The Tennessee Titans finished last season on an 8-2 winning streak after starting 0-6, and have the opportunity to use a strong off season to boost their squad back to 2008 form.
The Titans entered the 2010 NFL draft with only a couple major needs. Weaknesses at defensive end and cornerback stand out the most. After filling those holes, the front office had enough selections in the arsenal to add playmakers to the offense, as well as solidify defensive depth.
Here is a breakdown of your 2010, Tennessee Titan's draft class:
Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
The Titans take care of their number one need at defensive end by selecting the best defensive end in the draft. In a draft where almost all other defensive ends look to have a notably high bust potential, Derrick Morgan is the surest player coming out at his position.
Morgan recorded 12 sacks during his senior campaign, and he is just as good at stopping the run as he is rushing the passer.
He is the perfect replacement for Mr. Motor, Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Titans' scout Cole Proctor was asked to describe Derrick Morgan and said, "Number one is his work ethic. The guy comes off the ball, his feet never stop and he is going to chase sideline-to-sideline. The production is there and I agree. When we move him outside in our defense and of course with [coach] Wash coaching him out there, the production we have had in our defense, I think he is going to reach the top. He is going to go right off the scales for us."
Pick Grade: A+
Damian Williams, Wide Receiver, USC
Wide receiver wasn't a major need this off season like in the past, but that didn't stop the Titans from adding a major piece to the future of the offense. Damian Williams will eventually start across from Kenny Britt, forming a very talented duo for years to come.
Williams is the best route-runner in the entire draft. Wide receiver is a position where speed can be extremely overvalued (see: Troy Williamson, Teddy Ginn Jr., Darrius Heyward-Bey)
The best receiver of all time, Jerry Rice, ran a 4.71 in the 40-yard dash. I'm not calling Damian Williams the next Jerry Rice, but don't underestimate him because he doesn't possess all-world wheels. Elite route-running beats sprinter's speed all day, every day.
Williams will also start on day one for the Titans at punt returner. He returned two punts for touchdowns in his final season at USC.
Pick Grade: A
Rennie Curran, Outside Linebacker, Georgia
Rennie Curran is a small linebacker standing at 5'11". I would like to take this opportunity to make my readers nauseous by using the classic cliche, "It's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog."
Curran is a tackling machine who recorded 231 tackles over his past two seasons at Georgia.
I would have preferred taking Dekota Watson, outside linebacker out of Florida State, but Curran is nothing to be disappointed about.
By drafting Derrick Morgan and Rennie Curran on the first two days, the Titans added two leaders who will work harder than their opponents, push their teammates, and play with a passion on the gridiron (that almost sounded too much like the Tim Tebow promise). After losing two team captains in Keith Bulluck and Kyle Vanden Bosch, that seems like a necessary quality to me.
Pick Grade: B
Alterraun Verner, Cornerback, UCLA
To acquire this selection, the Titans traded running back Lendale White and defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson to swap draft picks in the fourth and sixth round. I absolutely hate this trade. It makes zero sense to throw away a 1,000-yard back and maybe the team's best backup run-stopping defensive tackle just to swap late round picks.
There were reports that Alterraun Verner was shooting up draft boards and could be picked in the second round. Verner, another high-intensity defender, recorded 13 interceptions in his career at UCLA.
Verner fills the Titans' final major need and gives Tennessee's war room the freedom to draft their most cherished prospects the rest of the way.
Adding Damian Williams in the third takes care of the Titans' need for a punt returner, but with a need for a kickoff returner still existing, Perrish Cox, A.J. Jefferson, and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah all seem like more logical choices with their ability to make an impact in the return game.
Pick Grade: B-
Robert Johnson, Free Safety, Utah
After Vincent Fuller, the Titans have no quality depth at the safety position. Robert Johnson, a center-field type safety, solidifies the secondary's depth.
Johnson, along with Rennie Curran, should able step in on special teams right away and upgrade an inconsistent Titans coverage squad.
With Florida State safety Myron Rolle still available, this is a questionable selection, but after examining Johnson's college production, it's hard to argue against him. He had 13 career interceptions while increasing his season totals each and every year.
Pick Grade: B
Rusty Smith, Quarterback, Florida Atlantic
Jarrett Brown. Jevan Snead. Tony Pike. Dan LeFevour. Zac Robinson. Sean Canfield. Max Hall. Bill Stull. This is a list of quarterbacks still on the board when the Titans picked Rusty Smith.
Smith is a quarterback who was projected to finish the draft process as an unrestricted free agent.
He had a passer rating of over 135 his senior year, but it was obviously a result of playing against inferior competition.
If Smith ends up being successful, GM Mike Reinfeldt will look like a genius. If Smith performs like most project him to, this selection will be seen as the definition of a draft-day choke job by the Titans front office.
Pick Grade: F
Myron Rolle, Strong Safety, Florida State
As you can probably tell, I am analyzing these picks as they occur.
Myron Rolle falls in the draft because of question marks about his commitment to football. Before the Titans picked him, Trent Dilfer had some really good insight about the whole situation.
Rolle dropped because GMs wanted football to be priority one, two, and three in his life. Dilfer said he would rather have Rolle and his second and third priorities in academics than other players who have second and third priorities in partying and video games.
Rolle provides amazing value as a mid-round prospect the Titans were able to acquire with the last pick of the sixth round.
All of a sudden, the safety position as a whole looks very good for the Tennessee Titans.
Pick Grade: A
Marc Mariani, Wide Receiver, Montana
This is pretty much the only thing I could find on Marc Mariani:
The Titans only have two running backs on the roster after trading Lendale White. With LeGarrette Blount still on the board, this selection doesn't make much sense, especially having nine wide receivers currently on the roster including Damian Williams.
Mariani seems like another Dominique Edison: a receiver who dominated competing against second-tier talent. I don't hate the player; I hate who was passed on for the player.
Pick Grade: D
David Howard, Defensive Tackle, Brown
Second pick in a row that almost definitely will not make the 53-man roster. Again, I can't see how the Titans can pass up LeGarrette Blount with a need at running back, and Leroy Vann with a need at kick returner.
The Titans have four defensive tackles on the roster and none are in danger of being cut.
It's hard to get any kind of production out of a seventh-round pick. The opportunity presented itself, but the Titans didn't take advantage.
Just like the last pick, I don't hate the player; I hate who was passed on for the player.
Pick Grade: D
Questionable late round picks do not take away from the outstanding selections made earlier in the draft. The Titans come away from the weekend with six legit prospects that all have an excellent chance to make an impact in their rookie seasons.
I can't wait till the preseason.
Tennessee Titans 2010 Draft Class Grade: A
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