So far the first two draft reviews for Mike Reinfeldt and company haven't been very positive. Fortunately things got a little better with this draft, one which saw the Titans waiting until the 30th pick of each round to have their turn. This draft also features several players that are extremely polarizing for MCM.
1st Round - 30th Overall: Kenny Britt, WR, Rutgers
Despite that Britt makes me want to punch a wall at least three times a year, I can't be too harsh on the pick. It doesn't fit the qualifications for being a bust, but it also can't be considered a great success. Britt is extremely talented and in this particular scenario, I'm not sure I can point to a specific player that we passed on that would've been a better selection at the time. The front office also can't be blamed for his slew of injuries but they do lose marks for drafting a player that has made headlines off the field. There was a time when I could pass it off as immaturity; at some point during the count to 8 arrests that excuse had to be thrown out. We have managed to get production out of him, so I'd give this pick a fairly solid grade.
2nd Round - 62nd Overall: Sen'Derrick Marks, DT, Auburn
I'd really like to know how much say Reinfeldt had on this pick. I'm sure he had input but it looked like this was a Fisher selection all the way. He seemed to fall in love with Marks on his pre-draft visit. Marks has turned his career around after having a rough go of it early on with the Titans. He now forms one-half of a stout interior defensive line.
3rd Round - 89th Overall: Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina
Yet again we found a guy who seems to have more talent than most at his position but just hasn't been able to find consistency on the field. The two coaching staffs that have worked with Jared Cook certainly deserve blame for not using in correctly. Cook hasn't done himself any favours though. He makes a few plays a game that just have you scratching your head. For someone who apparently wants to be more involved in the offense, he isn't nearly consistent enough at catching and still can't block. That's on him. One of the most frustrating things here is that this pick cost us a second round draft choice the following year. I don't think Jared Cook could qualify as a very good second round selection.
3rd Round - 94th Overall: Ryan Mouton, CB, Hawaii
This pick looked bad almost immediately. He has been terrible in his time here. Poor choice.
4th Round - 130th Overall: Gerald McRath, LB, Southern Mississippi
He was a special teamer early on and hasn't done anything as a defensive player. I don't want to punish the front office too much on this pick since I think if you stack McRath's career up against most fourth rounders they'd share similar career outcomes but it also can't be considered a good pick.
4th Round - 135th Overall: Troy Kropog, OT, Tulane
A project that didn't work out. Consider it another miss.
5th Round - 173rd Overall: Javon Ringer, RB, Michigan State
I am a huge Ringer fan so we should get that out of the way right off the bat. For a little while he was our third down back and arguably our most complete back. Ringer is an example of running backs just aren't valuable anymore. He's fairly average at most things and in the right system could probably have success. There are tons of Ringer-like backs out there so the front office can't get a lot of praise for the selection but it was still a good choice. Middle and late rounds are great options for finding productive college backs that can contribute for your team and this pick at least subscribes to that theory.
6th Round - 203rd Overall: Jason McCourty, CB, Rutgers
McCourty is late-round gold and extremely valuable to this franchise. After several misses in the middle rounds the Titans managed to get one of the best corners in the NFL after 202 picks. An outstanding selection.
6th Round - 206th Overall: Dominique Edison, WR, Stephen F. Austin
"We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming." Another failed WR prospect.
7th Round - 239th Overall: Ryan Durand, OG, Syracuse
This is why drafting late round offensive linemen is maddening. The Titans hand Mike Munchak (and now Bruce Matthews) a bunch of scrubs in the hopes they make something out of them and you end up with a lot of these 'throwaways'. Sure, that strategy can work (and has), but I'd love to know the success rate of that method. Out of the three drafts I've reviewed so far we have Leroy Harris and Mike Otto as the hits and Kropog and Durand as the misses. The 50% success rate appears better than it is though, as Harris (4th round) really doesn't fit the late round criteria and Otto, a career backup, can't exactly be considered a great success.
7th Round - 242nd Overall: Nick Schommer, S, North Dakota State
It is a battle between WR and S for which position the Titans can't evaluate properly. He lasted one season on the roster as a special teamer.
I think we can sum up this draft quite nicely by saying that early on the Titans were able to identify talent correctly but the players are enigmatic. Britt and Cook supremely talented but have each given fans reasons to wonder about their long term future with the team.
You can split this draft into tiers: Sen'Derrick Marks and Jason McCourty are what I would consider clear successes. They're both bright spots on a very bad defense. Kenny Britt, Jared Cook and even Javon Ringer would be considered good picks when you measure production vs. draft position. Mouton, McRath, Kropog, Edison, Durand and Schommer form the bottom tier of unproductive players.
I believe it was last year that Ruston Webster said a good draft was if you could find 2-3 starters and the Titans certainly did that here. I would add to the criteria that you measure it on good starters and not just those that start due to lack of depth behind them. Depending on how you define a successful draft, the Titans found 2-4 of those players in 2009. You have to take into account though that they also had 11 draft picks from a trade and compensatory picks. You would assume that more opportunities to draft leads to a greater number of good players. I still think this draft is the best of the three we've looked at so far but I just wanted to keep that in mind. If we had come away with the same number of successes with only 7 or 8 picks I'd give the front office more praise for their work.