2011 NFL Draft: Did the Titans Make the Right Call?


One of the not-so surprise picks to me in the first round was Tennessee taking Jake Locker with the 8th overall pick. Did they make the right call? Or where they be seeing a lot more scenes like the above picture?

I’m not going to give it a simple letter grade yet (that’ll come in time when all the picks have come through).

I’m just going to talk about the logic of the pick.

The Tennessee Titans were picking at 8th overall in the N.F.L. draft.

The first seven players off the board where Cam Newton, Von Miller, Marcel Dareus, A.J. Green, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones, and Aldon Smith.

That left the Titans with an interesting choice. The Titans were looking for a Quarerback and the next two in line who were available were Blaine Gabbert, and Jake Locker, if they were looking defensive line like many speculated they could have gone with Da’Quan Bowers, Nick Fairley, or Robert Quinn as the consensus best defensive linemen available.

The problem is all three of those defensive linemen had serious questions about them.

Nick Fairley has been called “the next Albert Haynesworth”, Robert Quinn had been suspended for the entire season by the NCAA and had low production against the good teams he played in college, and Da’Quan Bowers obviously has a real genuine knee issue, or he would have been drafted by the end of the first round.

On the other hand they had Jake Locker and Blaine Gabbert. And both quarterbacks have questions about them, Can Locker be accurate and why wasn’t Gabbert as productive as he should have been in what is considered a pretty easy offense to run? The Titans were in a tough spot. Take one of the Questionable offensive linemen or grab a QB with questions and move on from the Vince Young era.

When you think about it that way the right answer is to take the QB and move on from the Vince Young Era. If you’re taking a risky player either way you might as well take the gamble on the franchise QB, because only the Quarterback can lead you to the promised land.

The second issue is was it a reach?

I don’t think so. Jake Locker was considered a top 5 talent prior to the season began and he is very talented. He has no character issues and is considered a hard worker and quick study. On top of that he has excellent size and mobility. He also was a senior in college and well prepared for the N.F.L. game, rather than point to the stats people should point to the lack of talent on the Washington Huskies offense. Locker rarely had the time to throw and when he did there wasn’t an easy option as few of their wide receivers were ever wide open. Dave Razzano former scout believes that Locker is the next Brett Favre and said “if you put a number 4 on his jersey you can’t tell the difference”.

Another player comparison I like is Donovan Mcnabb. McNabb hasn’t been able to win a Superbowl yet, but after years of having a lack of offensive weapons, and struggling with his accuracy his leadership, and pure physical abilities was able to bring the Eagles into the N.F.C. Championship game numerous times.

Maybe there were better players available than Locker at 8th overall, (even Blaine Gabbert) but when one considers the positional value of the risk reward pick the Titans had to make, and realizes the Titans were handcuffed either way the easy and correct choice is to ride with the quarterback and hope for the best.

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