Will Levis' draft weekend journey began with a slide in the Kansas City green room. It ended with an early Day 2 pick to join Tennessee.
As far as head coach Mike Vrabel is concerned, the bold move guarantees Levis nothing in the pecking order.
"Ryan will be the starting quarterback on Monday," Vrabel revealed at a news conference following Friday's second and third rounds. "Malik will be the backup. Will will be the third quarterback. And what I've told them is whatever happens after that will be up to the players. That's what it's always been here. That's what we always want it to be."
Both the initial depth chart and the decision to gamble on a QB in consecutive drafts makes sense, given what has transpired in Tennessee and with the Titans coming off Vrabel's worst campaign (7-10 record) in his five years as head coach.
Tannehill has been a safe QB but not a championship one, combining for 34 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 29 starts since 2021. And when Tannehill missed five games with injury last year, Willis proved far from ready for the bell. He threw three interceptions without a TD pass in three starts before being benched for Joshua Dobbs, who had only been on the team since December, in a win-and-in Week 18 game.
Thus, Levis now enters the equation as the newest shiny option, sure to enhance the competition in a three-way race as Tennessee searches for a return to the postseason form that was on display from 2019 to 2021.
"That's our job is to bring in competition at every position," Vrabel said. "It's not a secret. I hope that by now that everybody understands that we have to prove our value to this football team each and every day."
Levis had an up-and-down career at Kentucky after transferring as a junior from Penn State. Although he has a cannon for an arm and showed the physical traits of a starting-caliber player throughout the draft process, he must make strides in his decision-making after throwing 25 interceptions as a Wildcat.
For what it's worth, Levis is embracing the competition ahead, telling the media on Friday that he's looking forward to learning from his two more-experienced teammates in the QB room. And although his edge might have been sharpened by his unexpected fall, he always planned on attacking this opportunity.
"Regardless of where I got picked, I feel like it's not going to change my work ethic," Levis said. "Regardless of if I went first overall or 33rd. You can't kind of let the circumstances dictate your preparation, and the level of intensity you bring to your everyday practice. Definitely a little bit of a chip, but just know that I was going to work hard regardless of where I got picked. ... I ended up where I was meant to be, and I am just looking forward to competing and getting started."