Written by: Barry Lewis on April 23, 2011
The Tennessee Titans has been a model of winning consistency over the last 15 years until it stumbled mightly last year causing it to part ways with long-time head coach Jeff Fisher as well as announce that they will no longer be the home for former 1st round draft pick and QB Vince Young.
Over the last five years or so, it has become a victim of the salary cap as it has lost a number of starters including DL Albert Haynesworth and WR Derrick Mason while also stumbling on its first round draft pick last year in DE Derrick Morgan. Morgan is going to need to step it up with Jason Babin, Dave Ball and Jacob Ford all set to become unrestricted free agents.
The Titans in the Twitter draft risked a lot in order to try and ensure that Kerry Collins is not the starting quarterback and that its top draft pick, WR Julio Jones, has someone to get him the ball.
The Titans traded its 2nd round, 3rd round and a 5th round pick in order to move back into the 1st round and select Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett. Mallett has been consistently ranked as one of the top 5 QB’s in the 2011 draft and based on his pure tools should be no worse than the 3rd rated signal caller behind Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert. A fair comparison of the kind of quarterback that Mallett can be is Drew Bledsoe.
He can also become Ryan Leaf. Unfortunately, Mallett has character issues. He has reportedly been linked to drug and alcohol issues and missed a meeting last week with a team that was looking at him as a prospect in this years’ draft.
The success of the Titans draft all lies on Mallett. Picks 39, 77 and 130 ended up being UCLA safety Rahim Moore, the top rated safety in the draft, North Carolina WR Greg Little, who has his own character issues, and WR Ricardo Lockette, who is a small college wideout with burner speed and below average hands.
The Titans entered this draft with a lot of needs not including quarterback and defensive end. They need a left guard, a potential replacement for Stephen Tulloch at inside linebacker, a center, a possible upgrade for Will Weatherspoon at weakside linebacker, a strong safety who could upgrade from Chris Hope, and a replacement for what was lost when Haynesworth left town.
The Titans drafted DT Jerrell Powe who could be a potential fixture in the middle of their defensive line with mixed reviews between his performance at the combine and pro day. He is rated anywhere between the 2nd and 4th round. Also, they drafted DE Karl Klug who is grading out as a round 7 prospect and not a front line replacement for Babin, Hall and Ford.
And they might have found a replacement at center in Kris O’Dowd from USC.
The Titans leave this draft with more questions than answers. If Mallett becomes a franchise quarterback and that is a big if, then their draft grade will be above average. However, considering all of the holes in this team and drafting what is widely considered a risky play in Mallett, the Titans deserve a draft grade of D.