Why Drafting Malik Nabers Would Be A Gamble For Titans

When the Titans select at seven in the first round of the Draft, the sheer amount of blue-chip talent in the 2024 class makes whatever direction Ran Carthon chooses feel like a solid bet. 

But what position they land on first could be the bigger gamble than the specific player.

This past week, Malik Nabers created enormous buzz off the heels of LSU’s pro day. He’s been a popular mock to the two-toned blue since the season ended. And while early in the process it filled a very glaring need, The Titans’ decision to sign free agent Calvin Ridley changed that math.

It’s impossible to ignore how much of a game-changer Nabers could be at the next level. His 4.35 40-yard dash time dazzled scouts and fans alike. Pair his testing with his junior season of 1,569 yards on 89 receptions at LSU, and Nabers has made his case to be the top wide receiver prospect this season.

But if Nabers were available at seven, it could create an interesting dilemma. Would a trio of Nabers, newly signed Calvin Ridley, and future hall of famer DeAndre Hopkins potentially be the best receiving room in the league? Without a doubt. But would it be a massive gamble that could set back the Titans rebuild? Cue the Sewell vs Chase meme. 

Since Brian Callahan landed in Tennessee, the idea that the Titans could be in the same situation as the Bengals were during the 2021 draft has circulated through fans’ minds. 

“When all things are equal, guys that can score touchdowns tend to make more of an impact.”, said Callahan at his availability during the 2024 Combine. At the time, the positions were considered equal in terms of need. That’s no longer the case. And if the Titans were to still gamble on the success of a stacked receiving core, they would miss on the rare opportunity to grab an elite OT prospect.

Knowing if your quarterback is *the* guy or not is the biggest step the Titans have to take during the 2024 season, and for Brian Callahan three years ago, the decision was much easier to make with Joe Burrow at the helm. 

Will Levis, entering his sophomore season, isn’t exactly in the same boat as Joe Burrow was in 2021. That’s not to say he can’t prove himself, but the 2024 season will be the true test for the University of Kentucky prospect. Creating a baseline for him is the biggest priority, and while adding Nabers would make the Titans more explosive, it doesn’t fix the problem that has plagued Tennessee since 2021. 

The Titans have struggled to find the long-term solution at left tackle for a while now. From the unfortunate injury of Taylor Lewan, to the turnstiles of Dennis Daley and Andre Dillard. The Titans’ addition of Bill Callahan can alleviate some of the concerns, but the crop of tackles in the second round (Patrick Paul, Tyler Guyton, Kingsley Suamataia) wouldn’t be guarantees at the next level. Selecting a Joe Alt or Olu Fashanu with the seventh pick would not only give Levis the security to succeed, but it would be the safer bet for the Titans to compete in 2025 and beyond.

Author: JT Ruhnke

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