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Thoughts on the Titans’ 2007 draft

Overall, I’m disappointed with this draft. The major positions of need were not adequately addressed, while other players were selected at positions which were not priorities. It seems like the Titans drafted too many times for potential and not for proven on-the-field productivity.
Rd 1, #19 — Michael Griffin, S, Texas
An extremely disappointing pick. Griffin has the potential to be a star and will be an upgrade over Lamont Thompson, but safety was not a primary need, especially with Calvin Lowry able to take over the position. Jeff Fisher defended the selection by saying Griffin had the ability to play both safety spots, corner and nickel. So which one is he, Jeff? Where are you going to play him? Corner is the only primary need in the secondary, but if the Titans wanted a corner with this pick, Aaron Ross and Chris Houston, both proven corners, were available and should have been better selections than Griffin.
Also, Fisher’s statement is not consistent with his reason for drafting Pacman instead of Antrelle Rolle two years ago. At that time, Fisher said Pacman was a true corner but Rolle could play corner but would become a safety. Fisher now says he will try Griffin out at all DB positions, which leads me to believe he’s not sure where to play him and hopes he will fit somewhere.
The best defensive ends were off the board at #19, but WRs Robert Meachem and Dwayne Bowe were both available and would have been great picks. I would not have been disappointed with selecting DE Anthony Spencer at this point either.
Rd 2, #50 — Chris Henry, RB, Arizona
Another disappointing pick. Henry was not productive running against Pac 10 defenses and was even benched in his senior campaign. Is he now supposed to be a better rusher against NFL defenses? Once again, the three priorities for the Titans, DE, WR and CB, were left unaddressed. WR Steve Smith was still on the board at #50 and was promptly snapped up by the Giants at #51.
This pick leads me to believe the Titans should give Corey Dillon or Chris Brown serious consideration as an insurance policy. Or another veteran RB after the final roster cutdowns are made in September.
Rd 3, #80 — Paul Williams, WR/CB, Fresno State
At first glance, this looked like it could be a good pick. I quickly changed my mind on that as soon as I read up on him a little bit. It seems the Titans are looking at him as a receiver, but Williams doesn’t like playing offense. Another guy drafted on potential, he has some attitude problems and looks like a high risk.
Day One grade: D
At the end of Day One, I didn’t feel any better about DE, WR, CB, or RB than I did before the draft. Day One is all about drafting players who can help you immediately at positions of need and the Titans didn’t do that.
Rd 4, #115 — Leroy Harris, C/G, North Carolina State
I like the player, but not the pick. The disappointment continues as DE and WR are neglected. It looks like Harris was drafted to eventually replace Kevin Mawae, who still has plenty of gas in the tank. So why spend a draft pick on a backup center when help is needed more urgently elsewhere?
Rd 4, #128 — Chris Davis, WR, Florida State
Finally, a pick I can agree with. His scouting report indicates he’s a solid receiver and could be effective in the slot. Also returns punts. A good pick who should contribute.
Rd 5, #152 — Antonio Johnson, DT, Mississippi State
I like the position being addressed, but this is another case of the Titans drafting on potential. Johnson is inexperienced and will be a project for Jim Washburn.
Rd 6, #188 — Joel Filani, WR, Texas Tech
This seems like another solid pick. Filani and Davis should improve the WR corps.
Rd 6, #204 — Jacob Ford, DE, Central Arkansas
Could very well be better as a 3-4 OLB. Undersized for a DE, he’ll be one-dimensional. Will hopefully give the Titans a good pass rush. If he doesn’t, this will have been a wasted pick.
Rd 6, #206 — Ryan Smith, CB, Florida
Projected as a nickel, which is already a crowded position group with Cortland Finnegan, Vince Fuller, Andre Woolfolk and Michael Waddell. I don’t see him being in a position to contribute much unless Finnegan is moved to corner and Fuller still has injury issues.
Rd 7, #223 — Michael Otto, OT, Purdue
Could be a good backup for Michael Roos and will provide depth and competition on O-line for a roster spot. I would have preferred another DE or DT at this spot.
Day Two grade: C
Day Two is for drafting depth and taking chances on projects. The Titans did draft some projects but also improved the WR corps and got some O-line depth.
Overall grade: D+
Of course, it will take three or four years to properly evaluate this draft class. We’ll know then how good these ten players are.
Because the Titans took chances on so many guys, drafting on potential, I see Jeff Fisher’s stamp on this draft more than Mike Reinfeldt’s. Based on his history as a conservative front-office exec with the Packers and Seahawks, and on his lack of risk-taking in free agency, it stands to reason that Reinfeldt went with Fisher’s recommendations. Reinfeldt just doesn’t seem to be a guy who would take risks on so many players with potential but no proven track record.