View From Across the Pond – The Class of 2011
COLIN McCARTHY – 4th Round – Linebacker
McCarthy has been one of the standouts of pre-season. With a real need to strengthen this area of the team, the coaching staff were keen to recruit some veteran experience, hence the hiring of Barret Ruud from Tampa. But he is only on a one year contract, and if McCarthy continues to perform as he has done in the exhibition games it may be a short stay in Nashville for Ruud. The former USC man has been the top tackler in pre-season and looks ready to make an impact.
JAMIE HARPER – 4th Round – Running Back
If there was one real beneficiary of Chris Johnson’s hold out then the Clemson running back is the man. CJ2K’s contract dispute coupled with an injury to Javon Ringer thrust Harper into the limelight and he didn’t disappoint. 4.4 yards a carry showed he has potential and with three touchdowns he certainly showed he knows where the end-zone is. 35 catches in his final year at college show he is capable of being a viable target for the QB’s and his one catch was for 24 yards in pre-season. With Johnson perhaps being rusty in the early weeks, the Titans should have no qualms in handing the ball to Harper if the need arises.
KARL KLUG – 5th Round – Defensive Lineman
Perhaps the surprise packet of pre-season, the Iowa lineman has thrust himself into the limelight. Two sacks including one for a safety against New Orleans have seen him pushing to force his way into the starting line-up. While he may not manage that, he has proved himself to be good enough to be a very competent back-up.
BYRON STINGILY – 6th Round – Offensive Tackle
The trenches of the offensive line are the one area of the game I struggle to analyse. Unless the guy is punching big holes, it is a dark art that I don’t understand fully. I can honestly not say if Stingily has made an impact or not, but his third place on the depth chart would suggest not. Until I know more, I will have to reserve judgement.
ZACH CLAYTON – 7th Round – Defensive Tackle
With the impressive performances of the other defensive linemen in the draft it would be easy to overlook the contribution of Clayton. He has made a few tackles and picked up a sack and will be happy to have earned a place on the roster. He was selected to add depth to the tackles and he has done enough to show that he is good enough to do just that.
TOMMIE CAMPBELL – 7th Round – Cornerback
Undoubtedly the story of the pre-season. The man who worked at Pittsburgh International Airport to pay his way through college has been the Cinderella man of the Titans Draft Class. A big play in each of the last three games there was none bigger than his pick six against Chicago which clinched the win. He has done enough to earn a spot on Special Teams and will provide back-up to the corners. A native of Aliquippa in Pensylvania, he becomes the latest graduate of the town’s high school to reach the NFL, following in the footsteps of Darrelle Revis, Tony Dorsett and Mike Ditka amongst others.
All in all Mike Munchak can be pretty happy with his first NFL Draft. None of his picks have been busts and everyone of them looks capable of contributing to the side over the next 17 weeks. How much of an impact they can make in Week One against Jacksonville is yet to be seen, but I for one can’t wait for the big kick-off. And with the teams in the AFC South seemingly in turmoil, a season which may have been about consolidating and planning for the future could yet be extended into the play-offs.