When it comes to drafting in the second round of the NFL draft, the Tennessee Titans have the market cornered on bad decisions. Every second-round draft pick the organization made from 2011-15 is no longer on the team. That’s right, even the most recent additions from the 2014 and 2015 classes are no longer on Tennessee’s roster. And even when they were, their contributions were minimal or they faded out quickly.
Tennessee’s problems with drafting in the second round go beyond just the last half decade, though.
The last surefire solid pick the Titans made in the second round was all the way back in 2005 when they drafted offensive lineman Michael Roos. Since then, the team has struggled to find anyone in the second round who produced for more than a small handful of years.
Players like running back LenDale White (2006), defensive tackle Jason Jones (2008), and linebacker Akeem Ayers (2011) showed promise initially and had success early in their careers. But none of them lasted more than four years with Tennessee after taking major nosedives in a short period of time.
Sen’Derrick Marks, the Titans’ second-round pick in 2009, might have been the best one the franchise has made since Roos in 2005 if he had stayed around. His time in Tennessee was disappointing, but he’s gone on to find success at Jacksonville when healthy. And there’s the likes of running back Chris Henry, who the Titans took in the second round in 2007. Henry totaled all of 32 carries for 119 yards and two scores in his three years with the Titans.
But wait, it gets worse…
The Titans don’t even have their more recent second-rounders on their roster.
Wide receiver Justin Hunter (2013) and running back Bishop Sankey (2014) were in the last round of cuts when the Titans trimmed their roster to their final 53 before the 2016 season. And wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (2015) was traded away to Philadelphia during training camp.
Aside from their 2016 second-round selections, the Titans no longer have any other second-round picks that they made on their roster. None. And that’s why it’s important the Titans’ latest crop of second-rounders break the curse.
By sheer numbers alone, Tennessee’s 2016 second-round picks should be able to produce at least one good player out of the crop. For the first time since 2004, the Titans had three second-round picks in this year’s draft. And they used those picks to select a trio of talented players, including a Heisman Trophy winner.
Defensive end Kevin Dodd, defensive tackle Austin Johnson, and running back Derrick Henry were the Titans’ second-round selections in the 2016 NFL Draft. Henry has already received a great deal of praise from coaches this offseason and preseason, and he figures to get a good bulk of carries even behind starting running back DeMarco Murray. Dodd and Johnson haven’t received as much praise, but now that Dodd is active, it will be interesting to see what role he can carve out as a rookie.
Henry alone has the potential to end the Titans’ curse of missing on second-round picks. And with three picks taken in the second round this last draft, the odds are in Tennessee’s favor that at least one of them turns out to be worth the pick. With the roles those three will play this year and beyond, the Titans need them to be better than what they’ve received from their second-round picks recently.
The Titans have had unusually terrible luck selecting players in the second round over the last decade. But their newest crop of second-rounders has the potential to end that curse, and the Titans need them to if they want to have success.