Tennessee Titans Draft Prospects : Wide Recievers
By Nick Bishop
The Titans do not draft wide receivers in the first round. The last time they did was in 1998, when they selected Kevin Dyson out of Utah with the 16th pick. Sure he played the biggest part in two of the franchises most memorable plays (scored the TD in the “Music City Miracle” – yeah!, but came up a yard short of a TD in Super Bowl XXXIV in the play known as “The Tackle – boo!), but he was, for the most part, a bust. Call them gunshy, conservative or even underappreciative of the position, but for one reason or another, the Titans view the wideouts much differently than most NFL teams. It’s hard to disagree with them too much given their track record, but what team isn’t usually made better with the addition of a top flight WR? That is, on the field, not in the locker room. Still, I do not expect the Titans to consider a WR in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the top prospects in this year’s draft.
Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech – By far the best WR on the board and likely a top-5 pick. He will be long gone by the time the Titans are on the clock. Aww shucks…
Jeremy Maclin, Missouri – Considered by most to be the second best WR in this class. Has blazing speed and very good hands. Will need to work on his route running if he wants to make it at the next level, but always a threat to take it to the house when he gets in space. Probably won’t make it past Oakland with the 7th pick.
Darius Heyward-Bey, Maryland – Heyward-Bey may have the most upside of any of the receivers with his size (6’2″, 210) to speed (4.3 40 at the combine) ratio, but he is one of the more unpolished top WR prospects in this draft. His skill set alone will likely make him a mid-to-late first round pick. Love the potential, but it’s hard to tell how guys like this will pan out.
Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina – You hear a lot of comparisons to Michael Irvin with this guy, which is quite the compliment if we’re talking about on-field production. If it’s how much cocaine one can ingest while sitting in traffic on I-35, well that’s a whole ‘nother story. Nicks is another project that will likely go in the late first round, who possesses a huge frame and great hands with the ability to go across the middle and fight off defenders. And if he can make catches like this one for the next decade, we’ll be calling future prospects the “next Hakeem Nicks”. That is, minus the cocaine problem. We hope…
Percy Harvin, Florida – Quite possibly the most explosive prospect in this class, Harvin should instantly provide the team who takes him with one helluva playmaker. He is a little rough around the edges as far as WR’s go, but Harvin spent a lot of time in the backfield at Florida, so the versatility is absolutely there. The best comparison is to the way that New Orleans has deployed Reggie Bush in that offense. Harvin will have to learn how to run better routes if he is going to succeed in the NFL. He seems to be the most common pick in mock drafts that have the Titans taking a receiver, and his play-making ability, combined with Chris Johnson’s would certainly be a tandem that would force teams to take notice. Still, I don’t see the Titans going receiver in the first round.
Kenny Britt, Rutgers – If there is a receiver that has risen the fatest on most draft boards it would have to be Britt. Just a few months ago, he was considered a second, maybe even third round pick, but his overall skill set (huge frame, great hands) and his body of work in college (3 years/3,043 yards receiving/17 TD’s/14 100-yard games) has caught the attention of many scouts. Upside may be a bit limited with him, but outside of Crabtree, he may be the most ready to take his game to the NFL.
All of these guys are projected as first round picks, but so were Malcolm Kelly, Limas Sweed and Devin Thomas in last year’s draft. And none of them were actually the first WR taken. Donnie Avery was with the 33rd overall pick to St. Louis. It seems as though teams have begun to move away from going receiver in the first round if guys like Calvin or Andre Johnson, or this year, Michael Crabtree are already off the board. Once the can’t miss picks are gone, you may have just as much luck finding a Pro Bowler in the last round as you do at the end of the first. Just ask the Titans: the best receiver in franchise history, Derrick Mason was a 4th round pick.
How do you feel about the Titans taking a WR in the first round? Would you rather have a big target to roam the middle and move the chains, like Nicks, or would you prefer a burner, like Harvin, who has the ability to score every time he touches the ball? Any late round sleepers that should be of interest? Do tell…