The Titans use No. 7 pick in NFL draft on Alabama offensive tackle JC Latham

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans hope they finally have fixed at least one tackle spot by taking JC Latham of Alabama with the seventh pick overall in the NFL draft on Thursday night.

Yes, Latham will start out at left tackle alongside left guard Peter Skoronski — Tennessee's top pick a year ago.

First-year coach Brian Callahan said not many people walk this earth that are as big as Latham at 6-foot-6 and 342 pounds while also being able to move well.

He called Latham a really unique player and can't wait to see him along side Skoronski and center Lloyd Cushenberry III, who was signed in free agency.

“He makes us a physically imposing really left side of our offensive line when you put him with Peter and Cush and those guys,” Callahan said of Latham. "And we’ve kind of taken some nice steps in the really improving that unit.”

General manager Ran Carthon said the Titans got “a ton” of calls from teams looking to move up. They knew who was going to be available at No. 7.

"We just let those teams know that unless it was an offer that was going to blow us away, it wasn’t worth making a move,” Carthon said.

That's because the Titans gave up 64 sacks in 2023. Only Carolina, Washington and the Giants allowed more, and the Titans have to protect quarterback Will Levis better with him as their starter going into his second season.

Carthon had thought Andre Dillard could anchor the Titans’ offensive line, signing him to a three-year deal in March 2023. But Dillard couldn’t hold onto the left tackle job as the Titans wound up starting four different players at that spot in a 6-11 season that cost coach Mike Vrabel his job.

Dillard was cut earlier this offseason.

The Titans also started three different players at right tackle last season with Nicholas Petit-Frere suspended to start the season. Skoronski started 14 games at left guard after being the No. 11 pick overall.

Latham started at right tackle the past two seasons for the Crimson Tide, who lost to eventual national champ Michigan in the national semifinals. Latham was an AP All-SEC player in 2023. Latham spent two hours with offensive line coach Bill Callahan when he visited Tennessee.

Callahan said his father liked Latham a lot with his power, athleticism and ability to anchor with “gigantic hands.” Carthon told reporters to be sure to shake hands with Latham when the Titans introduce him in Nashville on Friday.

Asked to show off his hands on a Zoom call from Detroit and the NFL draft with reporters in Nashville, Latham held up his right hand measured at 11 inches for the NFL. Bill Callahan also made clear to Latham that the Titans would put him at left tackle if they drafted him.

"That was the expectation, you know I was athletic enough to get the job done,” Latham said.

The Titans also signed wide receiver Calvin Ridley in free agency, adding him to DeAndre Hopkins who had 1,057 yards receiving last season in his first year with Tennessee. Now Callahan's job is giving Levis more time to throw for an offense that ranked 29th in the NFL in averaging 180.4 yards passing a game.

“If we can keep our quarterback on his feet, we’re going to have a better chance to get those guys the ball," Callahan said. "And from where we are now, what we needed? It was a perfect fit.”