Tennessee Titans eye Ryan Tannehill's eventual successor in NFL draft

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Tennessee Titans have been very forward with their commitment to quarterback Ryan Tannehill in 2022 despite his three interceptions in their shocking divisional-round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Although the team is content with Tannehill as the quarterback, general manager Jon Robinson is well aware of the need to eventually draft a quarterback of the future.

The Titans have already met with Nevada quarterback Carson Strong and North Carolina's Sam Howell at the NFL scouting combine. They also have a formal meeting scheduled with Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder in the coming days. This year could provide that future signal-caller for Tennessee.

"There's some in certain drafts that are way out of our reach because they're going to go in the top three or four picks and we pick in the back part of the first round," Robinson said. "We are trying to find those guys that may be within striking distance that may not come in and unseat, but that we see a future for."

The Titans got a first-hand look at Ridder during the week of Senior Bowl practices last month. Ridder is considered to be a late first-round to second-round prospect in this year's draft.

Coincidentally, Ridder is a big fan of Tannehill's game and sees similarities in their skill set.

"He's a great game manager," Ridder said. "His energy and passion that he brings to the game. I see a lot of similarities myself, being able to stay under control. His leadership and how he's been able to bring teams together. Also, he's able to extend plays. That's huge in today's game."

Committing to Tannehill comes at a great cost as he will hold a $38.6 million cap number this season. Tannehill slightly regressed last season, especially when it comes to taking care of the football. His 14 interceptions in 2021 were more than the total (13) from his first two seasons combined as the Titans' starting quarterback.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel mentioned Tannehill's leadership and toughness as primary reasons why he believes in his current quarterback. Vrabel and the Titans are focused on being great around Tannehill. But they also want him to elevate the play of those around him.

"Any quarterback in this league has to be able to do that," Vrabel said. "Get us in the right play and be decisive with the football. Deliver the ball under duress in the pocket and protect the football. Those are things that we'll always ask of Ryan [Tannehill] or whoever is back there."

The AFC is stocked with top-level quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills, Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals and Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens. The Titans' last two seasons ended with losses to Burrow and Jackson respectively.

Tannehill will turn 34 years old when he takes the field in training camp, and the Titans could get out of his contract after next season.