Tennessee Titans: Jon Robinson’s best and worst draft decisions

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 31: Safety Kevin Byard
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 31: Safety Kevin Byard /
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Titans RB, Derrick Henry.
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – JANUARY 19: Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

King’s ransom trade of 2016

Arguably Jon Robinson’s best move of his young general manager career thus far came in his first year as the team’s GM. Robinson decided to swap the No. 1 overall pick for a plethora of picks from the Rams back in 2016.

The Rams, desperate for a franchise quarterback, traded six picks in total to the Titans, including two first-round picks, two second-rounders, and two third-round selections.

The Titans essentially swapped the rights to quarterback Jared Goff for running back Derrick Henry, offensive tackle Jack Conklin, tight end Jonnu Smith, wide receiver Corey Davis, and defensive tackle Austin Johnson.

Of all those players the Titans selected with those picks, four of them eventually became full-time starters, meanwhile Johnson became a key rotational player.

The real cream of the crop here is Henry. Tennessee selected the former Heisman Trophy-winning running back with the 45th overall pick. Every year Henry has consistently taken a step towards becoming a true workhorse back, and he finally achieved that goal in 2019.

The Titans’ running back won the NFL rushing title after running for 1,540 yards during the regular season. He then went bananas in January by rushing for 446 yards in his team’s three playoff games.

Henry finished his 2019 season/postseason with an absurd 1,986 rushing yards and 21 total touchdowns (18 rushing, two receiving, and one passing).

Prior to making the trade that ultimately landed Henry among others, there were plenty of rumors out there at the time that the Titans were heavily considering cornerback Jalen Ramsey, EDGE Joey Bosa or offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil had they stuck with their original pick.

All of them are fantastic players and would have helped improve the team no doubt. However, Robinson found a way to turn a roster that was extremely deficient of talent into a competitive team in his first offseason — and had the team in the playoffs by year two, while also finding their face of the franchise in the process.

That’s something that probably doesn’t happen if the Titans don’t receive the “King’s ransom” that Jon Robinson was undoubtedly looking for and received.