Titans 2008 Draft Recap
The 2008 NFL draft was this weekend. Somehow, the Titans’ entire front office didn’t go on a bender and miss the draft. Go on a bender, maybe… Let’s take a look at the Titans’ picks:
#1-24: Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina
For the third time in the past three seasons, the Titans spend a first or second round pick on a running back. Why the hell would you do that? Most running backs are about as good as the next running back; how much difference is there, really, between LenDale White and a street free agent? Johnson’s a pure speed guy. Unfortunately, they drafted one of those last year in the second round, in Chris Henry. Maybe taking an upgraded version of a terrible draft pick will be a success, but I doubt it. A reach, and an absolutely moronic pick. This is the football equivalent of doubling down on a hard 14; it might pay off, but it’s a really stupid thing to do.
#2-54: Jason Jones, DE, Eastern Michigan
A significantly less terrible pick than Johnson, Jones: (a) plays at a position of need, and (b) adds a quality the Titans don’t have. He should immediately be part of the DE rotation with Kearse opposite KVB, and should be a decent run defender. Granted, they might have taken Jones 15 or 30 picks too early, but he should be a decent player.
#3-85: Craig Stevens, TE, Cal
With their 3rd round pick, the Titans took a blocking TE who’s not much of a receiving threat. Let me just summarize the Titans’ investment in their offense this draft:
1. 1st round pick on a running back largely duplicative to running back bust from last year’s draft. Hates contact. 3rd down back, maybe, but not one who can stay in and do blitz pickup.
2. 3rd round pick on a tight end who doesn’t present a receiving threat. Also, 3 TEs already on roster, 2 of whom expect to start.
It’s not that I have anything against Stevens, really, but jeez o’ pete, this is a waste of a draft pick. Jeff Fisher hates offense, and his running game enthusiasm is a horrible, blinding character flaw, and holds his team back. Days like this weekend are why I’m so, so, SO happy the Titans are now stuck with him for 5+ years.
#4-103: William Hayes, DE, Winston-Salem State
William Hayes will forever be the answer to a trivia question: who was the first guy not invited to the Combine drafted in the 2008 draft. That’s not a recommendation. Read the linked-to Total Titans post, and you’ll see everything I know. From what I’ve read, I haven’t seen anything that makes me think Hayes shouldn’t have been taken where guys who aren’t invited to the Combine are normally taken: in the 6th or 7th round or not at all. Fisher claimed in an interview with NFL Network that several teams said they would have taken him shortly after the Titans did. You’re free to believe that, if you want.
#4-126: Lavelle Hawkins, WR, Cal
The Titans finally draft a WR. This is the Pacman pick, so you’ve turned an All-Pro-quality CB and returner into a system WR who’s a questionable route-runner and doesn’t do anything particularly well. Oh, and he was only really productive when the opposing team was really scared about the guy on the other side. The NFL isn’t quite the NBA, where doing one thing superlatively well will get you a roster spot, and I have no reason to believe Hawkins will be noticeably worse than any other 4th round WR, but nor do I have any reason to think he’ll be actually, y’know, decent, let alone good.
#4-134: Stanford Keglar, OLB, Purdue
Finally some OLB depth, and probably a useful special teams guy. I know I saw a decent bit of Purdue this year, living in B10 country, but I have nothing interesting to say about Keglar. I will say, though, that I don’t enjoy typing “Keglar”; I don’t spell it wrong every time like I do “monopoly,” but it annoys me.
#7-229: Cary Williams, CB, Washburn
So, the Titans spend a flier 7th round pick on a fast CB who got kicked off of Fordham. At least one of the coaches like him enough to recommend him to Washburn.
Maybe I’ve been a little negative here, but I believe the Titans, for the third straight year, had a really bad draft, and what little optimism I had was dimmed by this weekend’s events. I didn’t burn my jersey yet, like I considered after the Johnson pick, but by far the best news of draft weekend is inking Michael Roos to a big extension.
UPDATE (4/29 2057 CT): Thanks to the News-Record sports blog for linking to me in their post “Here’s Motivation for William Hayes”. My pessimism above notwithstanding, I’m still a Titans fan and am rooting for him to succeed. If his success means hoisting me on my own petard, well, that’s what you get for making judgments based on imperfect information. My thanks also for not putting a [sic] on my thing/think typo (now fixed).