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Evaluating the Titans' Front Office: 2008 Draft Review

A depressing 2007 draft leads into a slightly better 2008 class.

Andy Lyons

I think Trevor may have summed up the 2007 draft review quite nicely for us with his comment: "Vomit." It could really only get better for Mike Reinfeldt and the rest of the organization after that draft class. How much better? I don't think you'll like the answer. But hey, at least it starts off on a positive note!

1st Round - 24th Overall: Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina
Smash hit. End of story.

2nd Round - 54th Overall: Jason Jones, DE, Eastern Michigan
I had high hopes for Jason Jones, thinking that Washburn would turn him into a star defensive tackle once he added some weight. In the end things never worked out for him in Tennessee. I was always left wondering if the Titans ever used Jones correctly, and for that reason I have a mixed opinion. This was a guy who seemed to have a ton of potential but only had some flashes of great play. He is most known for his three sack performance against the hated Steelers in 2008 but unfortunately we just didn't see enough of those performances to be satisfied with the selection.

3rd Round - 85th Overall: Craig Stevens, TE, California
Everything about Stevens always seems average. He is a decent player and likely our most consistent tight end, however, he probably wouldn't make a lot of other rosters. My thinking on this pick is that there would have been better selections (Cliff Avril) but it also could have been a lot worse. Looking at the list of third round picks, we seem to have been one of the few teams to get solid mileage out of our player.

4th Round - 103rd Overall: William Hayes, DE, Winston-Salem State
8 sacks in four years here, and only 12 games started; his best year was 2009 with 11 starts and 4 sacks. I know its only a fourth round pick, but this was not a smart choice. In the 2007 review we saw the team draft a bunch of receivers in the hopes that one would pan out. It seems like that strategy was employed at DE here with Jason Jones and William Hayes. The Titans just didn't get enough out of this pick. Brace yourselves, it's about to get a little uglier...

4th Round - 126th Overall: Lavelle Hawkins, WR, California
/begins rant
You know what is not a good strategy? Drafting a player only to realize that he's can't master the playbook and that you have no confidence in him whatsoever. You are supposed to determine that before you pick the player. It is about time to call Hawkins what he is: a terrible receiver. We used to think it was just the coaches being hard on him but now we know better. There were times when he couldn't line up in the right spot, his hands are questionable at best and he just got beat out of playing time by Michael Preston. I really have no clue why he's here. Can you imagine a four WR set with Paul Williams, Chris Davis, Joel Filani and Lavelle Hawkins?
/ends rant

4th Round - 134th Overall: Stanford Keglar, LB, Purdue
This draft really took a turn for the worse in the fourth round. Production decreased with each selection. Keglar amassed two solo tackles in his time here. To use a baseball analogy, you're not going to get a lot of home runs in the fourth round, but you need to get at least a few base hits. This is three strikeouts in a row.

7th Round - 229th Overall: Cary Williams, CB, Washburn
Baltimore is reaping the benefits of this pick, as Williams is now a Ravens starter. He spent about a year and a half with the Titans, only seeing special teams action in five games. Its hard to give the organization much credit for this pick since he's not with the Titans anymore. Good picks are meaningless if that player doesn't have success for your team.

Overall Thoughts
This was a pretty mediocre draft. The outstanding selection of Chris Johnson saves it from hitting a really low level, but drafting one star and one average player in each draft is simply not good enough. You won't be able to field a competitive roster with that success rate unless you are ridiculously active in free agency.

This is also the second straight draft in a row that you'll notice the lack of production from the middle and late rounds. The chances of finding good players decreases as the draft progresses but you would think that just off sheer luck you're bound to nab one or two decent players. I think we may be seeing a bit of a trend forming, but we'll have a better idea as the reviews continue. For now, take solace in the fact that the drafts are (slowly) improving.