It isn’t easy to take over a team coming off of a two-year stretch where they went 5-27. It isn’t easy to turn them into a franchise that has had five straight winning seasons, an AFC Championship Game appearance, a roster littered with Pro Bowlers, and a division title. That is exactly what Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson has done though.
That may seem like a long-winded summation of Jon Robinson’s five years in Tennessee, but it is hard to be brief about a GM that has done so much for a team.
So, with that being said, it shouldn’t shock anyone to see that any Titans fan is happy to see him climbing the GM power rankings on NFL.com. Gregg Rosenthal put out his list of the top GMs in the game, and Tennessee’s landed at number seven. Here’s a quote:
"Robinson started his tenure with a bang, taking Jack Conklin, Derrick Henry and Kevin Byard in his first draft for then-coach Mike Mularkey. Robinson hasn’t hit that level since, but the front office has uncovered difference-makers like A.J. Brown, Jonnu Smith and Jayon Brown from surprising places in the draft. Last year’s first-round pick, Isaiah Wilson, turned into an all-time miss, but I otherwise appreciate that the Titans have a type. A lot of teams say they want physical players, but no team looks better coming off the bus than a Jon Robinson team."
It’s hard not to agree with every bit of this analysis, but let’s take it a step further.
If you want to talk about someone who has made the most of his draft picks, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who has gotten more value out of his fourth-round selections than Jon Robinson.
Here’s a walk down memory lane if you’re a Tennessee Titans fan.
People forget that one of the first moves that the Titans GM made was swapping fourth-round picks with the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for DeMarco Murray. Keep in mind, Murray was one of the first players brought in to change the culture in the Titans locker room, and his 2,500+ rushing and receiving yards over his two years in Nashville weren’t anything to sneeze at either.
Still, when people talk about the best values of Jon Robinson’s career, there are really only four choices:
-Landing Kevin Byard in the third round
-Drafting A.J. Brown in the second round (after the Colts passed on him three times)
-Spending a second-round pick on Derrick Henry
-Trading a fourth-round pick for Ryan Tannehill on a veteran minimum contract.
They all have arguments, but other than Tom Brady, it is difficult to think of a quarterback in the NFL whose value even comes close to what the Titans stole Tannehill for two years ago.
Outside of those values, you could mention any number of Day 3 picks that have either landed on other rosters or have contributed to the Tennessee Titans’ success (which is why you should pay attention to where Robinson says this draft class is deep).
When you factor that in, you are, no doubt, looking at a top-five GM in the NFL, but one can still appreciate Rosenthal putting him seventh given just how bad that Isaiah Wilson selection turned out for the team. It’s easy to forget what a fantastic job Robinson has done if you can’t look past the recent stumble.