This review may seem somewhat pointless now with the removal of Mike Reinfeldt from the organization, but it's worth noting that this was Ruston Webster's first draft with the team, in his former position of Vice President of Player Personnel. The 2009 draft was what I consider to be the high point of Reinfeldt's tenure here, but this would probably finish in second. If you missed one of the recaps you find them here: 2007, 2008 and 2009.
1st Round - 16th Overall: Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
On a personal level this was probably my favourite pick from the Reinfeldt era. I was on the Morgan train even before the draft and can remember letting out a huge cheer when Jason Pierre-Paul went 15th and the Titans followed with Morgan. In an attempt to set aside my emotional bias on the pick, I will note that ProFootballFocus has been raving about him this year. Quietly he turned in a very strong season with 6.5 sacks and has become a solid all-around DE for the team.
3rd Round - 77th Overall: Damian Williams, WR, USC
I feel like I could pretty much copy and paste anything I've said about the Titans drafting receivers right into this spot. You want more from a third round pick than turning into a decent 4th receiver option. In his limited role this year, he has been slightly better and posted a 1.5 DVOA score from Football Outsiders, the first time in his career he scored above 0. In the years prior, he had scores of -17.4 (2011) and -3.7 (2010).
3rd Round - 97th Overall: Rennie Curran, LB, Georgia
I had high hopes for this pick, but Curran was a huge bust.
4th Round - 104th Overall: Alterraun Verner, CB, UCLA
Here we get to our famous Friend of the Blog. Verner turned out to be a tremendous talent worth trading up for, and has been praised for his play quite often. He's become a very good corner opposite McCourty. If he can continue to improve, the Titans will find themselves set at corner for the immediate future.
5th Round - 148th Overall: Robert Johnson, S, Utah
Swing and a miss on yet another safety. I'm writing the same thing over and over for this position.
6th Round - 176th Overall: Rusty Smith, QB, FAU
Remember when we thought he could be the next Tom Brady? Oops. At this point I doubt Rusty will even be a somewhat competent backup option. The Titans would be wise to find a different developmental project soon.
6th Round - 207th Overall: Myron Rolle, S, Florida State
Is it any wonder that safety is a huge weakness for this team? Way too many wasted picks at safety.
7th Round - 222nd Overall: Marc Mariani, WR/KR, Montana
Credit to this pick goes straight to Jeff Fisher for playing a hunch from his son. It's rare to find a contributing player so late, and one that went to the Pro Bowl as a returner. Odds are slim that he turns into anything on offense but we definitely got production out of this selection.
7th Round - 241st Overall: David Howard, DT, Brown
The team was fortunate enough to come away with three good players but yet again that was on a high number of picks (9). What limits this draft is that we got very little out of any of the other six players. I'm not asking that all of them become Pro Bowlers or carve out great careers, but I do expect some contribution to the team for a limited amount of time. Damian Williams is the only one that comes close to being thought of as a contributor.
After going through all of Reinfeldt's drafts (that have had 3 years in between) I think we need to revisit the theory that he was a strong drafter. He did some nice work in the first round but that is also the round where you expect any talented GM to hit on at least most of his picks. Good and great GMs are going to mine the later rounds and come away with guys that are going to help the team on special teams or specialized roles, and perhaps the late round gem. I don't want to be extremely harsh on Reinfeldt either. I doubt his performance is that much better or worse than the average general manager but average is not the goal here. You need to be above average if you want to get ahead of the pack.
This brings our draft reviews to a close. I was initially going to enlist MCM to help compare our front office to the rest of the league (gramsey proposed we look at each team's roster) but with Reinfeldt's firing I'm not sure its necessary. Let me know in the comments if you would still like to do that or consider it superfluous.
SITE NOTE: I was hoping to get some feedback on what you guys think of my work so far. I created a short survey and would love to hear from you. It is completely anonymous and only 8 questions long. For the most part they are open-ended comment responses so you can be as short or descriptive as you like. I know surveys can be a nuisance but if you could take a few minutes to fill it out it would be much appreciated. It is hosted on Survey Monkey here. I will review all the responses; all I ask is that you are as specific as possible. If you're going to tell me I suck, please give me some reasons so that I can work to get better.