Fast-rising Tulsa OT Tyler Smith could be Tennessee target in First Round

2022 NFL draft

Trouble could be looming along the Tennessee Titans’ offensive line, particularly its offensive tackles.

Consider this line from The Tennessean: “The Titans could be in the offensive tackle market with the futures of Taylor Lewan, a cap-casualty candidate, and David Quessenberry, a pending restricted free agent, uncertain to return to an O-line that regressed in pass protection.”

Luckily, Tennessee already addressed one of those tackle spots after taking Dillon Radunz in the second round last year out of North Dakota State. The 6-foot-6, 301-pound Radunz had his usually ups-and-downs as a rookie, but he appeared to have earned more playing, especially with his performance against San Francisco and feared pass rusher Nick Bosa.

So, at the very least, Radunz should start next season ahead of Quessenberry, who Fansided’s TitanSized said was “… so bad this season that either the Titans coaches aren’t watching him or they don’t care.”

But if Lewan, who will be 31 next season, is indeed a cap casualty, then the Titans may be drafting their second first-round OT in three years. (Remember, 2020 first-round OT Isaiah Wilson was an all-time bust for Tennessee).

The question is, will a tackle still be available late in the first round?

There are currently 5 OTs ranked in the most-recent Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board, including Alabama’s Evan Neal (No. 4), North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu (No. 8), Mississippi State’s Charles Cross (No. 11) and Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning (No. 21).

The fifth OT is a fast-riser and surprise entrant in the 2022 NFL draft: Tulsa’s Tyler Smith. The 6-foot-6, 332-pound redshirt sophomore is expected to wow scouts during the week of Senior Bowl practices. He’s currently the No. 14 overall prospect in the Rigdon big board.

Here’s what a scout texted Walter Football’s Charlie Campbell: “If Tyler Smith blows up his combine and workouts, he could go top 10. He’s more gifted than the other offensive tackles in this class besides the N.C. State kid. Smith is 6-foot-5, 325 pounds with 34-plus-inch arms. As violent as he plays and the fact he can play guard also, I could see someone pushing him up because he’s only 20 and smart also. He’ll hover (around) bottom 1/early 2 until workouts and then we’ll see how he handles (the) process.”

 

Click here to see Tennessee’s latest seven-round mock draft.


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