8 Biggest Draft Day Mistakes in Tennessee Titans History
Free agency begins Tuesday, and unfortunately, the Titans are likely to see Pro Bowler Alterraun Verner sign with another team.
The Titans have done a pretty good job at finding cornerback talent late in the draft. Verner was only a fourth-round pick in 2010, while Jason McCourty was grabbed even later, in the sixth round of 2009.
Cortland Finnegan, one of the better Titans defensive backs in recent history, was picked up even later than those two, in the seventh round of the 2006 draft.
However, the Titans also made some big misses in their history (one of the reasons I had to specify that they were good at finding corners late in the draft).
Here are the eight biggest since the move to Tennessee.
2000: Missing Tom Brady
It's hard to fault the Titans for this because no team had an inkling of what Tom Brady would eventually become, but the Titans, like every other team in the NFL, had a shot to get Brady, and they passed.
Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and alongside Peyton Manning, he'll likely go down as the best quarterback of this era.
This is a big miss, but the Titans had Steve McNair in his prime in 2000 and were just coming off of a Super Bowl appearance, so they didn't really have quarterbacks on their radars, nor should they have.
That's why, despite the unmatched quality of the player they missed out on, this isn't that big of a goof.
2013: Chance Warmack
Now I know that Chance Warmack has only played one season so far and that he probably will end up being a very good right guard, so this pick needs a little explanation.
First of all, Mike Munchak was coming into the 2013 season on a hot seat, and the Titans needed an impact player with their 10th overall selection. As Warmack proved, a right guard is not an impact player.
To make matters worse, Warmack didn't even play guard well. He struggled as a pass-blocker all season and made numerous mental mistakes. He was, at best, the fourth-best guard from his draft class, despite being the second off the board and the highest selected in over a decade.
Warmack may improve in 2014, but even if he does, the damage is done. He was selected to instantly improve the Titans' ability to run the ball. That did not happen. And, at least partially because of that, Mike Munchak is no longer the Titans' head coach.
A selection like Desmond Trufant, Cordarrelle Patterson, Alec Ogletree or even Kyle Long would have been better.
2011: Jake Locker over J.J. Watt, Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton
In 2011, the Titans made the very understandable decision to grab a quarterback. They ended up with a good haul from that draft, nabbing Akeem Ayers with their second pick, Jurrell Casey with their third, Karl Klug with their fifth rounder and Tommie Campbell in the seventh.
Jake Locker could still prove himself to be a franchise quarterback if he can stay healthy, but right now, he's still behind two of the quarterbacks selected after him: Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick.
Dalton has led the Bengals to back-to-back playoff appearances, as has Kaepernick. Kaepernick even led his team to a Super Bowl in his first season as a starter.
But the real miss was J.J. Watt. The Titans were in need of both defensive tackles and defensive ends in 2011, and Watt could have filled either need in a 4-3 defense.
Imagine how good the Titans could have been in 2012 with Matt Hasselbeck and Chris Johnson engineering an offense while J.J. Watt and Jurrell Casey wreaked havoc on the other side of the ball.
Of course, if they'd taken Watt, they'd need a quarterback the next year…
2012: Missing out on Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson would have been a first rounder in 2012 if he were a couple of inches taller. But at 5'11" tall, he fell all the way to the 75th overall pick.
The Titans would have had to forgo selecting Zach Brown to land him, but given that Russell Wilson just won a Super Bowl playing against Peyton Manning in his second year in the league, I'd say that's worth the risk.
Of course, the Titans had just selected Jake Locker the year before this, so there was no way they were going to grab another quarterback, but what this goes to show you is why you shouldn't reach for positions of need.
Had the Titans taken the best player available in 2011 (Watt), they'd be free to grab a quarterback in 2012 and could have either used their second selection on Wilson or traded up from their third selection.
Either way, they land a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, and that's a big win no matter what you give up.
2001: Trading a First Rounder for Kevin Carter
Kevin Carter had a great career overall, but not so much in Tennessee. He did have a great season in 2002, where he netted the team 10 sacks, but they gave up a lot to get him (their first-round selection).
For the sake of comparison, keeping their pick and going with the next defensive end selected gets them Kyle Vanden Bosch. It also would have let them choose between him and Reggie Wayne, Todd Heap, Alge Crumpler, Chad Johnson and Drew Brees, who were all selected within the next few picks.
What would have been better: having one of those players under contract or the one good year they got out of Carter?
The Titans then used their next selection on bust cornerback Andre Dyson. In the end, the player that the Titans picked up in 2001 that made the biggest impact was undrafted free agent Rob Bironas.
2003: Andre Woolfolk
As good as the Titans seem to be at picking up middle- and late-round cornerbacks, they don't have a great history with the early ones.
Andre Dyson, a second-round selection in 2001, was followed shortly by first rounder Andre Woolfolk, whose career was just as insignificant. Woolfolk was out of the league in just four years, but what makes his selection so bad was how good the cornerback class was that year.
Here are a list of some corners who were selected after Woolfolk in 2003: Nnamdi Asomugha, Charles Tillman, Rashean Mathis, Terrence McGee and Asante Samuel.
What do all five of them have in common other than the fact that they were selected after Woolfolk? They all were both Pro Bowlers and All Pros.
You'd think in a corner class that stacked with talent (that's just the best of the best at the position from that season—there were several other solid corners with distinguished, but less spectacular careers as well), it'd be hard to grab a bust, but the Titans did.
2005: Adam "Pacman" Jones
Like I said, the Titans haven't done well taking corners early. Pacman Jones was undeniably talented, but he came with a lot of character concerns.
Still, the Titans took him sixth overall, the first corner selected in a corner class that produced three All Pros at the position. Jones was not one of those three.
Jones had many run-ins with the police and saw several suspensions. When he was on the field, he played well, but not sixth-overall-selection well, and even so, he missed all of 2007 and part of 2008 due to off-the-field behavior.
What is unfortunate is that outside of the selection of Jones, the Titans had a pretty good draft. They grabbed Michael Roos in the second round, David Stewart in the fourth and Bo Scaife in the sixth.
There were some misses along the way, but if they'd taken Carlos Rogers, Antrel Rolle, DeMarcus Ware or Derrick Johnson, they'd have been much better off.
Then of course, there was Aaron Rodgers. McNair was near the end of his career at that time, so a quarterback wouldn't have been out of the question.
2006: Taking Vince Young over Jay Cutler
The Titans made back-to-back blunders in 2005 and 2006. I was as excited as anyone else that Vince Young made it past the first two picks. After all, he was coming off of one of the greatest performances that any one college player has ever had in a major bowl game.
When you remember that both the opposing quarterback (Matt Leinart) and running back (Reggie Bush) were Heisman Trophy winners, and Young outperformed both, it's easy to see why the Titans wanted him.
However, another quarterback prospect, Jay Cutler, was the one they should've gone after. Not only would Cutler have satisfied a fanbase that already loved him for his success at Vanderbilt, it also would have given the Titans something they haven't had since Steve McNair: stability at quarterback.
Cutler is no Peyton Manning, but he's an above-average starting quarterback, and he has been for most of his career.
The Titans of 2006 had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and a great defense. Cutler could have turned them into regular postseason contenders instead of the up-and-down team they became in Jeff Fisher's final few years.
Missing on a quarterback can be costly, and the current state of the Titans shows just how costly it is.