Titans 2012 Draft Recap
It’s past time for another annual tradition. The Titans draft a bunch of players I know somewhere been a fairly decent amount and almost nothing about, then I write idiosyncratic, pessimistic, and snarky comments about them. For an example of what that’s looked like in the past, see this post on last year’s draft class. The post also serves a purpose for me, in that I have a roughly contemporaneous record of what I thought the Titans should do in the draft. When I do a six-year recap in 2018, I can look back on what I wrote at the time, and give myself plaudits for how awesome and foresightful I was. Player names are links to the relevant Total Titans post.
#1-20: WR Kendall Wright, Baylor
I wrote at Total Titans before the draft that I didn’t want the Titans to draft a receiver in the first round. I did the writeup for Total Titans, which is not particularly optimistic or happy. I did a second post the next morning, adding some more perspective that was somewhat more accepting. Fundamentally, I still believe in what I wrote before the draft. If the Titans have Kenny Britt, they’ll be fine. If they don’t have Kenny Britt, they’re in trouble, and Wright isn’t the player who can be the difference between winning and losing. Upgrading WR2 should not have been a priority given the paucity of outstanding defensive players. I would’ve been fine with David DeCastro, Chandler Jones, Nick Perry, even Whitney Mercilus, or trading back if there was an interested party.
#2-52: LB Zach Brown, North Carolina
This is probably on the top of my head because of Dwight Jones quitting football a couple weeks after declaring he was the next Andre Johnson, but North Carolina’s draft record is starting to approach that of Texas. I was actually really happy here. After pick 50, both Jerel Worthy and Devon Still were on the board, and I would have been very happy had the Titans selected either player. The Packers traded up to 51, I assume because they wanted to get ahead of the Titans and get their choice of the two. They did indeed select Worthy, and Still was right there for the picking. The Titans of course picked a linebacker who doesn’t like contact but runs really fast, especially in shorts. Nicknamed “pillow hands,” and it’s one he earned by his play. Had I known the Titans were going to draft a linebacker, I would have preferred if they’d selected Lavonte David.
#3-82: DT Mike Martin, Michigan
A one-gap shade nose tackle. I thought he could be a candidate for the Texans in the third, more likely the fourth round. He is what he is. I think he’ll be decent, but don’t see a lot of upside in his game. In the third round, I want more. It’s also very hard philosophically to square the Martin pick (very good player, limited, not a lot of upside) with the choice of Brown (not very good player, great athlete). As for what the Titans could have done instead, I wasn’t locked on to any player. Had I know they were going DT, I would’ve guessed Brandon Thompson rather than Martin.
#4-115: CB Coty Sensabaugh, Clemson
Or, “let’s find a guy most people think is about a sixth-round value and overdraft him!” Fine, this isn’t quite as bad as A.J. Smith taking Jonas Mouton in the second-round last year, but it was a bit much. I wasn’t watching the draft at this point and didn’t have strong feelings on who the Titans should take. Had I known they were choosing a cornerback, I would’ve guessed Brandon Boykin. On the whole, though, I think the Titans have earned a certain level of deference when choosing later-round cornerbacks. Or at least they had; no idea about the new regime.
#5-145 TE Taylor Thompson, SMU
If Sensabaugh was kind of a mix pick between the Martin and Brown molds, Thompson is like an in extremis version of Brown. They drafted him to play tight end, and he’ll clearly be a tight end, but he played defensive end in college. This is a total Floyd Reese pick, drafting an athlete who has the raw physical tools to play a position, but you’ll have to teach him how to play virtually from the ground up. This was a very high-risk move. I also need to add that the Titans gave up their own fifth- and seventh-round picks to take Thompson. Also, nobody on the team has played more than maybe 15 snaps at right guard in the NFL regular season. GM Ruston Webster did mention in a post-draft presser the Titans were considering an offensive lineman, but the players they liked went off the board about this time in the draft. I’m guessing Adam Gettis, who went 141st, unless Webster’s pulling a fast one and mentioning one of the three guards who went between the Thompson pick and the Titans’ natural fifth-round slot at 155.
#6-190 S Markelle Martin, Oklahoma State
In the words of Russ Lande, safeties like Martin who are inconsistent in college generally do not begin to play consistently when they go to the NFL. I screamed about this pick on twitter when it happened, and Chris of Smart Football noted Martin was a pretty good college player. Chris is, of course, right, and sixth-round picks come with lowered expectations. If Martin was a consistent player, he might have gone three or four rounds earlier. Still, this was at the time the Titans’ last pick in the draft, and they hadn’t drafted a right guard or a developmental center. Considering I expected the Titans to draft two offensive linemen, and thought they should’ve drafted two offensive linemen, I was not a happy camper.
#7-211 DE Scott Solomon, Rice
Yes, they traded back into the draft, giving up a sixth-round pick in 2013. Webster noted after the draft that the likely receiving of compensatory picks played a factor in their willingness to give up a pick this year. That’s fine, but Solomon looks maybe 50-50 to get a roster spot, and is not an offensive lineman. Maybe this is just like the David Howard pick, and Solomon is basically an expensive priority free agent. Whatever.
Just for the record, here were my pre-draft percentage chances of drafting at each position, along with the total number of players the Titans draft at each position.
QB: 10% (0)
RB: 20% (0)
WR: 50% (1)
TE: 10% (1)
OT: 0.1% (0)
OG/C: 99% (0)
DE: 70% (1)
DT: 90% (1)
LB: 50% (1)
CB: 80% (1)
S: 80% (1)
Aside from OL, which is a huge freakin’ caveat, that looks pretty good if I may say so myself.