The Titans can trace much of their current success to the decision they made before the 2016 NFL draft to trade the first overall pick to the Rams.
The Rams, who drafted Jared Goff, gave the Titans two first-round picks, two second-round picks and two third-round picks in the deal, which also saw the Titans send fourth- and sixth-round picks to the Rams. The Titans made some more trades with those picks they got from the Rams, and in the end acquired five players who are now playing for them in the playoffs: offensive tackle Jack Conklin, defensive tackle Austin Johnson, running back Derrick Henry, wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith.
As noted by ESPN, that turned out to be a major part of the Titans’ roster construction. Conklin, Henry, Davis and Smith are all starters, and although Johnson isn’t a starter, he’s a contributor who has played in all 18 games for the Titans this season.
Trading down ended up being a great move by the Titans, although it’s worth noting that the Titans made the trade for the wrong reason: They thought they didn’t need a quarterback because they believed Marcus Mariota was their long-term franchise quarterback. As it turned out, benching Mariota for Ryan Tannehill was necessary to get to the AFC Championship Game. But even if the Titans were wrong about Mariota, they made the right call when they traded down in the 2016 draft.