Draft Grades: What They’re Saying About the Titans Draft Class

Draft Grades What They're Saying About the Titans Draft Class

NASHVILLE – The draft picks are in, six of them in all:

  • Northwestern OT Peter Skoronski (No. 11 overall)
  • Kentucky QB Will Levis (No. 33)
  • Tulane RB Tyjae Spears (No. 81)
  • Cincinnati TE Josh Whyle (No. 147)
  • Maryland OT Jaelyn Duncan (No. 186)
  • Tennessee-Martin WR Colton Dowell (No. 228)

And now, the draft grades are also in.

Here’s a look at how some of the analysts graded the 2023 NFL Draft for the Titans:

Mel Kiper, ESPN
Overall grade: B-plus.
“The synopsis is: I’m a believer in Will Levis (33). I think he will be Tennessee’s starting quarterback, maybe even as soon as this season. He has all the tools to be a longtime starter in the NFL, and I was stunned he lasted into Round 2. Does he have flaws? Absolutely. He was downright reckless at times last season, trusting his strong arm to fit throws into tight spaces but instead getting picked off. He took too many sacks. But he has a high ceiling, and I think he could thrive with pro talent around him.”

Chad Reuther, NFL.com
Overall grade: A-minus.
Day 1 grade: A
Day 2 grade: A-
Day 3 grade: C
Skoronski is a great fit in Tennessee. He has a Zack Martin-type ceiling inside and has the versatility to play tackle if needed. Trading up for Levis, despite his inconsistency, was not outrageous given that Ryan Tannehill’s contract is scheduled to void after the 2023 season, per Over the Cap. I expect Spears to be a valuable contributor, despite his lack of an ACL.
The Titans parted with fourth- and sixth-round picks for receivers Julio Jones and Robert Woods in trades from previous years. Whyle was a good find in the fifth, though, as a potential threat in the red zone and intermediate passing game. The team hopes Duncan can use his athleticism more consistently as he matures.

Pro Football Focus
Overall grade: A.
Day 1: The big question is whether Skoronski will play tackle or guard at the next level. He played tackle in 2022, though, and had a tremendous season. As Northwestern’s starting left tackle this past season, he allowed just six total pressures on 474 pass-blocking snaps.
Day 2: Will Levis’ slide ends early on Day 2, with the Titans trading up to Pick 33 to grab the signal-caller. Levis has supreme arm talent and an ultra-quick release, but the big knock on him is how little he put that into action. He lacked high-quality throws at Kentucky last season, which played a part in his middling 65.8 passing grade on the year. The good news is that Levis lands in an offense that will help open up some downfield opportunities.
Spears profiles as a nice complement to Derrick Henry in Tennessee’s backfield. He is dangerous in the open field and is coming off an elite final season at Tulane during which he forced 63 missed tackles on the ground. Spears averaged at least 4.5 yards after contact per attempt in each of the past two seasons.
Day 3: After letting Austin Hooper walk in free agency, Tennessee adds another option at tight end to complement Chigoziem Okonkwo. Whyle has a big frame at 6-foot-7 and will find space over the middle of the field as a receiver, but he isn’t likely going to be a physical, in-line blocker at 248 pounds.
Duncan has good footwork but can play a bit top-heavy, often struggling to anchor with not enough sand in the pants. He struggles against power, as the big Michigan ends pushed him around a bit, but he’s a great athlete in space and fits very well in this Titans zone scheme. Tennessee has done well to overhaul their offensive line that was desperate for improvements.
Dowell is big at 6-foot-3 and earned an 85.2 receiving grade in 2022 with 15.3 yards per reception and 3.00 yards per route run. He’s an explosive downfield threat for Tennessee and stays in-state, adding much-needed depth to the Titans’ wide receiver room.

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
Overall grade: A-minus.
This is an incredible offense-only haul for new GM Ran Carthon. Although some minor docking for no wide receiver of note, they hacked away at improving their offensive line and adding a couple needed new versatile playmakers at the same time for their new franchise QB. They had to be thrilled to get a shot at Levis in Round 2 as they try to move forward from Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis. Dowell is a good developmental big vertical threat for Levis’ cannon arm.

Nate Davis, USA Today
Overall grade: C-minus.
They filled a need with a quality player, first-rounder Peter Skoronski arguably this year’s best blocking prospect, before “rescuing” a quarterback in free fall for the second straight draft – moving up for QB Will Levis with the second pick of the second round, a selection that speaks volumes about last year’s Round 3 investment in Malik Willis. The Titans still don’t seem recovered from the 2022 draft trade of WR A.J. Brown and don’t appear any closer to replacing him.

Danny Kelly, The Ringer
Overall grade: A-minus.
The Titans were widely connected to quarterback Will Levis in the first round, and while I was never super high on the former Kentucky quarterback, the fact that Tennessee landed him in the second round feels like a fantastic value. Levis has the tools and toughness to develop into a quality starter, and now he won’t face the same pressure to start right away he would have felt if he had been a first rounder—and that could be a silver lining to his unexpected fall. Additionally, Tennessee was able to land a high-level pass protector in the first round instead, which could give Levis better support down the line. All in all, that series of events looks like a pretty positive outcome for a Tennessee team at a pivot point in 2023. I am also a fan of the team’s third-round running back pick, Tyjae Spears, who adds a lightning element to Derrick Henry’s thunder.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
Overall grade: B.
Best Pick: Yes, it’s taking Will Levis in the second round. They made the move up to go get him, which was the right thing to do. He had a rough first night, but this is a great spot for him to sit behind Ryan Tannehill. He has the talent to be a big-time passer in the league — no matter what the masses think.
Worst Pick: I like third-round running back Tyjae Spears, but he has some injury issues and I think they had more pressing needs. Spears will be a nice change of pace back to Derrick Henry, but it seems like a luxury pick for the Titans.
The Skinny: Getting offensive lineman Peter Skoronski in the first round and Levis in the second were good picks. Skoronski can be an All-Pro, while Levis has the tools to be a big-time starter. The rest of their draft didn’t wow me, but sixth-round tackle Jaelyn Duncan has talent. This is a draft that will be defined by Levis.

Teddy Ricketson, DraftKings
Overall grade: C.
The Titans’ draft looks a lot like their outlook in the 2023 season: meh. Skoronski is a solid addition and should at least help the offensive line improve, as it’s tasked with blocking for Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill. Levis is a fine choice in the second but it practically means that Malik Willis doesn’t have a future here. Spears has talent, but it’s hard to see him take over for Henry down the line. It could be argued that Skoronski, Whyle and Duncan are the best picks in this draft, and two of them came after 146 other players were taken.

Walter Football
Overall grade: A-minus.
Goals Entering the 2023 NFL Draft: The Titans are in a complete rebuild. They lost their three best offensive linemen and a talented linebacker this offseason. There are talks of them trading Derrick Henry and Kevin Byard as well. Tennessee has to find a new franchise quarterback and acquire new pieces for the future, which includes a starting receiver, several blockers and a successor for Henry.
2023 NFL Draft Accomplishments: It appears as though the Titans agree that they are in a complete rebuild. Two of their first three selections were used on players who will potentially replace their backfield tandem of Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. Tennessee traded up for Will Levis in the second round to be the successor for Tannehill. I’m not a fan of Levis as a prospect because of his horrible accuracy and lack of touch, but he was at least worth a gamble in the second fame. Henry’s replacement, meanwhile, could be Tyjae Spears, taken in the third round. Spears is a talented back, but has no ACL in one knee, so his career could be brief.
Of course, it doesn’t matter who the quarterback and running back are if there’s no offensive line in front of them. That’s where the first-round pick comes in, as Peter Skoronski has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowl guard over the next decade. Sixth-round pick Jaelyn Duncan, meanwhile, is raw, but has very high upside. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if he develops into a starting left tackle.
Aside from the Spears pick – and only because of his worrisome knee – I’m a fan of what the Titans accomplished in the 2023 NFL Draft. They’re officially in their rebuild, but it’s a promising start to a new era at the very least.

Andrew Erickson, Fantasy Pros
Overall grade: B-plus.
The Titans’ OL needed some fine-tuning after going under a massive overhaul at the start of the offseason. I like the fit of Peter Skoronski whether the Titans play him at guard or at tackle. Tennesse also addressed their glaring hole at quarterback by selecting Will Levis at the top of the second round. They traded up with Arizona for essentially the cost of a 2024 third-round pick. Great value for a quarterback, whether Levis hits or not. When a healthy Levis played in an NFL-style offense under former Rams offensive coordinator Liam Coen in 2021, the Kentucky product finished as PFF’s 10th-highest-graded QB in the Power Five.
The Titans tied a bow on Day 2 with the selection of RB Tyjae Spears. Spears gives the Titans a solid backup option for Derrick Henry, but I’d be wary about his long-term prospects. He was projected to go higher than 83rd overall but fell because of worrisome issues concerning the health of his knees.
On Day 3, I was not a huge fan of the Titans drafting Jaelyn Duncan. Among the 2023 tackle class, no player allowed more blown pass blocks per game than Duncan. With 33″ inch arms (13th percentile) and pass protection issues, he might struggle.

Shaun Calderon, Titans Wire
Overall grade: C-plus.
The Tennessee Titans reached the conclusion of the much-anticipated 2023 NFL draft on Saturday, where the team made its final three picks after selecting three players in the two days prior.
This year’s results were polarizing with fans and media alike, to say the least. I absolutely loved the Round 1 pick of Peter Skoronski, who was one of seven blue-chip players I had graded this year regardless of position.
Unfortunately, after that is where things started to get controversial.
Tennessee clearly believes that former Kentucky quarterback Will Levis is capable of becoming the future of their franchise.
To be fair, the Titans walked away with a fantastic trade that, in my opinion, could look like a steal a few years from now if everything goes according to plan.
But as of now, it’s currently far from a certainty that things will pan out that way.
Over the next three picks in rounds three, five, and six, Tennessee went with a talented running back, a versatile tight end and a steal of an offensive lineman.
Sadly, these additions came at the cost of ignoring their most glaring need at wide receiver. In fact, they didn’t address the position until the No. 228 overall pick, where they selected small-school standout, Colton Dowell.
This is the type of draft class that may not make much sense at the moment, but a few years from now we could look back on this as a franchise-altering weekend if things go how the Titans hope, and in particular, when it comes to Levis’ development.
This could be one of those classes that doesn’t age well at all. Only time tell, but for now, I’ll give this class an average grade.

Ben Arthur, FOX Sports
Overall grade: C-plus.
The Titans focused on offense as they needed to — all six selections addressed that side of the ball, in fact — but it’s a head-scratcher that they waited until their last pick, in the seventh round, to address arguably their biggest need: wide receiver. Colton Dowell might not even make the team. Tennessee still has a lot of work to do at that position.

Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post
Overall grade: A-minus.
Key Picks: Peter Skoronski (OL, Northwestern), Will Levis (QB, Kentucky), Tyjae Spears (RB, Tulane)
Analysis: Some teams foolishly let Skoronski’s short arms steer them away from the best offensive lineman in the class. The big-armed Levis — projected to go as high as No. 4 overall by some experts — could follow Jalen Hurts’ footsteps as a second-round steal in line to start in 2024.

Eddie Brown, San Diego Union Tribune
Overall grade: C-plus.
Notable undrafted free agents: John Ojukwu, OT, Boise State; Caleb Murphy, Edge, Ferris State.
The lowdown: As much as I like Skoronski and rookie GM Ran Carthon landing Levis in the second round — the Titans would have likely selected the Kentucky QB at No. 11 if their tackle wasn’t still on the board — I’m mildly shocked they didn’t draft a single wide receiver.

Matt Vanderame, Sports Illustrated
Overall grade: B-plus.
Analysis: In general manager Ran Carthon’s first draft, he found a litany of offensive pieces for the future. Skoronski will play either at tackle or guard, and either way replaces a veteran in Taylor Lewan or Nate Davis. In the second round, Levis’s slide finally ended, and he will now sit behind Ryan Tannehill for a year while he learns the pro game. Spears should immediately form a dynamic duo with Derrick Henry in the backfield, giving Tennessee a back with wiggle and great balance. Finally, Duncan is a sleeper from Maryland who could end up starting down the line.

Rob Maaddi, Associated Press
Overall grade: B-plus.
Took OL Peter Skoronski over Levis at No. 11 and ended up with the QB anyway in the second round. Added RB Tyjae Spears, TE Josh Whyle, OT Jaelyn Duncan and WR Colton Dowell in an all-offense draft.

Ryan Gosling, Pro Football Network
Overall grade: B-plus.
The Tennessee Titans didn’t have a lot of draft capital to work with, meaning they needed to do the most with what they had. Adding Peter Skoronski and Will Levis is something that I’m confident nobody would have thought possible a week ago, and adding Tyjae Spears to be the lightning to Derrick Henry’s thunder is a solid complement. Jaelyn Duncan is one of my favorite picks of the entire draft because of the Titans’ needs along the offensive line and his upside.

Dane Brugler, The Athletic
Analysis: Brugler does rankings instead of grade, and he ranked the Titans 14th.
Favorite pick: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
Levis is a complicated evaluation for a lot of different reasons. To land him outside the first round, though? That is well worth it because he has all the necessary skill set to start games in the NFL. His ceiling is a question mark, but he has all the physical tools necessary plus the intelligence and toughness that his coaches will appreciate.
Day 3 pick who could surprise: Jaelyn Duncan, OT, Maryland
Honestly, I wasn’t too fired up about any of the three players that the Titans added on Day 3. I’ll go with Duncan because he has talent and the Titans need offensive line help, making this an intriguing fit if everything falls into place. Several scouts had questions about Duncan’s consistency on and off the field, and it didn’t help that his worst games in 2022 all came versus his best opponents. But in the sixth round, the risk is worth the potential reward.as

Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire
Overall grade: B.
The addition of Peter Skoronski combines best player available and positional need quite well. I’m not sure whether Skoronski will be an NFL tackle, but if the Titans kick him inside to guard, I think he could be the next Zack Martin. And Tulane’s Tyjae Spears is a personal favorite — few prospects in this class were more fun to watch, and with his power, contact balance, and ability as a receiver, Spears is more than just a smaller gadget guy. He could be another Austin Ekeler. Maryland’s Jaelyn Duncan went about where he should have as a monstrously gifted blocker with all kinds of technical work ahead of him.
The extent to which you deem Tennessee’s draft an eventual success is how the Titans hit on Will Levis, who they traded up to take early in the second round. Levis is a power thrower with plus athleticism, but the accuracy and decision-making are below par. I thought that Levis had third-round tape, but we’ll see if the Titans can give him the offensive structure and defined reads he’ll need to succeed over time.

Warren Sharp, Sharp Football Analysis
Sharp doesn’t provide grades, but ranking system listed the Titans with the sixth-best draft.

Source: TennesseeTitans.com


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