Already eight games through the 2012 NFL season, this season seems to have gone by faster than any other. That might be because I’d like to forget most of the first half of the season. Right now, the Tennessee Titans are staring at a season that is slipping away from their hands. It’s easy to attribute that unsuccessful-ness to Jake Locker’s injury, which has essentially chalked this year up as a lost one for our franchise quarterback.
With that said, let’s check in on how our prized possessions of our most recent draft are panning out so far…
WR Kendall Wright
He’s easily been our most important receiver and has been while struggling a bit. A number of drops has put a bit of a damper on a really good start to the season, but he’s come on lately. This past week, Wright made an incredible, acrobatic catch in the left side of the end zone, somehow keeping his feet in. But that’s not the first time he’s made a clutch play. The Baylor product leads the NFL in catches on third down, as well as catches on third down that go for a first down. I expect him to continue his good play and become even more consistent.
OLB Zach Brown
The Titans came into the season with high hopes for Brown, while fans believed he was more of a project at LB. He was forced into a starting spot one game into the season and responded more than well enough in week 2. Against the Chargers, he racked up 10 combined tackles to go along with a sack and a forced fumble. That’s pretty good for someone who’s “allergic to contact”. Right, Mike Mayock? Other than that game, he’s had to start in most games due to injuries to Colin McCarthy and Will Witherspoon and he’s filled in pretty admirably. The more reps for him, the better going forward.
DT Mike Martin
It’s looking like this pick will be another gem of a pick at defensive tackle for the Titans brass. They just seem to know defensive tackles. Last year’s picks of Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug panned out greatly, and Martin looks in line to make the front office look smart again. A muscular behemoth in the middle, the Michigan man has progressively gotten better, gaining more playing time as the season has gone. Pro Football Focus has him graded as one of the better run stopping DT’s in the league. In addition to being a run-stuffer, he’s also added two sacks. Great pick.
CB Coty Sensabaugh
A great cover corner at Clemson, many didn’t know Sensabaugh when we drafted him. So far, he hasn’t had many snaps on defense, but has had a couple in the last few weeks due to Tommie Campbell’s injury. More special teams stud than anything as of now, he’s making his presence felt on kickoffs and punts. I always see him around the returner, and that may have something to do with his instincts as a cornerback. He’ll continue to contribute greatly to a very solid special teams. Just don’t expect him to make an impact on defense this year. Next year is another story.
TE Taylor Thomspon
A raw prospect in the truest sense of the word, he hasn’t been able or had the chance to make a contribution on offense. In week 2 against the Chargers, he underestimated Jake Locker’s arm and under ran the throw. That said, he’s been pretty good on special teams. Here’s proof: his block to spring Darius Reynaud for a kickoff return for touchdown. He probably won’t do anything on offense this year, but he has the size, speed and athleticism to turn into a productive tight end if he puts the time in.
DE Scott Solomon
Barely a rotational defensive end, he’s made two lone tackles on the year. He has a motor, so he has a chance. We’ve yet to see it, but the jury is definitely still out.
DT DaJohn Harris
A big body in the middle of the defensive line, he also hasn’t gotten many snaps. Undrafted because of a heart problem, he made the team out of training camp and has contributed two tackles like Solomon. Expect to see him improve in the future, but maybe not this year.
OL Beau Brinkley
Our new long snapper, he’s done a fantastic job of not flinging the ball over the kicker or punter’s heads. Something to be thankful for.
The rookies have done a good job incorporating themselves into the present, not settling on being the “future”. There will be bumps in the road, but nearly every rookie has improved at least a little bit since the start of preseason. That improvement should continue for the rest of the year, and carry on into next year. I know it’s early to say, but I think the Titans’ drafters got it right once again.
Fortunately, that’s becoming a recurring theme.