The Tennessee Titans have gone through a massive overhaul across the offensive line this offseason. The longest-tenured Titans Taylor Lewan and Ben Jones were released from their contracts. Nate Davis, Dennis Daley and Le’Raven Clark were rightfully allowed to walk in unrestricted free agency.
Titans general manager Ran Carthon responded by signing Andre Dillard and Daniel Brunskill. Nicholas Petit-Frere is expected to start at right tackle, although it’s not a guarantee. Aaron Brewer may be Jones’ replacement at center. The Titans also have Dillon Radunz and JaMarco Jones on the roster, the former of which suffered a late-season torn ACL, and the latter missed the entire 2022 campaign with injury. Corey Levin was also re-signed as a veteran swing backup.
Interior offensive line is a top-three roster need alongside wide receiver and offensive tackle. My intention is to educate our readers with different prospects the Titans could theoretically target at positions of need in each round of the 2023 NFL Draft. That’s the inspiration behind this month-long series. With that said, I’ve identified a potential guard and/or center target in every round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
First Round: Peter Skoronski | Northwestern
Peter Skoronski would be the top-ranked offensive tackle prospect if he didn’t possess fourth-percentile arm length. Skoronski strung together three years worth of elite tape at Northwestern, but physical shortcomings project him to kick inside to guard at the next level. Skoronski is the only interior offensive line prospect the Titans should even consider with the No. 11 overall selection.
I don’t believe in picking guards this high, but Skoronski is arguably a top-11 talent in the 2023 NFL Draft. Perhaps the Titans are among the franchises that believe Skoronski can play tackle. Skoronski is a plug-and-play prospect.
Second Round: O’Cyrus Torrence | Florida
The Titans have shown a lot of interest in Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence throughout the pre-draft process. They’ve met with Torrence on multiple occasions, first via a formal interview at the NFL Scouting Combine, and secondly via a sit-down dinner before Torrence’s Pro Day. The Titans are obviously interested in Torrence, and Tennessee’s second-round pick (41st overall) is within his sweet spot.
I previously believed Torrence was a better fit for gap/power schemes at the next level, but Torrence slimmed down and appeared more mobile at the Senior Bowl and combine. Torrence stonewalled opposing pass rushers in Mobile. Torrence is a first-year starter at left guard, where the Titans have a need.
Third Round: Emil Ekiyor Jr. | Alabama
Emil Ekiyor Jr. is one of the most underrated offensive linemen in the 2023 NFL Draft. I wouldn’t be shocked if Ekiyor went in the second round, but am choosing to believe he’ll be available when Tennessee comes on the clock at 72nd overall. Ekiyor was a three-year starter at guard for the Crimson Tide, but several scouts and league-wide executives believe Ekiyor is a better fit at center. So does Nick Saban, who personally called Jim Nagy and requested Ekiyor to play center in Mobile, a request which Nagy happily granted.
Additional options here could include TCU guard Steve Avila, Ohio State center Luke Wypler, and Old Dominion tackle/guard/center Nick Saldiveri.
Fourth Round: Braeden Daniels | Utah
Braeden Daniels possesses multi-year experience at left guard, left tackle and right tackle. A versatile fixture for the Utes, I believe Daniels’ best fit is at guard moving forward. Daniels weighs just 294 pounds (second percentile) with 33-inch arms (35th percentile). Those are guard measurables.
Daniels is also an excellent fit for Tennessee’s zone-blocking scheme. Daniels is an elite athlete that ran a 4.99 40 (96th percentile) with a 1.71 10-yard split (93rd percentile). Daniels does well to take advantage of angles in the run game and create movement. He’d be an immediate asset to Derrick Henry and Tennessee’s run-heavy approach.
Fifth Round: Nick Broeker | Ole Miss
I’m higher on Nick Broeker than most NFL draft analysts. I possess an early fourth-round grade on Broeker while conceding he probably gets drafted in the fifth round. I also love the team-to-prospect fit between Broeker and the Titans.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel craves durability and although that’s difficult to predict, Broeker played in 40-plus contests at Ole Miss without missing a single game due to injury. Broeker also transitioned from tackle to guard in 2022. Ole Miss executed zone-blocking concepts that asked Broeker to cut off defenders and climb to the second level. Broeker lateral movement abilities make him an excellent fit at guard.
Sixth Round: Jon Gaines II | UCLA
Jon Gaines II reminds me a lot of Aaron Brewer. Like Brewer, Gaines is an uber-athletic prospect that barely tipped the scale at 300 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, an event he likely bulked up for. Gaines is an outstanding athlete that leaped a 114-inch broad (97th percentile) and ran an elite 3-cone time of 7.31 seconds (96th percentile). Also like Brewer, Gaines is versatile enough to play all three interior positions. Gaines is an excellent mover in space, which Tennessee has coveted at the guard and center positions.
Seventh Round: Mark Evans II | Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Arkansas-Pine-Bluff’s Mark Evans II is the premier HBCU prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. Evans’ tape is littered with pancakes and standout reps. Evans didn’t enjoy a fruitful athletic performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, but I believe Evans’ tape makes him worthy of a seventh-round selection. Hawaii’s Ilm Manning is another small-schooler I’d like in this spot.