In my last post, I concluded the Titans will draft either a wide receiver or a cornerback in this year’s draft.
Let’s take a look at Head Coach Jeff Fisher’s draft history and see if it might shed light on whom the Titans will chose in the first round.
Prior to 2009, Fisher has been head coach of the Oilers/Titans during 14 drafts (he was hired as interim coach during the 1994 season).
In 2001 and 2004, Tennessee did not have a first-round draft choice.
In the other 12 drafts, The Oilers/Titans chose seven defensive players.
Tennessee picked a defensive back in 2003 (Andre Woolfolk), 2005 (Adam “Pacman” Jones) and 2007 (Michael Griffin).
The Titans’ one and only first-round receiver selection during the Jeff Fisher era took place 11 years ago in 1998. Kevin Dyson played five of his six NFL season in Tennessee during a career marred by injury but punctuated by two famous plays: the “Music City Miracle” in Nashville and “The Tackle” in Super Bowl 34.
Thanks to ESPNDB, I learned that the Oilers drafted wide receiver Haywood Jeffires in 1987. That’s 11 years before Kevin Dyson’s rookie season.
As of 2009, It’s been 11 years since the Titans drafted a receiver in the first round.
The Tennessee Titans should draft a wide receiver in the first round.
Let’s skip to 2009 and look at two positions on the Titans depth chart:
- Wide Receiver: Justin Gage, Nate Washington, Lavelle Hawkins, Chris Davis, Paul Williams, Craphonso Thorpe
- Cornerback: Cortland Finnegan, Nick Harper, DeMarcus Faggins, Christian Morton, Cary Williams, Tanard Davis
Let’s look at cornerback. Finnegan is one of my favorite Titans and is a budding superstar. The only real knocks against Nick Harper is that he’s 34 and has missed games due to injury over the past few seasons. However, last season he had one more tackle than Finnegan (who made the Pro Bowl in three fewer games. Harper can still play.
And as much as having former Houston Texan whipping boy Faggins as a Titan bothers me, he does have plenty of game experience.
At receiver, Justin Gage has won my respect. He is an asset to Tennessee’s offense and deserves to start. Nate Washington made plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers and brings youth, elusiveness and speed to the Titans.
But if you assume the role as Titans GM and fill in the blank on the following statement, what do you conclude?
“We need a good, young [BLANK] to help us get to Super Bowl 44.”
Do you draft a defensive back for the fourth time in seven years, or do you draft a wide receiver for the first time since 1998?
The Tennessee Titans should draft a wide receiver in the first round. Ironically, this has nothing at all to do with Vince Young’s development.
In 2007, Tennessee was defeated in the regular season and in the playoffs by the San Diego Chargers, a team with three offensive playmakers: LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Gates and Chris Chambers.
The Titans wisely chose little-known speedster Chris Johnson as its gamebreaking running back.
Tennessee needs to add another young playmaker to its offensive mix.
In a few days, I’ll tell you who that player should be. If you read Titans Tracker regularly, you can probably guess my choice.