Tennessee Titans Get a B+ for Their 2012 Draft After 1 Season

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 3, 2013

Brown has been an early surprise for the Titans.
Brown has been an early surprise for the Titans.Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans had a disappointing season in 2012, but the early returns on their draft class have been solid.

Right after the draft, I gave the Titans a C+. After a full season of play, however, they managed to get at or better than expected production from every player but one, and he was injured and never played.

While the verdict is still out on their top pick, it does look like Tennessee got solid value in the second and third rounds.


Kendall Wright-Round 1, Pick 20

Baseline: 32 catches, 500 yards, two touchdowns

Actual Production: 64 catches, 626 yards, four touchdowns

Verdict: Surpassed Expectations

Wright is a bit of a tough pick to judge. There are many who felt the Titans didn't need to burn a first-round pick on a glorified slot receiver, and it's true that Wright's yards per catch of 9.8 is lackluster to say the least.

However, no one can deny that Wright certainly produced more than could have been reasonably expected for his rookie year.

Regardless of how the pick will be judged five years from now, after one season, Wright definitely contributed more than anyone could have reasonably expected.


Zach Brown-Round 2, Pick 52

Baseline: 10 starts, 30 tackles, one sack

Actual Production: 12 starts, 68 tackles 5.5 sacks, three interceptions, one forced fumble

Verdict: Surpassed Expectations

Brown was the best-case scenario for drafting a talented athlete in the second round. His rookie-year production was outstanding on every front.

He got into the starting line and was immediately productive in all phases of the game. He still has room to grow, but this is looking a strong pick early.


Mike Martin-Round 3, Pick 82

Baseline: One sack, 20 tackles

Actual Production: Three sacks, 27 tackles

Verdict: Surpassed Expectations

Martin was almost exactly what the Titans thought they would be getting when they took him. He was fantastic at rushing the passer.

He had 15 hurries, eight quarterback hits and three sacks in just 249 pass rushes.

This was a fantastic pick that looked like a big hit from the start, and there's no reason to doubt it now.


Coty Sensabaugh-Round 4, Pick 115

Baseline: Eight games played, one start, 15 tackles, possibly one interception

Actual Production: 16 games played, four starts, 19 tackles

Verdict: Met Expectations

Sensabaugh wasn't great as a rookie, but he was almost exactly what a team can reasonably expect from a fourth-round pick.


Taylor Thompson-Round 5, Pick 145

Baseline: 5 catches, 50 yards, eight to 10 games played

Actual Production: 6 catches, 46 yards, 16 games played

Verdict: Met Expectations

Thompson was always going to be a long-term project, but his rookie season went as well as could be expected.

He was an excellent run-blocker, and while he struggled in the passing game, he'll pay off for that skill alone.

The fear with Thompson was that he would bust out immediately and not make the team. He cleared that hurdle with ease and found a way to get on the field regularly.

That's all you can ask from a converted tight end drafted in the fifth round.


Markelle Martin-Round 6, Pick 190

Baseline: Eight games played, one start, 15 tackles, possibly one interception

Actual Production: Spent the season on PUP/IR

Verdict: Failed to Meet Expectations

Martin had a knee injury which cost him the entire season.


Scott Solomon-Round 7, Pick 211

Baseline: Four games played, two tackles

Actual Production: 13 games played, two tackles

Verdict: Met Expectations

Solomon wasn't particularly good when he saw the field, but he saw the field. He made the team and played on 169 snaps.

For a seventh-round pick, that's all you can ask. He contributed something, which is far more than most guys taken in the last round ever do.


If there is a future star in this draft, it would likely be the most criticized pick. Zach Brown seems to be the most likely Pro Bowl candidate in the future. It was difficult to find highlights for most of these guys, which may indicate a lack of game-changing production.

Overall, this was a solid draft. Three players surpassed expectations and three more met them right on the nose.

The Titans got good production out of all the picks, and should get a B+ for their efforts. If Wright or Brown really pay off, that grade could still climb higher.