CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Barring any move to trade up, Tennessee Titans fans will have to sit and wonder about the possibilities for extensive time this evening.
But at least it will be an interesting wait.
The quarterback frenzy at the top half of the NFL Draft has not yet commenced, and the big stage’s host city has been abuzz with fresh rumors for hours.
First, former quarterback/baseball player/current celebrity Tim Tebow reportedly worked out for the Jaguars as a tight end. Next, reports surfaced that Green Bay Packers’ prolific quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who gashed the Titans in a game this past December, reportedly wants to take his talents elsewhere.
The Titans presumably won’t make moves that will send those types of shockwaves across the NFL, but general manager Job Robinson, the rest of the front office and coach Mike Vrabel will take what they believe is the next step toward improving their football team with their first pick. Last year at this time, the Titans thought they had their right tackle of the future, selecting Isaiah Wilson at No. 29. From start to finish, Wilson proved to be a bust after one run-in with trouble after the other.
The Titans have plenty of needs to address. And plenty of time before they pick.
So, follow along with as we chronicle the path to the 22nd pick.
(7:30 p.m. CDT): The 2021 NFL Draft is officially open. Rodger Goodell took the stage to a resounding chorus of " !" Not long after, the Jacksonville Jaguars unsurprisingly selected Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall draft pick. The Titans will have to face the most heralded quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning twice per season for at least the next four years. Ironic that Lawrence is from Knoxville, Tennessee, where Manning had a standout career at the University of Tennessee. He's the third Clemson quarterback selected in the first round of the draft since 1967 and the first player in program history to be chosen No. 1 overall in the common-draft era.
(7:41, CDT): The 49ers make quarterback Trey Lance the third overall pick, and the third straight quarterback chosen after Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville) and Zach Wilson (N.Y. Jets). Lance, out of North Dakota State, has drawn comparisons to Titans great Steve McNair, who was taken third overall in 1995. Then-Titans general manager Floyd Reese targeted McNair in the run-up to that draft and breathed a sigh of relief when running back Ki-Jana Carter (Cincinnati) and tackle Tony Boselli (Jacksonville) went first and second, respectively. Years later, Reese recalled that moments after he took McNair a number of other NFL general managers called to congratulate him on such a bold and risky pick, which shook his confidence and made him question why others considered it risky. Of course, it turned out to be the right decision.
(7:57, CDT): Former Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who became Atlanta Falcons head coach in January, has added another weapon to an already explosive offense. At No. 4, the Falcons drafted Kyle Pitts, who has been tabbed by many as one of the top, if not the top tight end prospect in NFL history. Smith is going to have plenty of fun dreaming up ways to get the athletic 6-foot-6, 245-pounder the football. In addition to Pitts, the Falcons have wide receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Of course, Matt Ryan, a four-time Pro Bowler and 2018 NFL MVP, will be happy with this draft pick too.
(8:04, CDT): ESPN's Louis Riddick just compared J'Marr Chase to Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown. Riddick said the newest Cincinnati Bengal compares to the two-time Pro Bowler in run-after-catch ability and route running. Both pass-catchers also compare in height at 6-foot-0 but play a lot larger than that.
(8:18, CDT): It has been a tale of quarterbacks and pass catchers so far, but the first defensive player is off the board. The Carolina Panthers selected South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn with the No. 8 overall pick.
(8:26, CDT): Two cornerbacks in a row. The Broncos select Alabama's Patrick Surtain, who many believed would go before Horn. One of the Titans' biggest needs is cornerback. Now that Horn and Surtain are off the board, here are some of the best available options: Caleb Farley (Virginia Tech), Asante Samuel Jr. (Flordia State), Tyson Campbell (Georgia).
(8:32, CDT): First trade of the draft. Dallas trades the No. 10 overall pick to its most heated rival, Philadelphia. In turn, the Eagles selected Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith, who won the Heisman Trophy this past January. Dallas now holds the No. 12 slot.
(8:39, CDT): Wide receivers have gone at a quick rate, as expected. However, there are still plenty of solid late-round options for the Titans, who have a huge need at the slot position.
Best available WRs: Elijah Moore (Ole Miss), Rashod Bateman (Minnesota), Rondale Moore (Purdue), Kadarius Toney (Flordia).
(8:51, CDT): The Bears traded a massive haul of picks, including a 2022 first-rounder, to the Giants for the No. 11 overall pick. They used that to draft Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. Of the four quarterbacks drafted so far, the Titans are scheduled to play all of them this season except Fields.
(9:01, CDT): There goes the second offensive lineman. Rashawn Slater, the offensive tackle who played collegiately at Northwestern, goes to the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 13. The Titans will presumably be in play for a tackle sooner than later in this draft after the Wilson fiasco last season. A few names to watch: Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State), Christian Darrisaw (Virginia Tech), Samuel Cosmi (Texas).
(9:04, CDT): All of the top edge rushers remain on the board. What happens if Michigan's Kwity Paye falls into Titans' territory?
(9:15, CDT): The Patriots select Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. The Titans are scheduled to play New England this season. If Jones is the starter over former NFL MVP Cam Newton, the Titans will face four of the five top quarterbacks taken in this draft.
(9:20, CDT): Some Titans fans had high hopes that the team would draft Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins. The Arizona Cardinals just dashed those hopes.
(9:29, CDT): Getting closer. The Titans are three picks away, and the Miami Dolphins just snagged a potential prospect. They drafted Miami defensive end Jaelan Phillips.
(9:32, CDT): Who is still left? Here are the best available players as the Titans' pick looms: Kwity Paye (DE, Michigan) Caleb Farley (CB, Va. Tech), Azeez Ojulari (OLB, Georgia), Christian Darrisaw (OT, Va. Tech), Greg Newsome (CB, Northwestern), Elijah Moore (WR, Ole Miss), Rashod Bateman (WR, Minnesota) and more. The Titans seemingly will have options....
(9: 40, CDT): Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney goes to the New York Giants. With the Titans one pick away, top receivers include Elijah Moore (Ole Miss), Rondale Moore (Purdue), Bateman (Minnesota). But with so many talented edge rushers and cornerbacks on the board, selecting a wide receiver may be a day-two task now.
(9:49): The Indianapolis Colts, at No. 21, select Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye. The Titans can go in numerous directions here. There is so much talent for them to chose from at seemingly every position of need.
(10:00, CDT): The Titans select Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley, who is one of the biggest question marks of this draft. According to an earlier report from NFL Network's Tom Peliserro and Ian Rapoport, Farley has been dealing with a back injury for more than two years. He has had two surgeries since he last played a game in 2019. The Titans made a similar first-round decision two years ago, drafting defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, who needed knee surgery ahead of the NFL draft in 2019.
Farley is arguably the best cornerback in the draft and the Titans did not want to let the opportunity go to waste. After an offseason in which the secondary underwent a dramatic overhaul, they get a potential No. 1 corner. But Farley's health will be the biggest concern for many.