We continue this series on previous Titans’ drafts by looking at the players they selected in Round Two. As you would expect, the second round generally produced better players than later rounds.
The second-rounders can pretty easily be categorized into four groups – All-Pros, productive starters, busts and recent draft picks. As we did in earlier segments of this series, we’ll only be looking at players drafted since 1997, the year the franchise relocated to Tennessee.
All-Pros: Samari Rolle and Michael Roos
Productive starters: John Thornton, Andre Dyson, Tank Williams, Ben Troupe, Travis LaBoy, Antwan Odom and LenDale White
Busts: Joey Kent, Tyrone Calico, Chris Henry
To be determined: Jason Jones, Sen’Derrick Marks
Here’s the year-by-year history:
1997, WR Joey Kent — Peyton Manning’s primary receivers in college were Kent, Marcus Nash and Peerless Price and two of them became total NFL busts. It’s made me wonder if Peyton made them look better than they really were. Kent had only 13 receptions in his three seasons with Tennessee.
1998, CB Samari Rolle — 7 years, 101 games, 86 starts, 51 PD, 23 INTs, 2 TDs, 295 tackles, 8½ sacks, 1 FF, 8 FR, 1 Pro Bowl, 1 first-team All-Pro selection
I like to measure players by their head-to-head competition with the best players they regularly lined up against. For Samari, that competition was Jimmy Smith and it was usually a treat to watch that matchup. (Smith probably won’t be enshrined in the HOF even though he has HOF-worthy numbers.) Samari was one of the top casualties of the Great Salary Cap Purge of 2005.
1999, DT John Thornton — 4 years, 51 games, 35 starts, 68 tackles, 10½ sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 1 safety
After four years in Tennessee, Thornton went on to have six solid seasons with the Bengals. I considered him to be a cap casualty even though others may not have. It was cheaper for the Titans to play a younger player than to re-sign him after his initial four-year stint.
2001, CB Andre Dyson — 4 years, 62 games, 60 starts, 59 PD, 16 INTs, 3 TDs, 225 tackles, 3 FF
Overshadowed by Rolle, A-Dyse was another cap casualty. He had a lot of picks simply because opponents didn’t throw to Samari’s side as often.
2002, SS Tank Williams — 4 years, 57 games, 57 starts, 19 PD, 5 INTs, 264 tackles, 3 FF, 3 FR
Tank stepped right into the starting lineup as a rookie. Never known for his coverage skills, Tank became a liability after a torn ACL. I wonder how much better he might have become if he had remained healthy. I have also wondered if he ever considered adding a few pounds to give it a try as a linebacker.
2003, WR Tyrone Calico — A classic example of a Floyd Reese gamble on greatness draft pick, Calico had good size and speed for a WR. He suffered a severe knee injury thanks to a Roy Williams horse-collar tackle and also suffered from a bad case of butterfingers. It was telling that the starting job which had been handed to him also slipped through his fingers. Calico lost his job to a rookie with one week of NFL experience.
2004, TE Ben Troupe — 4 years, 55 games, 28 starts, 106 receptions, 1,056 yards, 7 TDs
Another gamble on greatness pick, Troupe was the first player the Titans selected in the Jason Babin trade. His inability to retain his assignments has been well documented and the Bucs gave up on him as well, presumably for the same reason the Titans let him walk. Troupe managed to catch 33 and 55 passes in his first two seasons and I believe it’s despite being in the wrong place at the wrong time too many times. Give the credit to Steve McNair for getting the ball to him off schedule. Troupe’s production dropped off severely after McNair left.
2004, DE Travis LaBoy — 4 years, 54 games, 20 starts, 104 tackles, 19½ sacks, 5 FFs, 3 FRs, 1 INT
The second of three second-rounders in 2004, LaBoy always seemed to have something wrong with him. A hernia and several concussions come to mind. Why the Cardinals thought he’d be better as a 3-4 edge rusher, I don’t know, but that was their problem.
2004, DE Antwan Odom — 4 years, 52 games, 35 starts, 82 tackles, 12½ sacks, 3 FF, 2 FR
Odom was also known for durability concerns. It seemed he always wore down as seasons went along. There were weight issues and even breathing issues. When Odom had his tonsils removed, it was thought that could have cured the problem. Odom always showed a lot of ability in training camp and September. It was too bad he couldn’t maintain his pace for a full season.
2005, T Michael Roos — 5 years, 80 games, 80 starts, 1 Pro Bowl, 1 first-team All-Pro selection
The number of good young tackles in the league is higher than I can remember and Roos is considered one of the best. The Roos matchup I enjoy watching most is with Dwight Freeney.
2006, RB LenDale White — 4 years, 58 games, 18 starts, 628 rushes, 2,349 yards, 24 TDs, 42 receptions, 204 yards
With the exception of the 2007 season, LenDale’s pro career has been as a backup, first to Reggie Bush, then to Travis Henry and Chris Johnson. LenDale made some fantasy owners happy with 15 TDs in 2008.
2007, RB Chris Henry — Using second-round picks in consecutive years on a running back turned out not to be the best idea. Henry got a second chance last year from Sherman Smith, the man who was responsible for him being drafted by the Titans, but he couldn’t stick with the Redskins either. Henry has the distinction of being the first bust in the Mike Reinfeldt era.
2008, DT Jason Jones — One of Jim Washburn’s prize pupils, Jones will compete with Jovan Haye for a starting job this year.
2009, DT Sen’Derrick Marks — I was critical of the selection of Marks last year but he improved the second half of the season. He should improve even more after a full year of Steve Watterson’s strength and conditioning program.
It’s a tough call to make between Rolle and Roos as the Titans best second-round draft pick. I imagine they’re the only two who will receive votes but if you’d like to vote for one of the other second-rounders, I’ve included Thornton, Dyson, Williams, Troupe, LaBoy, Odom and White as well. As usual, the poll is located on the right side of our home page, just scroll down a little ways to find it. Thanks, as always, for your input.