A CB like Logan Ryan could be sitting there in the 4th round. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Why The Titans Shouldn’t Take A Corner Early In The Draft


 

The Titans front office has done a good enough job in free agency that they’ve left the door open to all possibilities in the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft.  Currently everyone is debating which way the Titans should go with their first few picks, and generally base their arguments on the remaining level of need at certain positions.  The current consensus needs at this point are G, DE, CB, LB depth, WR, etc. (feel free to argue this order).

Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty have turned out to be 2 very good starting corners for the Titans.  The emergence of Verner was what allowed the Titans to let Finnegan walk and in turn extend McCourty.  The Titans did however overestimate the abilities of Tommie Campbell heading into 2012.  Verner and McCourty were fine on the outside, but the drop off in play once put into 3-wide situations was huge.  Teams constantly took advantage of the Titans lack of depth at corner and began to expose it in earnest.  Mouton was a complete liability and the rookie Sensabaugh wasn’t quite ready.  Campbell’s inability to focus on the plays meant the Titans couldn’t move Verner inside and let Campbell take the outsides in nickel coverage.

While I feel another CB to play the outside in nickel packages is probably the Titans second highest remaining need, I’m no longer so sure they need to draft one high in the draft.

While doing a bit of research on the Titans past drafts I came to a realization about their cornerbacks.  It seems that their best starting corners did not come from high in the draft.  In fact, it seems that the opposite is true.  Let’s take a look at the Titans starting corners in relation to their draft position over the last 10 years:

  • Samari Rolle – 2nd round, 1998 – awesome.
  • Andre Dyson – 2nd round, 2001 – very good starter for 4 years.
  • Adam Jones – 1st round, 2005 – amazing talent on the field with amazing issues off the field.
  • Reynaldo Hill – 7th round, 2005 – started for 2 years but couldn’t stick
  • Nick Harper, Undrafted via CFL, – started for 3 years towards end of career before becoming a liability, previous starter for Colts
  • Cortland Finnegan – 7th round, 2006 – 5 year starter and excellent corner, received big contract and starts for Rams now.
  • Alterraun Verner – 4th round, 2010 – very good corner on the outside, excellent in nickel. starting for third year.
  • Jason McCourty – 6th round, 2009 – Excellent starting outside corner, took 2 years of development though.
Outside of Rolle and Dyson, who were already on the team in 2003, there hasn’t been a high round pick that has panned out for the Titans at corner in 10 years.  In fact, the only ones that have panned out were mid to late round picks.  The Titans last 3 good starters were picked in the 4th, 6th, and 7th rounds.

Now that we’ve seen where the starters came from, let’s take a look at all the draft picks the Titans have used on a corner in general.  This way we can see the total picture and include those that didn’t pan out.

  • Andre Woolfolk – 1st round, 2003 – never could crack the starting line up except at nickel, continued disappointment.
  • Michael Waddell – 4th round, 2004 – didn’t pan out, special teams player.
  • Ryan Smith – 6th round, 2007 – who?
  • Cary Williams – 7th round, 2008 – waive by the Titans in his 2nd year, the Ravens made him a starter and now he has a ring, recently signed with Eagles.
  • Ryan Mouton – 3rd round, 2009 – let’s just say not good and leave it at that.
  • Tommie Campbell – 7th round, 2011 – all the talent and tangibles you could want, still waiting for his head to get in the game.
  • Coty Sensabaugh  - 4th round, 2012 – played better and better throughout rookie campaign, not yet starter material but only had 1 year.

Obviously the coaches are all different as are the people making personnel decisions.  But it doesn’t seem like there is much evidence that using a high pick at corner is a good way to go.  The only problem with the late round route at this position, is that while the Titans have shown they can develop these players over time, time is not something they have right now.  None of the Titans starters were ready year one out of the gate, which is something that you can hopefully do with a top round pick.

The corner pool is deep this year with only a handful of  players considered top prospects separating themselves.  Assuming Milliner, Trufant, and Rhodes are gone in the second, how long should the Titans wait before taking a shot at that position?  History indicates they should/could wait awhile.

 

You can find me on Twitter  @gunnelsj

 

Tags: 2013 NFL Draft Featured NFL Draft Popular Tennessee Titans Titans

  • http://www.titansized.com/ Justin Stewart

    I don’t know. This year I feel like if they’re going to take a corner, they need to do it early. They’ve got enough project CB’s. I like the top tier guys in this group.

    IDK… We shall see soon enough!

    • josh gunnels

      I’ve had that same feeling for awhile. Working on a “Titans Tea Leaves” post on what they will do vs. what we all think they should do. I say CB in the first!

      • http://www.titansized.com/ Justin Stewart

        Ha ha ha. I can’t wait to read it.

        • James Hayes

          I’m about to turn off my phone ,computer , and unplug the TV ! The suspense of this draft is literally killing me .

          • http://www.titansized.com/ Justin Stewart

            Hang in there!

  • David Fleming

    There’s certainly no correlation between highly drafted corners BY THE TITANS and future success, but many of the top rated corners in the league were 1st round picks. I think that means that either we’re not doing our due diligence in scouting, or we’re not developing those highly drafted corners as well as we should.

    • David Fleming

      But I agree with you Josh. I’m off the Dee Milliner bandwagon after realizing that he’s more of an athlete than playmaking corner. Morris Claiborne was much more polished coming out of LSU. Also, Milliner only has 6 ints during his 3 years at Alabama. That doesn’t scream top-10 pick to me.

    • josh gunnels

      I guess I’m not saying that the top rated corners aren’t good, but that you can get good ones later in the draft. Kind of like the argument everyone uses for running backs these days.

      Milliner/Trufant/ Rhodes may be great, but the Titans have consistently taken mid to late round guys and made them good starters. Therefor no need to use an early pick on them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lesly.calixte.1 Lesly Calixte

    I’ve been thinking and I would like to see the Titans get Star Lotulelei in the first round mainly to help upgrade our terrible run defense. The only alternate pick in this position would be if Dee Millner fell to us at 10 because I feel after him there’s a serious drop in talent and everyone else is pretty much the same and we could get a steal out in the later rounds. Now I’m high on Lotulelei because I can see him collapsing the pocket like Albert haynesworth once did for us, I know we signed sammie hill but I feel like he’s just a space eater and not a real talent like Lotulelei to make a serious push to collapse the interior. Also this will free up Morgan and Wimbley to terrorize QBs from there lack of ability to step up into the pocket. Lotulelei will give us more depth and fresher bodies, I like Karl klug alot and I see them trying to install him as rotational end because the whole get bigger movement the staff are preaching. In the second round I believe in back to back defensive players by adding a end and with the likes of damontre Moore stock dropping from a average performance at the combine to leading him to us in the second round if not I really like cornelius carradine alot only knack on him is that he blew out his knee but medical procedures and treatments have advanced so far this century that athletes come back from acl injuries within a year now instead of ended careers. Either player would be a solid contribute to our sack total and if they play amazing we could get rid of Wimbley next year to save on the cap if he doesn’t perform up to expectations. Now the 3rd round gets interesting since we have two picks here. we could get a corner, another solid end, or a guard I’d prefer a end then a guard but fans might be screaming for a corner at this time but not me. A 3rd round guard would be easier for our hall of fame coaches to coach up than those 6th and 7th prospects. So my fantasy draft would go Star Lotulelei at 10, damontre Moore at 40, cornelius carradine at 70, Brian winters at 97, and the fourth round pick can be on a CB DJ hayden, but I’d rather them trade the rest to either trade up or for future picks because we don’t need 9 picks with the work we did in free agency.

    • josh gunnels

      I can’t say I would be upset with this. I would be happy with either Star or Floyd if they made it to 10. I really don’t want any of the DEs at the top of this draft. G, DT, or CB. anything else i’ll be upset with.

    • josh gunnels

      What you said about a defensive end that can collapse the pocket is dead on. If he can really be that kind of impact player, then the trickle down effect for the rest of the defense is huge. It helps the ends and the secondary immensely.

    • David Fleming

      I’m not as high on Sharrif Floyd as the prognosticators. I know stats aren’t everything by any means, but his college production pales in comparison to Star’s. He only had 4.5 sacks in 3 years, and he has short arms and is undersized. I just don’t see him being as disruptive at the next level, and Star only dropped because the “heart condition” which may not even exist. Medical anomalies happen all the time, so if he falls due to it, it could be to our great benefit.

  • David Fleming

    HAHAHA I just saw Nick Harper’s name and couldn’t stop laughing/getting angry. “Becoming a liability” is a nice way of saying “he flat-out sucked in coverage.” Guy was the bane of my existence. We used to create drinking games around how many receptions/TDs he would allow per game.