|2008 Tennessee Titans Draft Analysis
Apr 27, 2008
On Monday, the "experts" will give the Titans a grade on their draft even though everyone knows it'll be 2011 before enough time has passed to truly evaluate this weekend's selections. But that won't keep anyone from passing judgement on Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt including us. So let's look at the Titans draft picks along with the pros and cons of each selectio
Round 1, #24 - Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina
Pros: Johnson has speed and lots of it with the fastest 40 of the combine. He compares to Reggie Bush as being a weapon as both a RB and WR. He's the perfect compliment to the powerful-rushing style of LenDale White. Fisher said the goal of this draft was offensive speed and weapons for Vince Young which makes this an excellent pick. Add to the mix his return abilities and the Titans have someone opponents must scheme to stop which takes pressure off of Young. Best thing is he'll contribute immediately.
Cons: Every WR was on the board when the Titans picked. As bad as the Titans needed a true #1 WR, they decided invest a high pick again at RB. No doubt Johnson can be a weapon but there are legitimate questions concerning his durability and the competition he faced at ECU. This pick also means the Titans are admitting the choice of Chris Henry just a year ago was a waste. Henry should be the third down, change-of-pace RB they've drafted Johnson to be. Even if they plan on keeping Henry for certain packages, the Titans have now invested high picks towards one position in the last three drafts.
Round 2, #23 (54) - Jason Jones, DE, Eastern Michigan
Pros: Replaces the loss of Antwan Odom. He should end up being the solution on run down keeping Jevon Kearse fresh for passing downs. He also has DT experience and may be able to work inside since he has solid run-stuffing skills. Jones appears to be very fast and quick for a man his size with the frame to add more bulk. He also played basketball which is an example of his athleticism.
Cons: Some say his is a 'tweener and will question the competition he faced in the Mid-American Conference. Some say he lacks the bulk to be strong as a DT and lacks the explosiveness at DE. He appears raw and will need time to develop his technique. Here, like in the first, a number of WRs projected to be gone early in the second round were available. The Titans could have moved up and had Limas Sweed who went off the board just one pick ahead.
Round 3, #22 (85) - Craig Stevens, TE, California
Pros: An excellent blocker with good hands. He's a high-character guy and team captain with the Bears. Stevens gives Young another weapon, especially in the red zone. At 4.59, he has good speed and appears extremely durable. He replaces the duties of Ben Hartsock. He also appears to have upside.
Cons: With all the other needs the Titans had, a blocking TE doesn't seem to be a key need or be the best player on the board. The Titans could have packaged one of their fourth-round picks and gone up to get Early Doucet or Earl Bennett. Andre Caldwell and Mario Manningham were both still available.
Round 4, #4 (103) - William Hayes, DL, Winston-Salem State
Pros: Has 4.6 speed as a 258 pounder. Reports are he has freakish abilities who was rising fast on the charts of many teams after his workout.
Cons: The Titans gave up their fifth-round pick to move up 21 spots for a player most felt was a late-round pick at best. Mel Kiper had him ranked the 66th DE on his board. Unless the Titans plan on moving Jones to DT, it's hard to imagine why the Titans reached for this pick so early. You have to question his production when the opponents he faced was in the 1AA Independents Conference. Hayes is said to be very raw and doesn't play with explosiveness on every snap. At best, he appears to be a situational pass rusher and was the biggest head scratcher of the draft for the Titans.
Round 4, #27 (126) - Lavelle Hawkins, WR, California
Pros: A very athletic player who is faster than his timed speed of 4.52. Was a top 100 recruit coming out of high school and was very productive his senior year. Hawkins is said to be elusive and runs well after the catch. Kiper had him in his top 25 college players entering his senior year. He also had an excellent Senior Bowl. He also may have return skills and may compliment the receivers already on the Titans roster. He's been compared to Steve Smith and a few mocks had him as high a the late-second or third round.
Cons: Hawkins is said to be sloppy with his routes and shys from contact. Some have questioned his work ethic. Though productive, he was inconsistent. Many feel he is a boom-or-bust type player. It's hard to be critical of this selection as it appears one of the better values of the Titans' draft. But it also appears Hawkins is a long way from being the deep threat the Titans desperately needed from this draft.
Round 4, #35 (134) - Stanford Keglar, OLB, Purdue
Pros: Nice workout numbers with 4.64 speed. Keglar is said to be an extremely hard worker and will contribute immediately on special teams. Keglar has a big motor and is extremely smart. He may project as a MLB and will probably be looked to back up each LB spot.
Cons: Some have said he doesn't play to his combine numbers and doesn't shed blockers well. It's hard to argue taking a special teamer who can provide depth here.
ound 7, #22 (229) - Cary Williams, CB, Washburn
Pros: Outstanding size/speed combination. Was a solid kick returner averaging 28.6 yards and two TDs on 17 attempts. Also has coverage skills. Is said to be best suited for the zone. Has good hands and has been mentioned as someone who could be converted to WR.
Cons: Williams doesn't show much recovery speed and is very weak due to not liking the weight room. He also doesn't take well to hard coaching. The seventh is when teams take a shot on someone with potential and Williams appears to fall into that category.