Something I started doing a few years ago was looking back on drafts, from 6 or so years past. I started with 1999, which review you can read here, and have also done 2001. So, what did the Titans’ 2002 draft look like?
#1-15 Albert Haynesworth, DT, Tennessee
Previous Pick-NY Giants-Jeremy Shockey, TE, Miami
Next Pick-Cleveland-William Green, RB, Boston College
Previous DT-1-12-Wendell Bryant, Wisconsin (Arizona)
Next DT-2-42-Larry Triplett, Washington (Indianapolis)
The problem with this sort of exercise is that it’s incumbent upon me to give a short summary of a player’s career. With Albert, well, that’s a tough row to hoe. Training camp fights, inconsistent dominance, the Gurode Incident… Albert on the Titans has been an interesting experience. Clearly better than Wendell Bryant, better than any of the next couple picks, fit a team need at a position that was aging-I won’t complain too much about it.
#2-45 Tank Williams, SS, Stanford
Previous Pick-New Orleans-LeCharles Bentley, C, Ohio State
Next Pick-NY Giants-Tim Carter, WR, Auburn
Previous SS-1-24-Ed Reed, Miami (Baltimore)
Next SS-2-58-Michael Lewis, Colorado (Philadelphia)
Maybe in some alternate world Tank never tears his ACL and ends up a great player. Yeah, Reed or Lewis would have been better. Clear underperformance from a second round pick.
#3-77 Rocky Calmus, MLB, Oklahoma
Previous Pick-Cleveland-Melvin Flower, C, Maryland
Next Pick-Washington-Rashad Bauman, CB, Oregon
Previous LB-3-73-Will Witherspoon, OLB, Georgia (Carolina)
Next LB-3-80-Will Overstreet, OLB, Tennessee (Atlanta)
Calmus was a good player, when healthy, but that wasn’t often enough. Akin Ayodele goes 12 picks later, then Brian Westbrook 91st overall, and Chris Hope #94.
#4-110 Mike Echols, CB, Wisconsin
Previous Pick-Cincinnati-Travis Dorsch, K, Purdue
Next Pick-Cleveland-Ben Taylor, ILB, Virginia Tech
Previous CB-4-105-Brian Williams, North Carolina State (Minnesota)
Next CB-4-115-Tony Beckham
The Titans’ run on DBs continues, this time at CB. Alas, the Eagles started this a couple rounds earlier, with more than commensurately better results.
#4-115 Tony Beckham, CB, Wisconsin-Stout
Previous Pick-Miami-Randy McMichael, TE, Georgia
Next Pick-Atlanta-Martin Bibla, G, Miami Prevous CB-Mike Echols
Next CB-4-125-Keyuo Craver, Nebraska (4-125)
Better than Echols, at least. The problem with DBs is everybody always needs more (remember, the Eagles got nailed in the press for drafting 3 in the first 2 rounds when they already had Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent at CB), so it’s hard to find good ones in the later rounds.
#4-133 Rocky Boiman, OLB, Notre Dame
Previous Pick-Minnesota-Ed Ta’amu, G, Utah
Next Pick-Detroit-John Taylor, DE, Montana State
Previous OLB-4-106-David Thornton, North Carolina (Indianapolis)
Next OLB-4-143-Scott Fujita, California (Kansas City)
I liked Fujita, both in college and the pros, and he would’ve been a better pick. Najeh Davenport went after John Taylor.
#5-151 Jake Schifino, WR, Akron
Previous Pick-New Orleans-Mel Mitchell, SS, Western Kentucky
Next Pick-NY Giants-Nick Greisen, OLB, Wisconsin
Previous WR-5-149-Jason McAddley, Alabama (Arizona)
Next WR-5-162-Freddie Milons, Alabama (Philadelphia)
That’s “Jake ‘What, Me Worry?’ Schifino” to you. If Fisher calls you out in the press because you’re apparently not listening in practice and you don’t think anything’s wrong, call a realtor. Aaron Kampman went 5 picks later, and Robert Royal 160th overall.
#6-187 Justin Hartwig, C, Kansas
Previous Pick-New Orleans-J.T. O’Sullivan, QB, Cal-Davis
Next Pick-NY Giants-Wesly Mallard, OLB, Oregon
Previous C-6-179-Tyson Walter, Ohio State (Dallas)
Next C-7-215-Mike Pucillo, Auburn (Buffalo)
Well, this is close enough to a good pick for me. And Wesly Mallard SO had to go to Oregon.
#7-225 Darrell Hill, WR, Northern Illinois
Previous Pick-New Orleans-Derrius Monroe, DE, Virginia Tech
Next Pick-NY Giants-Daryl Jones, WR, Miami
Previous WR-7-222-Kendall Newson, MTSU (Jacksonville)
Next WR-Jones (next pick)
Hill and Jones are “Daryl and my other brother Darrell.” Yes, David Givens 28 picks later would have been a better choice. Or Ronald Curry 20 picks later.
#7-240 Carlos Hall, DE, Arkansas
Previous Pick-San Francisco-Eric Heitmann, C, Stanford
Next Pick-Miami-Leonard Henry, RB, East Carolina
Previous DE-7-238-Raheem Brock, Temple (Philadelphia)
Next DE-7-242-Brett Keisel, BYU (Pittsburgh)
Any time you can get a player who’s useful for a couple years, then trade him for a higher-round selection, you’ve done a good job.
In hindsight, this is really the first draft where the Titans took the strategy of throwing picks at a position of need by taking lots of defensive backs (see also 2004, defensive line; 2005, wide receivers). You’d think they might have learned their lesson from here, but, alas, it wasn’t to be. First round draft picks are your stars. Check. Value in the late rounds is a plus. Check. Middle rounds provide the core of your team. Nix, nix, nix. The downward trend I noted in my 2001 review continued this year, and would really hurt the team in the 2004-05 lean years.