Saturday, May 07, 2011

Titans 2011 Draft Recap

Another April weekend, another NFL draft. As I try to do every year, it's time for me to put down my idiosyncratic, pessimistic, snarky thoughts on the players the Tennessee Titans drafted this year. That way, in 6 years when it's time to pass judgment on how the picks actually performed on the year, I can claim plaudits or you can laugh at how silly my predictions were. Players names are links to the relevant Total Titans post. No trades to consider this year, so you won't see any of that analysis.

#1-8: Jake Locker, QB, Washington
A.k.a. the pick by which the Titans draft will be judged in the future, rightly or wrongly. I've been a personal fan of Locker since early in his Washington career, but right now he's not accurate enough to be a good NFL quarterback and I'm skeptical of the idea of spending a first-round pick on a player who's not accurate enough and may never be accurate enough. I'll still be rooting like heck for him, though.

#2-39: Akeem Ayers, LB, UCLA
Hello, defensive makeover in progress. Ayers was seen as more of a 3-4 linebacker prospect than a 4-3, as he moved around a little bit for the Bruins. DC Jerry Gray said he plans to use him more as a true Sam linebacker, a position the Titans haven't used much lately. Personally, I thought the Titans and Cowboys, who picked UNC LB Bruce Carter with the next pick, would've been better off with the other team's pick.

#3-77 Jurrell Casey, DT, USC
The Titans' raid on the Pac-10 continues. Some people loved Casey, others were more skeptical. I didn't think the Titans had a need a defensive tackle really at all, and a third-round pick seems like a real luxury for somebody who'll play inside. I hope it's a good pick, but who's the last USC player to live up to or exceed his draft status. Brian Cushing as a roided-up rookie, but beyond him, Steve Smith-WR-NYG, and there've been several others since then.

#4-109 LB Colin McCarthy, Miami-FL
I don't have strong feelings on McCarthy. Hopefully he'll prove useful, but his injury history suggests he might not be. Might be an MLB-OLB tweener, so I'll be curious to see just how the Titans use him.

#4-130 Jamie Harper, RB, Clemson
A bigger back who doesn't always use his size effectively or run with the power you'd think he'd have. Gee, where have I ever heard that one before. Prediction: he'll get 300 more carries than he should over his first two years, and has less than 100 carries for a team other than the Titans. I really hope I'm wrong about that, but hitting on Chris Johnson seems more like random luck than any sort of evidence the Titans know what they're doing when it comes to running backs. Yes, I know the front office and staff hasn't been the same the whole time, but the stink permeates the organization.

#5-142 Karl Klug, DL, Iowa
I liked him better when his name was Mitch King and he was an undrafted free agent and not a fifth-round pick. Granted, it was still stupid to pay King one of the top signing bonuses given to a UDFA that year when he couldn't have been more than the 10th defensive lineman on your team. I guess there's a chance with the defensive makeover Klug could be the 7th or 8th defensive lineman on the team, but he wouldn't be higher than 10th on a team with a real defensive line. Looks like a wasted pick.

#6-175 Byron Stingily, OL, Louisville
Whee, a developmental tackle prospect. Hopefully he'll pan out, but no great shakes if he doesn't.

#7-212 Zach Clayton, DT, Auburn
Let me get this straight: the Titans come into the draft with four decent defensive linemen, then draw three more? Something does not compute here. I'll try to do a Total Titans post figuring how the mess will shake out, but Clayton's a DT, not even a potential DE tweener like Klug. Another real WTF pick.

#7-251 Tommie Campbell, DB, California-PA
Another guy with a pretty good story-not quite Todd Williams, but still making the best of what he can after throwing away some opportunity early. I'm not opposed to fliers on seventh-round defensive backs.

But if this draft is going to work out, Chris Palmer and Dowell Loggains are going to have to do some very good work with Locker and Jerry Gray is going to have to sort out a mess of defensive players in a way that makes a lot of sense. Otherwise, this draft is going to go down the toilet like 2006's mostly did.

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