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Titans trade up with Cardinals to select Kentucky QB Will Levis at No. 33 overall in 2023 NFL Draft

Tennessee has chosen its potential successor to Ryan Tannehill.

The Titans selected Kentucky quarterback Will Levis with the 33rd overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft on Friday. Tennessee sent the 41st and 72nd picks, plus a 2024 third-round selection, to Arizona to move up to No. 33, adding the 81st pick in the deal.

The strong-armed quarterback was one of the most polarizing prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, sporting big-time traits but inconsistent on-field performances. Amid uncertainty regarding his potential at the NFL level, Levis embarked on a Day 1 slide, waiting in the green room in Kansas City, Missouri, through the entire first round without hearing his name called.

It didn't take long for Levis to hear it on Day 2.

Levis boasts ideal size, with a big arm, sturdy frame and plus-athleticism that translates well to the NFL. But his tape was also littered with questionable decision-making and accuracy questions.

After three years at Penn State, Levis transferred to Kentucky, where he spent two seasons as the full-time starter, putting up 5,233 yards, 43 touchdowns and 23 interceptions in 24 games with the Wildcats.

However, it was a tale of two seasons in Lexington. In his first campaign under then-offensive coordinator Liam Coen, with a solid cast around him, Levis shined, showing off his big arm while leading the Wildcats to 10 wins and 31.8 points per game. With Coen gone, Year 2 at Kentucky under Rich Scangarello was a different story. Levis struggled game to game, and warts began to show.

The 23-year-old enters the NFL with starter-level skills, a cannon for an arm, experience running a pro-style system and competitive fire. He must improve his accuracy and fix ball-security issues to succeed in his rookie campaign.

It's expected he'll receive ample time to work on those weaknesses in Nashville, where he arrives as a backup to the veteran Tannehill, who is entering the final year of his existing contract in 2023.

Tennessee's selection of Levis makes it two straight drafts in which the Titans spent a Day 2 pick on a quarterback. Former Titans general manager Jon Robinson used a third-round choice to select Liberty quarterback Malik Willis in 2022, but the raw quarterback struggled when given chances to play in place of Tannehill.

New GM Ran Carthon is attempting to answer Tennessee's lingering question at the position by selecting Levis.

The Titans continued to load up for the future on Friday night, selecting Tulane running back Tyjae Spears with the 81st pick.

Spears arrives as an ideal complement to Derrick Henry, displaying effortless change of direction and elusiveness that becomes even more dangerous at the second level. His best attribute is arguably his balance, which is remarkable when viewed live. With the bulldozing Henry still leading the way for now, Spears fits in a tandem role as a ball-carrier who was incredibly consistent at Tulane, can make a man miss and might eventually take over for Henry.

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