Thursday, May 21, 2009

2009 NFL Draft Grades: Tennessee Titans

The Titans were one of the most dominant teams during the 2008 regular season. Lead by veteran QB Kerry Collins, a pounding and flashy running game, and a stingy defense, the Titans steamrolled their way to a 13-3 record and were awarded the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Of course they didn't make it past their first game, losing to the Baltimore Ravens who had perfect their game plan to avenge a defeat to the Titans earlier in the year. Tennessee may have reached their peak in 2008 and missed a chance; with Collins a year older and the loss of Albert Haynesworth, the odds of repeating a 13 win season in a competitive division is remote.

The offense was anything but dominant overall. They were 27th in passing and 21st in total yards per game while racking up an average of 23.4 points per game (15th). They were kind of an old school team, using a strong running game and an equally strong defense to stifle opponents. They were Top 10 in the major categories, ranking 2nd in points, 9th in passing yards, 6th in rushing yards, and 7th in total yards allowed per game. The team has shown to take a rather large step back with out Haynesworth in the past and now he is a rich man permanently stationed in D.C. The Titans need to add some help for Collins at WR as well as replace the behemoth Haynesworth at DT. If Vince Young isn't the QB of the future any more then a young QB is needed as well.

Jeff Fisher is entering his 16th season as head coach of the Houston/Tennessee franchise, the longest tenure of an active head coach. Fisher is probably safe from a step back this season considering the 13 win '08 season was unexpected. It will be hard for Fisher to replicate last season again. Not only is Haynesowrth gone but eight year defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is now the head coach in Detroit.

1/30/30 - Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
2/30/62 - Sen'Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn
3/25/89 - Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina
3/30/94 - Ryan Mouton, CB, Hawaii
4/30/130 - Gerald McRath, LB, Southern Miss.
4/35/135 - Troy Kropog, OT, Tulane
5/37/173 - Javon Ringer, RB, Michigan State
6/30/203 - Jason McCourty, CB, Rutgers
6/33/206 - Dominique Edison, WR, SFAU
7/30/239 - Ryan Durand, OG, Syracuse
7/33/242 - Nick Schommer, FS, N. D. State

  • DL - Check!
  • WR - Check!
  • CB - Check!
  • QB - Try again.
After a winning a division title and owning the league's best record, the Titans don't really appear to have too many needs. They had 11 picks when all was said and done. That's a lot. They were able to add a few bodies at DT to stop the bleeding from the departure of Haynesworth. They found a WR that could develop into the #1-type guy they've been lacking. Depth in the secondary is always a plus and they a few bodies there. The one area that they didn't grab a young guy was QB, something that may be questioned. Can Collins play more than the 2009 season? Will Vince Young ever regain his composure and lead a team? Tennessee better hope at least one of those happens.

GRADE: 90/100

Pick 1 - When was the last time the Houston/Tennessee franchise had a true #1 receiver? Maybe Derrick Mason? Well, if they give him time to adjust, Britt could be that guy. He has the prototypical size, bulk, and speed to be an elite WR. Outside of Justin gage and Justin McCareins the Titans really didn't have much and neither of them are anything special. Lavelle Hawkins is young and could team with Britt for a nice duo in the future. Grade: 9

Pick 2 - Sen'Derrick Marks underachieved at Auburn and the questions surrounding him dropped his stock. However the Titans really had nothing at the position after Haynesworth left so a new DT was a necessity. I think San Jose State's Jarron Gilbert may have been a better pick here but there's no doubt Marks has talent but will he get it all together and become a force in the middle? Grade: 8

Pick 3 - Some scouts were saying Cook could leapfrog Brandon Pettigrew (#20, Lions) to be the first TE taken. Obviously that didn't happen. But to fall near the end of round three and be the third TE taken? What were some teams thinking. The Cook selection was a good one for the future. He's behind Bo Scaife and Alge Crumpler but both may be gone by 2010. This was tremendous value and because they had so many picks and so few needs they could afford to grab some of the better players available regardless of position. Grade: 8

Pick 4 - This was a little early for Mouton and there were a few DBs available that had more value late in round three. Someone like D.J. Moore or Donald Washington would have filled a need and been a good value. Mouton is undersized and lacks the ideal strength to help in run support. He may be destined for special teams work and that's not something you want from a third round pick. Grade: 5

Pick 5 - Another slight reach here with McRath. The Titans needed some LB depth but there were a lot of LBs available and McRath was not one of the best left. Jason Phillips, Scott McKillop, Nic Harris, Jasper Brinkley, and Marcus Freeman all remained. Each one would have been a better option than McRath at this point. Grade: 4

Pick 6 - Tennessee lacked depth at OT and Kropog was a nice selection at the end of the fourth, going right where anticipated. The only better option was Jamon Meredith. Kropog should backup Michael Roos and David Stewart. He needs to build up his strength but started a bunch in college so he knows what it takes to be successful. Grade: 7

Pick 7 - With the final pick in the 5th round the Titans grabbed Javon Ringer. The selection of Ringer may mean Rafael Little and Chris Henry are goners. Ringer is nice value here but he doesn't really fill a need, since LenDale White and Chris Johnson get a majority of the carries. A developmental QB here may have been best. Grade: 6

Pick 8 - Size and speed. McCourty has both. he's a bit raw but the team was able to turn Cortland Finnegan into a great corner. Give McCourty two or three seasons and he could be an ideal starter. He's a better pick than Mouton but again there were more polished DBs available here. Grade: 6

Pick 9 - Edison was seen as a late round prospect so this isn't much of a reach. A few other prospects may have higher upside though. Someone like Demetrius Byrd or Sammie Stroughter may have had a bigger impact in 2009. Edison needs to add some strength to beat the bump but he is a blazer and could become their deep target. Grade: 6

Pick 10 - The aversion to Trevor Canfield continues. Titans take Durand, who could develop into a serviceable starter but is probably best as the extra interior lineman; someone who fills in for an injury. He has good size and mobility and was a two year starter for the Orange. He doesn't use his size to his advantage at all times and can get beat by the quick DTs and DEs on stunts. Grade: 6

Pick 11 - Schommer is likely just a training camp body and, at best, a special teams ace. He has nice size but is raw in coverage. He'll need some development to provide any help in the secondary. He's a good candidate for the practice squad. There was much better value still available with this pick and the Titans missed big time. Grade: 3

GRADE: 68/110


They filled three of their four needs and did so with some nice players. It appears that having all those extra picks didn't do much for them. They would have probably been best off trading up for higher quality players than staying where they were. Still, Britt, Marks, and Cook are all future starters and Kropog and Durand are nice backups along the OL. They really missed on their DBs, not getting good value there.


WHY: It was a bit of a disappointment to see the Titans waste some of their mid and late round picks. There was a promise for a big class that could be the foundation for the end of the second decade of Fisher's reign. If his top picks don't perform in the next year or two, Fisher could see himself not make it to year 20.

NOTE: My "final grade" is weighted and is not a simple combination of "needs" and "talent".

Best Pick: Britt
Worst Pick: Schommer
Sleeper: Cook
Instant Impact: Britt
Developmental: McCourty

OTHER DRAFT GRADES - Tennessee Titans
CBS Sports (Prisco): B
CBS Sports (Rang): B
ESPN (Kiper): C+ (Brooks): B (Fan's): B
Walter: A



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