Officially Jon Robinson’s team
Ever since Jon Robinson was hired as general manager prior to the 2016 season, he has spent every offseason chipping away at the roster in order to build this Titans team the way that he wants it.
He inherited a team that went 5-27 over a two-year span and had minimal at best talent when he arrived and turned them into an AFC Finalist just a few years later. Robinson has a knack for drafting well due to his experience as a former scout. Those years helped him develop a real eye for talent and the draft classes since his arrival are evident of that.
His tenure as general manager hasn’t been perfect. He has missed on some picks in the past. Nonetheless, the man known as J-Rob doesn’t need to bat a thousand to prove that he’s one of the best general managers in the league — his resume does that for him.
In 2016, he sneakily began to add talent to the roster in order to build a competitive product by acquiring Demarco Murray and Dennis Kelly in separate trades with the Eagles without losing any real assets. His biggest move came when he received a “King’s ransom” deal from the Los Angels Rams for the first overall pick in that years NFL Draft.
That trade allowed him to start building the foundation of this team as he received a plethora of picks over the next two years that eventually turned into legitimate contributors.
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.
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 ultimately received.
J-Rob then spent every proceeding year improving different aspects of the team and replacing guys with players he felt fit into his culture and/or scheme better than the guy(s) he inherited.
The 2020 season will be the first year that will be completely Jon Robinson’s team as we enter a new era of Titans football. Virtually every player on the roster has either been drafted, signed, and/or extended by Robinson meaning he gives them the stamp of approval.
That is something that should excite Titans fans given Robinson’s resume and ability to find talent which has led to a better product on the football field. This team is loaded with talent and primed for a legitimate Super Bowl run this season as long as they can stay healthy in a wacky year.
J-Rob has built the Titans so they have at least one high-level talent at every position group on the team.
The offensive line has star Left Tackle Taylor Lewan to anchor them. The backfield has pro bowlers Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry. Second-year phenoms, AJ Brown is out wide, and Jeffery Simmons is on the D-line. Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans are lined up behind Simmons going sideline to sideline. And arguably the strongest position group, the secondary has Kevin Byard, Adoree’ Jackson, Kenny Vaccaro, and Malcolm Butler, among others roaming the back end of the defense.
Even the special teams has (arguably) the best punter in the NFL right now in Brett Kern.
This Titans team is loaded, and one man especially has his fingerprints all over it and made it happen. So rather than criticizing Robinson for the occasional Kevin Dodd pick, Widen your pessimism lens and look at what he’s done to a team that won five out of their last 32 games prior to his arrival just four years ago.
Last year, J-Rob’s Titans put the league on notice that Tennessee has arrived as legitimate contenders. 2020 is the year that everyone will know the Titans are here to stay as they try to finish what they started last season.