With all the discussion surrounding this organization, I decided to start reviewing the tenure of our front office. Mike Reinfeldt had his first draft as general manager of the Titans way back in 2007. I intend to take a look at each year from 2007-2010. It is too early to properly assess Ruston Webster's draft work so for now this will have to suffice. The other posts will be a bit longer; as you'll see this one won't give us much to discuss.
1st Round - 19th Overall: Michael Griffin, S, Texas
I should get this out of the way right from the start: No GM is going to hit on everyone of his picks, and there are going to be busts. As well, there will always be players that a team passed up on that look silly in hindsight. I bring both of these points up because they are true in this situation. The Titans passed on Dwayne Bowe and Robert Meachem to bring in world-class slider Michael Griffin (who saw that great slide last night?). The Griffin selection has to be considered a bust. Jim Schwartz's defense made him look good in 2008 and that feat was nothing short of miraculous. After five years he still gets sucked in on every play action. The only time it works out is if you're playing Mark Sanchez. Before last night, he was PFF's lowest rated safety.
2nd Round - 50th Overall: Chris Henry, RB, Arizona
We followed up our first round miss with an even bigger one. Chris Henry was easily one of the most infuriating picks this organization has made in a long time. If you are drafting a track team, this is your guy. After his rookie year of 31 carries, Henry got ONE carry the rest of his career. He simply didn't have any vision.
3rd Round - 80th Overall: Paul Williams, WR, Fresno State
This sure got depressing quickly. Williams' final stats read: 1 catch, 7 yards, 5 games played. Put this one in the bust column.
4th Round - 115th Overall: Leroy Harris, OG, NC State
Consider that this is probably the best pick out of all four of them right now and you gain a better understanding of just how awful this draft was. He's been a full time starter for the past three years when healthy. I'd be hesitant to call him a good starter, but at least we got something out of him. Considering his draft position, I think we did alright at this spot.
4th Round - 128th Overall: Chris Davis, WR, Florida State
Chris Davis was last seen playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats up here in the CFL. I have no idea how this team evaluated WRs. Paul Williams, Chris Davis... and we haven't even gotten to the best one yet. Middle round picks are all about maximizing production. The odds of finding stars here are low, but you want to get players that can contribute to the team somehow. This pick didn't accomplish that.
5th Round - 152nd Overall: Antonio Johnson, DT, Mississipi State
This pick would look a lot better if he was still on the Titans. Johnson is currently a starter on the Colts defensive line, and has been for the three out of four years. I can't remember the details exactly so someone can fill me in in the comments, but I believe Johnson was plucked off the practice roster by the Colts. I'd give this pick a high grade if he was still here.
6th Round - 188th Overall: Joel Filani, WR, Texas Tech
With this pick we completed the trifecta of WR busts in the 2007 class. I don't know what to say. You would think that they would hit on one of them, that at least one WR would turn out to be somewhat decent. I know it's only a sixth round pick, but it was still an awful choice. He doesn't even exist in the Pro-Football-Reference.com database.
6th Round - 204th Overall: Jacob Ford, DE, Central Arkansas
This was a guy we handed over to Jim Washburn and asked him to make something out of nothing. And he did. Ford was used as our third down/passing down rusher. He was a burner off the edge who gave us 15.5 sacks over his three years here.
6th Round - 206th Overall: Ryan Smith, CB, Florida
I remember his name, but that's about it. Another guy who doesn't exist in the PFR database. Swung and missed on this late round selection.
7th Round - 223rd Overall: Mike Otto, OT, Purdue
Ford was to Washburn what Otto is to Munchak. Otto has developed into a decent backup option here, never really doing anything that great or that poorly.
It is not a strong draft when Mike Otto is in the running for best selection. Harris was the best pick in my opinion, though I can't say any of the options really thrilled me. What hurts most about this draft is the early choices. Michael Griffin, Chris Henry, and Paul Williams. You just aren't going to build a good team with drafts like that. The late round work wasn't bad. Ford and Otto are/were contributors to the team, but they aren't shining examples either.
I think when evaluating a front office, it's important to consider not only their work, but how it compares to the average. Most general managers, just from the percentages, are going to hit on a few of their picks. The next few draft reviews will certainly be a little brighter, but this one has to be considered below an acceptable standard.
One of the talking points of this draft will be that it was Reinfeldt's first, and that Fisher likely had a lot of control in the war room. I think that's a valid point, particularly when you consider that there seems to have been a philosophy shift over the past few years. The counterargument that I would raise is that Reinfeldt and Fisher were working in tandem. I think its likely that they shared similar views on a lot of these players.