Ranking the five best Tennessee Titans wide receivers to ever grace the two-tone blue since the team became the Titans in 1999.
The Tennessee Titans are starting minicamp soon after wrapping up OTAs, and the news from the team right now is scarce. Most Titans news at the moment revolves around rumors, such as the Eric Decker situation. It’s only a matter of time before actual football starts.
While we bring you plenty of notes from the things happening around the team, this period allows us to travel back in time and look at the franchise’s past. We’ve already brought you the quarterbacks and running backs. Up next in a series of the best Titans players at every position are the wide receivers.
NOTE: These lists will only feature players that played for the team since they became the Titans in 1999.
5. Kendall Wright (2012-2016)
This might seem surprising when taking into account Wright’s end to his Titans career, but considering the Titans’ receivers over the past decade and a half, Wright belongs on this list.
Drafted 20th overall in 2012, Wright never lived up to his draft slot for a variety of reasons. He was misused by several coaching staffs, struggled with injuries and reportedly clashed with some coaches during his time in Nashville. Within the scope of receivers in two-tone blue, though, his production stands out. He could never replicate his 1,000 yard sophomore campaign, but he ended his Titans career with 3,244 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns through five years.
His 11.6 yards per reception is a good indication of how he was used in Tennessee. A vertical threat at Baylor, Wright was rarely used in the same capacity with the Titans. Still 27 years old, Wright has a chance to start anew in Chicago. We’ll always look back and wonder what could’ve been with Wright, but he was not nearly as bad as many fans believe. He just wasn’t as good as expected given where he was drafted.
4. Kenny Britt (2009-2013)
Another receiver who didn’t live up to his draft slot, Britt’s Tennessee story is quite similar to Wright’s.
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Drafted 30th overall, Britt could never stay healthy. He played in 16 games just once (his rookie year) in his five years with the Titans and ran into some off-the-field trouble during his time in Nashville. When he was on the field, though, Britt was a game-changer. Britt ended up averaging 15.6 yards per reception during his Titans career and catching 19 touchdowns on just 157 receptions. One of those touchdown catches was one of the most memorable in recent Titans history.
Britt was a big play threat for the Titans whenever he was on the field, but it took until he left for him to reach the potential he flashed sporadically. Britt has nearly matched his five-year Titans reception and receiving yardage totals in three years with the Rams. He finally achieved a 1,000 yard season in 2016 at age 28. Like Wright, Titans fans will always ponder what a fully healthy and focused Britt would’ve looked like.
3. Nate Washington (2009-2014)
Signed in free agency from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington was brought in to be a deep threat for Kerry Collins (and Vince Young). He ended up being that and much more for the Titans, stringing together six of the most solidly consistent seasons we’ve ever seen from a Titans skill position player. Washington averaged 51 receptions, 765 yards and 4.67 touchdowns per season to go along with 15.0 yards per reception during that span.
Washington was fast, a great route runner, made some spectacular catches and fought hard every single game. It always seemed like whenever the Titans needed a big, important catch to be made, Washington came through. He also never missed a game during his six years in Nashville. The Titans could use another Nate Washington.
2. Drew Bennett (2001-2006)
Undrafted and signed by the Titans in 2001, Bennett ended up having one of the more underrated careers by an undrafted receiver in NFL history. Bennett won himself a role in camp after being an undrafted free agent signing and caught 24 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown in his first season. Bennett’s magnum opus came in 2004, when he caught 80 passes for 1,247 yards and 11 touchdowns as the 1a to Derrick Mason‘s 1b.
Bennett never really came close to replicating that incredible season, but he was effective every season he played for the Titans. He ended up averaging 14.8 yards per reception during his time in Nashville, using his big 6-5 frame to high point balls. He was an inaccuracy eraser and a prime target for Steve McNair.
1. Derrick Mason (1997-2004)
This one is a no-brainer. Used mostly as a kick and punt returner during his first three seasons, Mason didn’t break out until the 2000 season. From 2000-2004, Mason averaged 81 receptions, 1,101 yards and 6.8 touchdowns per season. In 2000, despite becoming a major offensive contributor, Mason continued to return kicks and punts. He led the league in punt return yards and in all-purpose yards.
Mason was an unbelievable route runner with stick-um gloves for hands. At 5-10, 190lb and a fourth round pick, Mason was never expected to be the type of receiver that he was. He exceeded all expectations and ended up being the best receiver the Titans have had since moving to Nashville. Here’s to hoping Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews and/or Taywan Taylor can replicated his impact and production.
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Dyson (solid player, but never lived up to first round hype and struggled with injuries), Justin Gage (miscast as a No. 1 guy for too long, but a reliable receiver), Justin McCareins (left Titans after career season and returned for pedestrian final season), Roydell Williams (underrated player who fell off the map after career season in 2007), Brandon Jones (decent No. 3 option during his four years in Tennessee)