Titans trade up to select QB Will Levis with 33rd overall pick

Field Level Media

April 29, 2023 at 12:38 am.

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis waited through the entire first round of the NFL draft without hearing his name called.

The wait was much shorter during Friday’s second round in Kansas City, Mo., as the Tennessee Titans traded up to grab Levis with the second pick of the night and 33rd selection overall.

The Titans traded their second-round (41st overall) and third-round (No. 72) picks in this draft and a 2024 third-round selection to the Arizona Cardinals for the pick used on Levis and a third-round pick (81st overall).

Levis was pleased that the Titans ended his wait as the thought of playing in Nashville was appealing.

“I told myself I wouldn’t fall in love with anybody throughout this process, because I knew I really didn’t have a say in the matter,” Levis told reporters. “But if there was one team I did, it was definitely Tennessee.”

Levis, 24, had consistency and turnover issues during the last two seasons while starting at Kentucky but his arm has impressed pro scouts and talent evaluators. Levis passed for 5,232 yards, 43 touchdowns and 23 interceptions for the Wildcats.

The Titans’ decision to trade up comes one year after they selected Malik Willis of Liberty in the third round. Willis looked overmatched late last season when he was forced into action after Ryan Tannehill’s ankle injury.

Tannehill turns 35 in July so a game plan in which the organization looks to plug in Levis as the starter in the near future is certainly realistic.

Levis, though, is more concerned with fitting in well in the Titans’ quarterback room.

“They have been in the NFL a lot longer than I have,” Levis said of Tannehill and Willis. “Malik has already played a year. So they have a lot more experience and will be able to teach me a lot of things. I just want to be great teammates with them and great teammates with everybody else on the team while competing at the same time.”

Immediately before Levis was picked, the Pittsburgh Steelers opened the second round by picking Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr., the son of former Pittsburgh star Joey Porter Sr. The younger Porter was viewed as a first-round talent by many observers.

The elder Porter played the first eight seasons (1999-2006) of his stellar 13-year career with Pittsburgh. He made three Pro Bowls with the Steelers and posted 60 of his 98 career sacks in the Steel City.

After Levis was picked, the Detroit Lions and the Las Vegas Raiders both selected tight ends. Detroit tabbed Sam LaPorta of Iowa while the Raiders acquired the 35th overall pick from the Indianapolis Colts to choose Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer.

The Green Bay Packers picked Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave with the 42nd overall pick, which they received from the New York Jets this week as part of the Aaron Rodgers trade.

Alabama safety Brian Branch, another player who was on site Thursday night without being tabbed, went 45th to the Lions.

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker is still on the board but could hear his name later in the second round.

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