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One of the biggest stories of the first round of the NFL Draft was Kentucky quarterback Will Levis. Expected to be selected in the first round, possibly the Top 5, no team picked him Thursday. He chose not to attend the second round, even though the Tennessee Titans selected him almost immediately.
Of course, because it’s 2023, memes of Will Levis, his girlfriend and his sister are all over social media.
“Poor Will Levis, suffering public humiliation in front of a massive national audience,” people thought.
There’s no question that the former Kentucky quarterback had an embarrassing weekend. But when he eventually looks back on the 2023 NFL Draft, Will Levis will realize that everything worked out for the best.
It’s hard to see that now. All of the tweets and articles are taking pity on — or making fun of — him. Really though, he is incredibly lucky.
The embarrassment is tough, but Will Levis enters a perfect scenario with the Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans could have selected Will Levis in the first round of the NFL Draft. It’s quite surprising that they didn’t.
Instead, they used the #11 selection on offensive lineman Peter Skoronski. Skoronski was one of four sure-fire first round offensive linemen. He’s not a player the Titans would have gotten later.
I’m sure Levis wishes Tennessee had drafted him with that #11 pick. But they didn’t and he should be thankful.
As a second-round pick, people don’t expect him to start right away. The team has Ryan Tannehill and Tannehill enters the season as the starter. Had they picked Levis in the first round, most would anticipate Tennessee to try and trade Tannehill.
Or, there would be a lot of pressure on the team to force Levis in ahead of the veteran quarterback. Instead, Levis comes in as the clear backup. In fact, head coach Mike Vrabel says Levis is currently third-string.
Now, that’s not a lie but it’s also a bit of a misnomer. Make no mistake: Will Levis is QB2 for the Tennessee Titans.
And that’s perfect for him. Levis is not a finished product. But, unlike Colts first-round pick Anthony Richardson — another raw prospect — the team and fans won’t expect Levis to start in Week 1.
Levis starts his career with a mentor, something a lot of young quarterbacks don’t get these days
Not only that, but the young QB can learn from Ryan Tannehill. And, Tannehill makes a great mentor for Levis. They are similar players: athletic quarterbacks with big arms who enter the NFL as a bit unpolished.
Many people compared Levis to Zach Wilson. And that assessment isn’t too far off. But unlike Wilson, who was picked #2 and thrust into action as a potential “Savior” for the New York Jets, Levis isn’t going to be viewed that way.
Plus, the Titans used their first round pick on an offensive lineman who can help Levis when he eventually takes over the starting job. Likely next season, since Tannehill only has one guaranteed year left on his contract.
He also goes to a well-run organization. Tennessee missed the playoffs last season for the first time in three seasons. They’ve made the postseason in four of the past five seasons. Mike Vrabel is a steadying presence at head coach.
And although Levis didn’t cost the team a first-round pick, they still used enough draft capital on him — trading two third round picks to move up — to warrant making sure they give him every chance to succeed.
And the team used all six of its 2023 NFL Draft picks on offensive players. They’re committed to improving their offense and all the young guys will have time to develop before Levis takes over.
It might not feel like it right now, but Will Levis is a big-time winner of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak