As I did last pre-draft season, I thought it would be useful to look at some broad-scale trends regarding the Titans and the draft.
By position, here is what the Titans have done the past five seasons:
|1st Rd||2nd Rd||3rd Rd||4th Rd||5th Rd||6th Rd||7th Rd|
Note for convenience sake I compressed quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end into a catch-all "skill position" category. Worth noting is you have six of these guys on the field at any one time, compared to five OL, four DL, two or three LB, and four or five DB. That the Titans have taken more "skill position" players than players at any other position is exactly what you would expect this chart to show.
For more perspective, here's how often the Titans have drafted which position compared to what the league as a whole has done the past five years:
From this chart, it's very clear that the Titans do not actually draft a particularly large number of "skill position" players. What they have not drafted, we already knew, is offensive linemen, especially early in the draft. As I noted last offseason, this does not mean the Titans have not invested in the offensive line. Rather, they've done so just with money instead of just with draft picks or with a combination of money and draft picks.
By not spending draft picks on the offensive line, the Titans have "extra" picks. Those extra picks have gone not to the "skill positions" but to all the defensive, particularly the defensive line. I should stress here that the numbers involved are modest in absolute terms. The Titans have had 43 draft picks. Applying the percentage differentials, the Titans have drafted 3.8 fewer offensive linemen than the hypothetical average team, 2.7 more defensive linemen, 0.6 more linebackers, and 1.3 more defensive backs. That's over a five year period, which means so the differences outside of the offensive line and the defensive line are pretty insubstantial.
Other thoughts, many of which were true last year:
1. 2013 is the second draft for which Ruston Webster is the general manager. Mike Reinfeldt was general manager for four of the past five drafts. To the best of my understanding and belief, Mike Reinfeldt and Ruston Webster are different people and do not always agree with each other. The 2012 draft fit with several of the Titans' draft trends, but there is no guarantee at all the trends will continue.
2. The Titans draft defensive backs later than most teams. Talented corners in particular go early in the draft. The Titans have not taken a first- or second-round corner since Pacman Jones, and Ryan Mouton is the only corner they've taken in the third round since 2005.
3. Teams draft individual players, not positions and rounds. Further, drafts are an exercise in roster construction applied to specific team needs. The Titans have taken one offensive lineman in the first three rounds in the past 15 years. This year, the Titans have a glaring need for an immediate starter at right guard. I'll hit this in more detail in a subsequent post, but Ruston Webster has indicated the Titans are highly likely to take a player who can play right guard in the first three rounds. I strongly believe the Titans will take a right guard in the first three rounds, and don't care their draft history says otherwise.no comments