The Tennessee Titans, and new general manager Jon Robinson specifically, have stolen the headlines this offseason with two trades that no one saw coming. But it’s all for naught if they do not hit on the multitude of picks they have acquired for the upcoming draft.
Today we discuss the top 10 draft picks in franchise history. Please keep in mind that draft picks that were selected by the Titans (1999-2015) are the only ones eligible for this list.
Now lets get started….
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10. Vince Young (QB) 2006
Yes, that Vince Young. While most people focus solely on his unceremonious departure from the team, we quickly forget Young’s impact and accomplishments after being selected third overall in the 06 draft. Inserted into the starting lineup midway through his rookie season, VY led a no-name, 0-6 team to within a game of the playoffs that year. He followed that up by leading the Titans to the playoffs the following season. Two time Pro Bowler and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Young re-energized a fan base that had just witnessed the demolition of the Steve McNair, Eddie George era of the franchise the year before. He finished his career in Tennessee with a 31-19 record as the starting quarterback.
9. Alterraun Verner (CB) 2010
Drafted in the fourth round, Verner gave the Titans a return on their modest investment during his four year stint with the team. His stellar 2013 season (co-led the AFC in interceptions) earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl, as well as the All Pro roster (second team). Most impressively, Verner never missed a game in his Titans career. He signed with Tampa Bay that offseason after Tennessee low balled him in contract negotiations.
8. Cortland Finnegan (CB) 2006
Tennessee found a sixth round gem in Finnegan in 2006, who quickly earned a reputation as a fierce competitor and ferocious hitter early in his career. Finnegan went on to become a Pro Bowler and first team All Pro player in 2008, but is most known for getting sucker punched by Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson during a game in Houston.
7. Jurrell Casey (DE) 2011
The mammoth third round pick out of USC is one of the bright young defensive players in the league. The 2015 Pro Bowler has 28 career sacks, and wreaked havoc for the Titans in both the 4-3 and 3-4 scheme. Run stopper, pass rusher, Casey can do it all. He will be heavily counted on once again this season in Tennessee.
6. Michael Griffin (S) 2007
Tennessee had the worst defense in the league in 2006. And that’s not hyperbole, they were ranked 32nd. After selecting Griffin in the first round of the 2007 draft the Titans improved to 5th. Coincidence? Not likely. Griffin went on to earn Pro Bowl spots in 2008 and 2010, and was also a first team All Pro in 2010. He missed just three games in his nine year career in Tennessee, and was second on the team in tackles last season (101). Avery Williamson had 102. Griffin signed with Minnesota after being released by the the Titans this offseason. The Vikings visit Nissan Stadium in this year’s season opener.
5. Michael Roos (OT) 2005
Roos was the anchor of the Titans offensive line for ten seasons, and started 148 games for Tennessee. A model of consistency, the 2nd round pick was a Pro Bowler in 2008, as well as a first team All Pro tackle that year. Roos was also a second team All Pro tackle the following season. He retired as a beloved Titan in 2015.
4. Albert Haynesworth (DT) 2002
The gargantuan defensive tackle out of the University of Tennessee didn’t have far to move after being selected by the Titans in the first round of the 2002 draft, and his play (along with his mean streak) intensified each year thereafter. Haynesworth was a two time Pro Bowler and two time first team All Pro defensive tackle in 2007 and 2008, and earned the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2008 as well. He was simply unblockable in that two year span, and was a key figure in Tennessee’s back to back playoff appearances in 07 and 08. He signed a monster free agent deal with the Redskins that offseason, and things went downhill for him from that point forward.
3. Keith Bulluck (LB) 2000
When Keith Bulluck was drafted with the 30th overall pick of the 2000 draft, he entered a locker room full of talent on both sides of the ball. When he was finally inserted into the starting lineup in 2003, Bulluck never looked back…becoming a Pro Bowler and first team All Pro linebacker that season. He went on to lead the team in tackles five times, and led the entire league in tackles in 2004. His propensity to make the biggest plays on the biggest stage earned him the nickname “Mr. Monday Night”. He still holds the Titans’ record for interceptions in one season by a linebacker.
2. Chris Johnson (RB) 2008
Running back was not a pressing need for the Titans in the first round of the 2008 draft, but they took a chance on him when he was available at pick 24. Johnson rewarded Tennessee’s leap of faith with an electrifying rookie season. He went on to become the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2000 yards the following season…earning the name CJ2K. Three time Pro Bowler (2008-2010), NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2009, and a host of highlight reel runs over his 8 year career makes Johnson one of the best selections in franchise history. He finished with 9,442 rushing yards, 2,212 receiving yards, and 63 total touchdowns with the Titans before ultimately being released in 2014.
1. Jevon Kearse (DE) 1999
Jevon Kearse, the newly named franchise’s first ever draft pick (16th overall). Kearse’s size, speed, and unfathomable athleticism earned him the nickname “The Freak”. But that wasn’t the only thing that he earned. His presence was immediately felt as he made one jaw dropping play after another his rookie season. He went on to become the AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year, the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, a Pro Bowler, and an All Pro….his first time out of the gate. Not to mention the fact that he broke the NFL rookie sack record that season. His relentless pass rush turned the perennial 8-8 Tennessee Oilers into the AFC Champion Titans…in just one season. He also earned Pro Bowl roster spots the following two seasons before injuries took a toll on him. Anyone who has followed the Titans since day one knows the cultural impact that Kearse had on the franchise, and the city of Nashville.