Grading the 1998 Tennessee Oilers Draft

This is one of the most famous drafts to Tennessee Titans fans because it is the draft where they "passed on Randy Moss to take Kevin Dyson."  I get really tired of hearing that.  The Titans/Oilers were one of 20 teams to pass on Moss.  Also, there is no guarantee that Moss would have been the Randy Moss he was in Minnesota or is in New England if the Titans would have taken him.  With the Jeff Fisher offensive philosophy, it is more likely they would have gotten the Moss from Oakland. 

Round 1 Pick #16- Kevin Dyson, WR, Utah

The Dyson grade will in no way reflect the fact that Moss was on the board (see above rant).  This is actually a tough pick to grade.  Dyson is a part of the 2 most famous plays in Tennessee Titan history.  As for his NFL career, it really wasn't that good.  In 6 NFL seasons, 5 with the Oilers/Titans and 1 with the Carolina Panthers, Dyson had 178 catches for 2,325 yards and 18 touchdowns.  His career was cut short because of a knee injury.  Those numbers are decent, but not what you would expect from the #16 pick in the draft. 

Side note:  The only other receiver taken in the 1st round of this draft was Marcus Nash.  Dyson was better than him.

Grade: D

Round 2 Pick #46- Samari Rolle, CB, Florida State

Home run on this one.  Samari started just 1 game his rookie season, but started every game he was healthy for the rest of his 6 seasons with the Titans.  His best season was 2000 when he had 7 picks and made the Pro Bowl.  He was released in the salary cap purge following the 2004 season.

Grade: A+

Round 3 Pick #77- Dainon Sydney, CB, Alabama-Birmingham

Floyd Reese loved to take multiple guys at the same position in drafts.  Sydney was a decent role player for the Titans during the glory years but only started 5 games in his career.  He had 3 picks in each of the 1999 and 2000 seasons, but in his final 3 seasons in the NFL he was only active for 7 games.

Grade: D

Round 4 Pick #107- Joe Salave'a, DT, Arizona

This was a pretty good pick.  Salave'a was never a star in the league, but he was a solid d-line rotation guy for 9 seasons.  That is a good value in the 4th round.

Grade: B

Round 5 Pick #139- Benji Olsen, OG, Washington

Let's see, a 5th round pick that becomes a pillar of your offensive line for 10 years.  Not too shabby!

Grade: A+

Round 6 Pick #168- Lee Wiggins, DB, South Carolina

There is no info available on Wiggins on the internet.  That can't be a good sign.

Grade: F

Round 7 Pick #205- Jimmy Sprotte, LB, Arizona

Sprotte never appeared in a game for the Titans.  He apparently was cut after the 1998 season because he appeared in 9 games in 1999 and 2000 for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Grade: D

Round 7 Pick 229- Kevin Long, C, Florida State

If you live in Nashville and listen to 104.5 in the mornings, you cannot hear the name Kevin Long without thinking about Kevin Long and the Countrywide Home Mortgage team.  This was a great pick.  Long started 35 games in his 4 year career, including 12 games on the 1999 Super Bowl team.

Grade A

This is a much better draft than 1997.  A lot of the guys taken in this draft were crucial to the success this team had when they first became the Titans.

Overall Grade: B

 

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