The Tennessee Titans did not have a second round draft pick for the first time since 2010, and that’s a good thing.
For some strange reason the Titans have been snake-bitten by their second round picks since then. It’s almost as if that pick is jinxed for Tennessee.
Don’t believe me? Let’s do a roll call…
2011: Akeem Ayers – LB
Ayers teased the Titans and their fan base with his size, speed, and athleticism. The UCLA product had all the measurables, but it never translated on the field….at least in Tennessee. At their wit’s end, the Titans finally traded Ayers to New England in 2014…where we went on to win a Super Bowl that season.
2012: Zach Brown – LB
Brown had a promising start to his career in Tennessee, until a season-ending injury in the 2014 season opener derailed his momentum. 2014 fifth round pick Avery Williamson filled in for Brown that season and never relinquished the starting job. Now an afterthought, Brown was not re-signed in 2016.
2013: Justin Hunter – WR
Tennessee moved up in the second round to take the athletic freak out of the University of Tennessee, and his time with the Titans was filled with injuries, inconsistent play, and frustration from the coaching staff and fans. At one point wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson gave Hunter a practice jersey with the name JAG on the back of it.
What does JAG stand for? “Just Another Guy”
Needless to say…Hunter is no longer on the team.
2014: Bishop Sankey – RB
If I told you that Sankey was the first running back taken in the 2014 draft you wouldn’t believe me, and he did everything in his power to stay anonymous while in Tennessee. With multiple opportunities to take the reins as the lead back, Sankey shrunk under the pressure and bright lights. So much so that Tennessee had to trigger a trade to bring in DeMarco Murray from Philadelphia last season. And as you can expect, that was the writing on the wall for Sankey. He was released shortly thereafter.
2015: Dorial Green Beckham – WR
No one had more red flags in the 2015 draft than DGB, yet the Titans still reached to grab him in the second round because of his mammoth size and raw ability. He possessed another attribute…laziness…and that wore thin real quick with the new regime. Green-Beckham made a minimal impact on the field and was traded to the Eagles last year after just one season in Tennessee.
2016: Kevin Dodd – LB, Austin Johnson – DT, Derrick Henry – RB
With three shots at it in the second round of last year’s draft surely the Titans hit on one right?
After a stellar collegiate career at Clemson highlighted by a monster game in the 2015 National Championship, optimism was high for Kevin Dodd. Offseason foot surgery put him behind the eight ball and he never got on track the entire season, finishing the year with just one sack.
Austin Johnson’s role was also a limited one as he failed to crack the starting lineup and contribute on a consistent basis like a 43rd overall pick going to a 3-13 team should. With more playing time Johnson still finished with fewer sacks than Dodd (0.5), who was a healthy scratch the last few games of the season.
And yes Bama fans, running back Derrick Henry also fits the category of second round jinx. Remember, when he was drafted, general manager Jon Robinson envisioned a 50/50 split between Henry and Murray. That didn’t happen, of course, as Murray finished the season with almost three times as many carries.
A second round pick should be a focal point of a “bad” team, and Henry was far from that for Tennessee last season as he was unable to push Murray for meaningful reps.
So look at not having a second round pick with a glass-half-full approach this year Titans fans, at least there will be no jinx this season.