NASHVILLE – Mark Dominik has a pretty good idea about what Titans general manager Ran Carthon is thinking leading up to next week's NFL Draft.
No, Dominik doesn't know which player Carthon wants to select with the 11th overall pick.
But Dominik, like Carthon, paid his dues for years before becoming a general manager.
And now, Carthon is less than a week away from making some big draft decisions as a first-year GM.
"It is the most exhilarating part of the entire job," said Dominik, a former GM of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who is now an analyst with SiriusXM NFL Radio. "And Ran will absolutely love it."
The Titans hired Carthon, who spent the previous six seasons with the 49ers and prior to that worked with the Rams and Falcons, earlier this offseason.
The Titans have already added nine players in free agency. Carthon will work with Coach Mike Vrabel and others next week during the draft in an effort to build an improved version of the Titans moving forward.
"Seeing Mike Vrabel at the table, I think that is going to be an interesting combination," Dominik said on a conference call this week. "You are going to be very collaborative in your first year as GM. You are going to try and get everyone's opinion, almost to a fault, quite frankly, to where you're trying to appease so many people, whether it's the defensive coordinator, whether it's the head coach, whether it's your director of player personnel. It becomes very difficult because as you learn the role and the position, you're trying to see which people give you the best information when I am coming into an organization I haven't really been around or know very well. So, I think that is the tricky part to start with.
"Ran has certainly been around a lot of football, so he is very fortunate in that way. I think your natural inclination is to look at the quarterback room and say: How do we feel about that compared to not only my division, but my conference? Because you understand that is where your organization lives and dies. And you make sure you stay true to your process that you are wanting to bring into your board, and you are educating other people about the way you've done it. I think the most important thing you can do … is listening. Speaking less and listening more. Keep your ears open and maybe get a sense of what everyone says, and then having the really private 1 on 1s with coach Vrabel that really tell the story of the direction you feel like you are going as a franchise. So, for me, you realize it is your first pick, but you obviously get to pick all day long for three straight days and an undrafted class."
The Titans are scheduled to make six picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, including the 11th overall pick.
"I think he'll do a very good job at the press conferences," Dominik said of Carthon. "But I think he's going to be surgically focused on: How do you up that offense for the Titans?"
Dominik worked in an NFL front office role for 20 seasons, 19 of them with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, first as a pro personnel assistant and scout, then as the team's Director of Scouting, and ultimately as the franchise's General Manager. His five draft classes as the Buccaneers GM produced four All-Rookie team members, three Pro Bowlers, and 13 players who started a minimum of three years for the franchise.
So, what does his think Carthon and the Titans will do in round one?
Dominik, by the way, makes his home in Nashville.
So, yes, he's heard the buzz.
"It is hard for me not to want to push on the offensive line, and continue to build there," he said. "It used to be such a weapon for them and it feels like it has fallen off the last couple of years. I think that is a big part of it. I think you also are still going to look at the linebacker position in terms of speed. I think that is a piece that they want to really add to. And, you are always looking for edge guys.
"Where I think the Titans are in a good spot, assuming they are not leaning toward the quarterback position, which is the buzz I feel like you feel, I think one of these – not the Tyree Wilsons, not maybe the Will Andersons, but I think the guys (like) Lukas Van Ness (from Iowa) and Myles Murphy (from Clemson) are guys that I have a feeling are higher on their board than maybe you are getting a buzz because I think the buzz is on the quarterback around here."