which means offensive line is less of a need now. And with Johnson and Skoronski off the board in this scenario, the Titans don't have to force a lineman here. That's why I'm in favor of them going after a high-ceiling edge rusher.
Wilson, who is recovering from a broken foot, is a 6-foot-6, 271-pounder who had 14 sacks over the past two seasons for the Red Raiders.
Here's what Kiper said about that on the conference call on Wednesday:
"An interesting kid is Tyree Wilson of Texas Tech. He had the foot injury later in the year. He had some sack production. They dropped him in coverage sometimes when I thought he should be attacking the quarterback. He's a little up and down, and he doesn't always take over games like his talent indicated he should. But he's the kind of guy who figures to go in the middle of the first round."