For the first time since they took eventual Hall of Famer Earl Campbell in 1978, the Tennessee Titans hold the first pick in the NFL draft. But in an era dominated by the pass, teams desperate for quarterbacks are best-suited to hold the top selection. In fact, 11 of the last 15 first overall picks have been quarterbacks.
The Titans, however, do not need a quarterback. They drafted Marcus Mariota out of Oregon in the first round last year and it appears Mariota is well on his way to becoming a franchise pivot in Nashville.
That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see new Titans general manager Jon Robinson suggest earlier this week that the Titans might be willing to part with the top selection.
Robinson: "We will look at any and all offers that come this way" for No. 1 pick. #Titans
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) January 18, 2016
The only two occasions on which No. 1 overall picks were traded this century, quarterbacks were selected by the team that jumped into the top spot, with Michael Vick going to Atlanta after a deal with San Diego in 2001 and Eli Manning going to the Giants after a deal with the Chargers in 2004 (although that wasn’t consummated until after the pick was made).
But this is a weird year because there might not be a completely clear-cut top quarterback prospect, making it harder for Tennessee to sell off the top pick. Unless somebody falls head over heels for a guy like Jared Goff and is convinced the Cleveland Browns will take him second overall, there might not be much incentive.
Of course, it’s also possible the Titans draw interest from those salivating over Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, whom many consider to be the most talented prospect in this year’s class. But you’d also have to think that Bosa would make great sense for Tennessee if indeed Robinson can’t fetch what he’s hoping for on the trade market.
And recent history indicates he’ll have trouble. The top pick hasn’t moved in any of the last 11 drafts.