Top 10 draft steals in Tennessee Titans, Houston Oilers history

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The Houston Oilers first took the field in 1960, one of the eight original franchises in the American Football League. The team won the first two AFL titles. With the merger in 1970, the club became a member of the AFC Central. The team moved to Tennessee in 1997 and was the Tennessee Oilers.

In 1999, the Oilers became the Titans. In 2002, they joined the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Jacksonville Jaguars in the newly formed AFC South.

On Thursday night at Detroit, the Titans took University of Alabama tackle J.C. Latham with the seventh overall pick. They have six more picks over the course of the next two days.

Even before the leagues merged on the field, the NFL and AFL finally began selecting players together in 1967 in what is known as the Common Draft. Here’s a look at the franchise’s top steals in the draft since ’67, all but one selected in the fourth round or lower.

Greatest draft steals in the history of the Oilers/Titans

10. LB Gregg Bingham (1973: Round 4)

It was 10 years ago that the Tennessee Titans used a fourth-round draft choice on linebacker Avery Williamson. He played for the organization for four seasons, missing only one game, and the Titans reached the playoffs in his final year in 2017. The versatile defender led Tennessee in tackles twice.

Just over four decades earlier, the Oilers used a fourth-round selection on linebacker Gregg Bingham. He played and started 173 games for the club over 12 seasons, missing only two contests. He racked up 21 interceptions and 14 fumbles recoveries. Bingham was a solid interior defender with a nose for the ball.

9. CB Cortland Finnegan (2006: Round 7)

Of the 10 performers on this list, the 215th overall pick in the ’06 draft is the only player actually selected by the Tennessee Titans. Defensive back Cortland Finnegan from Samford wasted little time making his presence felt on a defense that needed an intimidator, as well as someone always around the ball.

Finnegan had no interceptions as a rookie but finished with 58 stops, two sacks, seven passes defensed, and 12 special teams tackles. During his six seasons with the Titans, the 2008 Pro Bowler and All-Pro had 18 total takeaways (4 returned for TDs) and a celebrated battle with Hall of Fame wideout Andre Johnson.