While I largely agree you really can’t judge a draft class for at least 2 or 3 years, I find it helpful to do grades and then come back and see how well my initial thoughts match up to the reality. Thus, I do these grades knowing you really can’t judge a draft class for the on the field product for a while.
With those disclaimers out of the way, I will forge on and analyze what I consider to be the Tennessee Titans worst draft class since they moved on from former head coach Jeff Fisher at the beginning of 2011. It’s a dreadful start to the Ken Whisenhunt era. I might remind you his talent assessments led to his downfall in Arizona. With that said, let’s get to it.
Round 1 pick #11 Taylor Lewan Offensive Tackle Michigan
After the Pacman Jones pick back in 2005, I didn’t think anyone would eclipse my vote for draft pick I hate the most. That dubious distinction has now been replaced by this pick. I don’t think I could hate this pick anymore if I tried.
Prior to the draft, the Titans professed to be interested in selecting high character players and then proceeded to do anything but select them. Not only did they ignore their own professed plan, but they largely ignored their past history in taking a player with so many red flags you might think he is more suited for a bull fighting match.
The Titans of course gambled on Pacman Jones, Kenny Britt and to a certain extent Vince Young. Young’s issues from all appearances didn’t surface until after he was drafted but still it proves the point. The Titans inability to remain competitive has come in large part because they made poor decisions on their 1st and 2nd round draft picks for the last several years.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein
Lewan has talent which of course led Michigan to sweep his many issues under the rug and led the Titans to ignore them in their quest to win games. It’s just not a terribly smart decision for a lot of reasons.
Round 2 pick #54 Bishop Sankey Running Back Washington
The Titans traded back in the second round from pick 42 with the Philadelphia Eagles which sounds good until you find out they only got a 4th round pick and a late one at that (pick 122) but Sankey was on my wish list at running back so I give this pick a positive grade. I do think it was a bit high as Sankey was seen as a 3rd or 4th round selection. With the Titans selecting him he became the first running back taken in this year’s draft.
While I don’t think they got the best value in this entire deal Sankey not only fills a need but is from all appearances not only a good running back but a quality individual. Sankey is the between the tackles runner the Titans have desperately needed and should do well in their offense.
Round 4 pick 112 DaQuan Jones Defensive End Penn State
Projections over where Jones would get drafted fluctuating wildly but he has fairly decent measurables though less than ideal hand size. He isn’t an outstanding athlete but shows signs of being capable of playing at the next level. He was very inconsistent in college and while I don’t hate this pick there were players available that were far more productive and more highly rated. It fills a need and if he meets his potential it could ultimately be a decent pick.
Round 4 pick 122 Marqueston Huff Defensive Back Wyoming
Perhaps the most puzzling of their draft picks is the selection of Huff. An inconsistent college player without a true position who projects best as a cornerback. I am generally a fan of versatility but you want to see a versatile player who excels in both spots. A former track runner, he is fast and performed well on the 20 yard shuffle. With Pierre Desir, Walt Aikens and Brock Vereen on the board it’s just an odd choice. It fills a need and he is a good athlete so it gets a positive grade.
Round 5 pick 151 Avery Williamson Inside Linebacker Kentucky
This might be my favorite pick and the only one that saves the Titans draft from being an unmitigated disaster. In a draft class that was short on quality inside linebackers Williamson was one of the best. I was a bit surprised he lasted this long but in fairness there were some who projected him in the 5th.
Williamson has decent measurables though his hand size isn’t ideal. It’s his play on the field that stands out. A highly decorated high school athlete, Williamson is not only a good football player but a quality individual. A team captain for the University of Kentucky Wildcats, he was a very productive college player.
Round 6 pick 178 Zach Mettenberger Quarterback LSU
After the Lewan selection I certainly never thought the Titans would outdo themselves in bad decision making but once again they prove me wrong. If I could give this pick a negative grade I would. It’s terrible no matter how you spin it.
Like Lewan, Mettenberger comes with a variety of off the field issues including a rap sheet for sexual assault. Add in a diluted drug sample at the combine and reports that many teams had removed him from their boards and this pick just reeks of failure. What a waste of a draft pick.
To add insult to injury, THE TITANS MOVED UP TO DRAFT HIM giving up their sixth- and seventh-round picks (Nos. 186, 228) to take Washington’s 178 spot. Not only is the decision to draft Mettenberger inexplicable but the Titans lost 2 draft picks over it. Simply unbelievable.
Mettenberger has some talent no doubt but there is a reason he fell so far and that teams avoided him like the plague. A developmental project, he doesn’t come with a pedigree that teams look for when thinking about drafting a possible quarterback of the future. This isn’t a guy you want being the face of your franchise unless of course you want that face to be an ugly one.
The Titans now have 4 quarterbacks on their roster and I truly hope they release Tyler Wilson so he can sign with another team. I feel badly for the guy being on 2 woe-begotten teams like the Titans and the Raiders. I’m sure Ken Whisenhunt thinks Charlie Whitehurst is a better backup anyway should Jake Locker go down.
As the old saying goes if you have 4 quarterbacks you really don’t have any.
While the Titans made a few picks that generate a positive reaction, overall their draft can only be characterized as a disaster at first look. They didn’t get the best value out of their picks and made some truly head scratching decisions.
It will be interesting to see how this draft class fares in the years to come.
Overall Grade: D