Draft Grader: Tennessee Titans
Draft season is upon us as free agency quiets down and prospect watch goes into overdrive. But the reality for us is that we’re not that involved in the College side of things, but that doesn’t mean we’re not fans of the draft.
For me, though, that means reflecting back on drafts gone by to tell you which teams made the best picks and which ones the worst. So as I do every year I’m grading every draft pick from 2009 through to 2011 on the PFF rating scale (-2 to +2), factoring in where they were drafted, injuries and a host of other things.
Up first? Well we’re moving in draft order so it’s the Tennessee Titans.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
Not here …
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Jason McCourty, CB (203rd overall pick in 2009): Not bad work finding a starting cornerback in the sixth round who has already played 3,984 snaps for the team. What’s more, McCourty hasn’t just been serviceable but a good starter with positives marks in coverage the past four years. He’s a great find.
Alterraun Verner, CB (105th overall pick in 2010): The 2010 big hit in their draft. Verner didn’t take long to look at home in the NFL and with the Titans where he would play 3,777 snaps and earn a +30.1 grade. Might never be confused with Darrelle Revis or Richard Sherman but has shown a knack for making plays and preventing big ones. The team will be worse for losing him this offseason.
Jurrell Casey, DT (77th overall pick in 2011): And now the 2011 big hit. Casey made his mark in his first two years as an immovable object, adept at working off blocks at the line of scrimmage and making plays against the run. A good find in the third but not worth this grade. Instead what earned him this bump was his development in 2013 into a premier pass rushing threat. That would see him finish fourth overall in our defensive tackle rankings.
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
They’ll settle for three plus ones…
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Derrick Morgan, DE (16th overall pick in 2010): Took awhile to get going after injury cut short his rookie year and he felt his way back to form in his sophomore season. His last two years, however, have been exactly what the Titans would have hoped for, with Morgan developing into one of the best defensive ends in the league.
Marc Mariani, KR (223rd overall pick in 2010): Didn’t contribute much as a wide receiver (just 153 snaps) but proved an explosive kick returner, leading our returner rankings in his rookie season. That alone from a sixth-rounder means he was worth the pick.
Akeem Ayers, LB (39th overall pick in 2011): Has mustered up 2,442 snaps and become a solid starter in the process. Get the feeling the team could get more out of him with a scheme change.
Karl Klug, DT (142nd overall pick in 2011): Has never quite lived up to his rookie year where he was a sub-package terror, but this fifth-rounder has more than proved his worth with a career +24.6 grade on 1,103 snaps. That’s the only reason it’s not more with Klug struggling for playing time at times.
0.0: It could have been worse
Jared Cook, TE (89th overall pick in 2009): Always a little more potential than production, Cook has the reputation of a difference maker. Given he was taken in the third round, his return of eight touchdowns and 1,717 yards is a useful return.
Gerald McRath, LB (130th overall pick in 2009): Struggled as a rookie before earning a limited downs role as a sophomore. He handled himself reasonably well but never in such a way he’d challenge for every-down duty. Instead, he finished his Titans’ career with just 906 snaps. Par for the course of a fourth-rounder.
Javon Ringer, RB (173rd overall pick in 2009): Filled the role of backup for Chris Johnson, but as you’d expect that made playing time hard to come by. Would manage a decent but far from spectacular 447 snaps where he was hardly a game changer.
Dominique Edison, WR (206th overall pick in 2009): Just two snaps on offense, this wide receiver was released after one year with the team.
Ryan Durand, OG (239th overall pick in 2009): Featured in just the one game where he would play seven snaps on offense. Spent three years with the team.
Nick Schomer, S (242nd overall pick in 2009): A late 2009 seventh-round selection who would play five snaps for the team on defense and make three special teams tackles.
Damian Williams, WR (78th overall pick in 2010): Hung around with the team for four years, always seemingly an injury away from a major playing time breakthrough. Would still manage 1,573 snaps for the team and 1,313 yards.
Robert Johnson, S (149th overall pick in 2010): This fifth-rounder would manage just 280 snaps and make five tackles on special teams.
Rusty Smith, QB (177th overall pick in 2010): Like a lot of rookie quarterbacks, Smith looked out of his depth when thrust into action. Hung around on the team without ever challenging for a substantial role.
Byron Stingily, OT (175th overall pick in 2011): Would feature on 256 snaps and look impressive in the process, but the return of injured players would ensure he remained buried on the depth chart. Could he compete for a starting spot? If not, then his little cameo is about right for a fifth-rounder.
Zach Clayton, DT (212th overall pick in 2011): Featured on just 28 defensive snaps, lasting just one year with the team.
Tommie Campbell, CB (253rd overall pick in 2011): Looked set for a bigger role starting in 2013, but lost his opportunity before he’d even had a chance to prove his worth. Would play just 92 snaps on defense.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Kenny Britt, WR (30th overall pick in 2009): Promised so much, but injury and off the field issues saw him fail to realize this. When he as good he was very good, but the glimpses are almost as frustrating in hindsight as the player he became in later years.
Sen’Derrick Marks, DT (62nd overall pick in 2009): Would earn a -30.6 grade during his four years with the team. Clearly talented, he struggled initially to get on the field and then failed to make plays on a consistent basis. Often washed out against the run and delivered no pressure. Would go onto have success elsewhere.
Ryan Mouton, CB (94th overall pick in 2009): The former third-round pick was expected to develop into a starter but would play just 581 snaps where he earned a -7.7 grade. The late round success the team would have with others would make it easy to forget this waste of a pick.
Tony Kropog, OT (135th overall pick in 2009): A former fourth-rounder who would feature a grand total of zero snaps on offense. Took just seven snaps in three years with the team.
Myron Rolle, S (208th overall pick in 2010): The former Rhodes Scholar wasn’t cut out for a life in the NFL and didn’t make it onto the field.
David Howard, DT (242nd overall pick in 2010): Released before the start of his first NFL season.
Jake Locker, QB (8th overall pick in 2011): There have been flashes but after three years in the league you’d have expected more from a quarterback taken at No. 8 overall. A big fourth year will determine whether this grade goes up or down.
Colin McCarthy, LB (109th overall pick in 2011): Was given the chance to start but it has looked too much for him. In his 1,267 defensive snaps he’s earned a -21.6 grade, struggling when blockers get their hands on him and hardly great shakes in coverage.
Jamie Harper, HB (130th overall pick in 2011): I’d like to see more than 111 snaps out of a fourth-round pick. Harper just didn’t catch on, having been cut before the start of his 2013 training camp.
-1.0: What a waste!
Rennie Curran, LB (98th overall pick in 2010): This third-rounder would not feature at all on defense, contributing just four special teams tackles. He would be released before the start of his second season in the NFL.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
They’ve done well to avoid…
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
Not a chance…
Here are links to the teams that have been through the Draft Grader to date:
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