There is an article floating around on NFL Network surrounding Russel Wilson's Instagram picture about his lowly-touted Seahawks draft class proving doubters wrong. Now, it is generally regarded in NFL circles that four years is the real necessary "waiting period" before being truly sold on a draft pick, and generally, an entire draft class of players.
So now that they've been in the league for 4 seasons, how does the 2010 Tennessee Titans draft class look, and how should it be graded?
1. (1st Round, 16th overall) Derrick Morgan, DE (C+)
Morgan has been labeled a bust by many. This is in part due to his slow NFL start, stemming from a torn ACL only a few games into his rookie season. Since then, Morgan has risen to play at a steady level, with an impressive 2012 campaign that showcased him as a well rounded NFL caliber DE. That ranking dipped again in 2013, where he was solid, if unspectacular. While I like Morgan a lot as a player, you would expect a little more out of a 16th overall pick. That aside, his grade is only going to increase if he puts together another solid season in 2014.
2. (3rd Round, 77th overall) Damian Williams, WR (C+)
Like Morgan, Williams is a heavily critisized player. The Titans, lacking a second rounder in 2010, opted to go Wide Receiver in the their first of two 3rd round choices. Williams was quiet for a season, but put in a strong showing in his sophomore campaign after Kenny Britt went down, recording 45 catches for 592 yards and 5 Touchdowns.
Williams is a well rounded player at this point with above average hands. He just hasn't seemed to be able to get on the field as much as you would like. This past season, his contract year, Williams put on a strong showing after Britt showed he was incapable of producing, but that display was cut short by injury. If that had never occurred, we may be singing a different tune on the Wideout. As it stands, he is a FA with a future up in the air. I have no doubt he finds work quickly, whether that be in Tennessee or elsewhere.
3. (3rd Round, 97th overall) Rennie Curran, OLB (F)
Curran was touted as the "Best weak-side backer in the 2010 draft class"....or not. Curran never translated his college ability to the pro's, and was released after his rookie season after playing only special teams snaps. There are other off the field issues that followed, but Curran was out of the league within the next year after a failed bid for a roster spot in Tampa. He's now playing in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos...so much for that.
4. (4th Round, 104th overall) Alterraun Verner, CB (A+)
The crowning jewel of the 2010 Tennessee draft class, Alterraun Verner showed immediately that he was a strong pick for a 4th round CB. He played well in his rookie year with 3 interceptions, and played less the next season (mostly now in the nickel) with the emergence of Jason McCourty. When Finnegan left town the year after, Verner played solidly on the outside, but was foiled by disastrous safety play. Of course, this last season Verner turned it on and was one of the best CBs in the NFL according to multiple metrics.
Needless to say, letting the All-Pro corner leave town would be a gross mistake.
5. (5th Round, 148th overall) Robert Johnson, SS (F)
Despite being a decent special teamer, Robert Johnson never amounted to more than that. His stints at safety were generally appalling. The Titans cut ties with him last year without him making any sort of impact on the team.
6. (6th Round, 176th overall) Rusty Smith, QB (D)
Well this one was obviously a rousing success....Smith has played very sparingly in his time in Tennessee, and rightly so. His few performances, due to injuries to starting QBs, have been dismal. His continued solid performances in the pre-season seemingly every year seemed to keep him around. But no more. He was never a realistic answer, even as a backup Quarterback.
7. (6th Round, 207th overall) Myron Rolle, CB (F)
While Rolle's made for an outstanding story, his hiatus from football to attend Oxford in the UK proved to be too much to overcome without stellar physical ability to prop him up. The Titans took a flier on the FSU corner and he never made the roster, being released after spending only a single season on the practice squad.
He is currently no longer playing football, instead attending medical school.
8. (7th Round, 227th overall) Marc Mariani, WR (B)
Mariani turned from roster hopeful to return specialist in a hurry. While failing to make much of a dent at Wideout, "MegaMan" is a solid returner with excellent decision making ability and an eye for running lanes. His time in Tennessee has been spoiled by two consecutive long-term injuries, but that shouldn't hamper his grade from a draft perspective too much.
It is unclear whether Mariani will return to town next season as he is now a FA and the team had plenty of success with another now-FA returner in Leon Washington.
9. (7th Round, 241st overall) David Howard, DT (F)
Howard failed to make the roster in his rookie year, and after multiple stints with other teams with the same results, Howard was quickly out of the NFL.
Overall Grade = D
This was a pretty disappointing class if you ask me. Only ATV and Morgan have proved productive starters at this point. This class helped seal Mike Reinfeldt's fate with Tennessee in my opinion. The draft will always be somewhat of a crapshoot, but you can't afford to miss on so many picks and be an annually compeitive franchise.
It is a humbling thought that out of all of these picks it is a distinct possibility that only one of them (Morgan) is on the team next season, with Verner being the only one to leave because of financial strains. Even if they bring back Verner as they should, that is still a terrible turnover from only a few seasons ago.
All I can say, is thank god for Ruston Webster.