I asked this question on Twitter yesterday:
If you honestly sat down and did a pros and cons list for Jon Robinson which side would be longer?— Jimmy Morris (@jmorrisMCM) November 13, 2020
I didn’t add any commentary, just asked the question. As you might have guessed, most people called me crazy for even asking the question and one guy even compared me to Jared Stillman. That’s the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me.
Some people had reasonable responses, and one person asked to see my list. So this is my attempt at making a list. I fully expect the pro list to be longer, but it’s not as much of a slam dunk as people think.
Jon Robinson took over as the GM of the Titans in 2016. His first draft was that 2016 draft where the Titans had the number 1 overall pick. That tells you the state of the team and roster when Robinson took over. Of course they are much better off now than they were then, but my argument is that shouldn’t be the only bar by which Robinson is judged.
Here is a rough draft of the pros and cons:
- DeMarco Murray trade- This was one of his best moves. Robinson acquired Murray from the Eagles and all he had to do was move back in the 4th round 13 picks. Murray had over 1,500 yards form scrimmage and 12 touchdowns in 2016. Great move there.
- Signing Ben Jones- The 2016 FA class included Jones and Rishard Matthews amongst others. Jones has been a mainstay on this line since ‘16.
- Jack Conklin, Derrick Henry and Kevin Byard in the 2016 draft- Any time you get 3 All-Pros in a draft that’s a big hit.
- Signing Logan Ryan- Another big hit here. Ryan was the heart and soul of the Titans defense in his 3 years here.
- Adoree Jackson, Jonnu Smith and Jayon Brown in the 2017 draft- Robinson hit on 3 picks here again. These are all guys that will either sign a 2nd contract with the Titans or bring a compensatory pick when they sign elsewhere.
- Trade for Ryan Tannehill- Did Robinson know that Tannehill would be as good as he has been? I’d say probably not. That doesn’t change the fact that he fleeced the Dolphins into sending the Titans Tannehill and paying his contract.
- Signing Rodger Saffold- He struggled out of the gate, but Saffold has been really good for this team since about the 2nd month of the 2019 season.
- The 2019 draft- The first 3 picks in this draft of Jeffery Simmons, A.J. Brown and Nate Davis look to be outstanding and guys they can build around.
- Kevin Dodd and Austin Johnson- There were big hits in the ‘16 draft, but there were also 2 big misses with Dodd and Johnson.
- Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor- I understand the need the Titans had at receiver back in 2017 and the reality that was the receiver class that year. While Davis has been a solid player for this team at times, there is no way you can say that he has lived up to being the 5th overall selection. Taylor is out of the league.
- Sylvester Williams- That signing never made any sense. Robinson overpaid because he was desperate for help on the defensive line.
- Josh Kline and Dion Lewis- Those were two big contracts that were pretty big disappointments.
- Free agency EDGE signings- The Titans have paid a combined $20.25 million to Cameron Wake and Vic Beasley for a total of 2.5 sacks. Sad!
- The failure to have a consistent kicking game for the last 2 seasons. These last two are really hurting the current team.
There are a few things that I considered but ultimately left off the list. The jury is still out on the 2018 draft. Robinson moved around a lot and ultimately ended up with 4 picks. We have seen some great play from both Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry, but Evans hasn’t been very good this year and Landry only has 16.5 sacks in 2 1⁄2 seasons. Overall I would still lean towards putting this in the pro category.
The Isaiah Wilson pick is another thing that I don’t feel confident classifying yet. Sure, he has been a huge disaster to this point, but there is still plenty of time for that to change.
Lastly, the Jadeveon Clowney signing still has an unknown result. He is out there and trying, which is more than can be said for Beasley, but again that is not the bar we should be using. I’m going to need a few sacks from him for that $12 million.
I think Robinson is a good general manager and I love that he is leading this team. When he said that he only cares about his faith, his family and the Titans football team I wanted to run through a wall for him.
Ultimately the pros do outweigh the cons for Robinson, but it is closer than most people want to believe for whatever reason. That is the only point I was trying to make yesterday.