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VOL. 46 | NO. 16 | Friday, April 22, 2022

Grading Jon Robinson’s drafts

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From the great (2016, 2019) to the disastrous (2018, 2020), Titans general manager Jon Robinson has had some big pendulum swings during his six drafts. Here's a look back at how each grades:

2016

1. Jack Conklin

2a. Kevin Dodd

2b. Austin Johnson

2c. Derrick Henry

3. Kevin Byard

5a. Tajae Sharpe

5b. LeShaun Sims

6. Sebastian Tretola

7a. Aaron Wallace

7b. Kalan Reed

Robinson’s first draft produced two franchise cornerstones in Derrick Henry and Kevin Byard, and could have yielded a third had Conklin not struggled coming off a knee injury, causing the Titans to decline his fifth-year option. As a result, he was lost to free agency.

Dodd, a linebacker, was a complete failure, as was late-round guard Tretola. Receiver Sharpe and DL Johnson were useful contributors for a while.

Grade: A-

(Only the Dodd bust kept it from being an A+.)

2017

1a. Corey Davis

1b Adoree’ Jackson

3a. Taywan Taylor

3b. Jonnu Smith

5. Jayon Brown

6. Corey Levin

7a. Josh Carraway

7b. Brad Seaton

7c. Khalfani Muhammad

WR Davis and CB Jackson both had their moments, but neither was deemed good enough to even play on a fifth-year option, much less earn an extension. WR Taylor just recently landed on a USFL practice squad. Smith and Brown were both solid players, and Smith’s production was especially missed last year after he left for New England as a free agent. Beyond Brown, the Titans didn’t get much in the late rounds.

Grade: C

2018

1. Rashaan Evans

2. Harold Landry

5. Dane Cruikshank

6. Luke Falk

The Titans had only four picks in this draft, so that in itself makes it a tougher to hit on picks. LB Evans started off really well, but by the end of his time, the Titans had passed on his fifth-year option and he had lost his starting job to Zach Cunningham. OLB Landry proved to be the keeper of this group, and was rewarded with a huge contract after a breakout season in 2021. He was part of the reason the Titans didn’t have many picks as they packed several choices to move up and draft him. Safety Cruikshank turned into a useful player but was not re-signed this offseason. Falk was a late-round quarterback flier that flopped.

Grade: D

2019

1. Jeffery Simmons

2. A.J. Brown

3. Nate Davis

4. Amani Hooker

5. D’Andre Walker

6. David Long

Robinson hit it out of the park with five starters in six picks, including their best defensive player in Simmons and arguably their best offensive weapon in Brown. Long has developed into a top-notch linebacker, worthy of a long-term deal. Hooker and Davis might be worth extensions after the season as well.

Grade: A+

2020

1. Isaiah Wilson

2. Kristian Fulton

3. Darrynton Evans

5. Larrell Murchison

7a. Cole McDonald

7b Chris Jackson

Whether it was COVID canceling pre-draft visits and pro days or bad decisions, this draft is easily Robinson’s worst. The feckless OL Wilson turned out to be the team’s worst first-round pick since Pacman Jones in terms of unreliability. The team already has moved on from RB Evans (waived this offseason) and QB McDonald, who didn’t even make it out of camp. Only CB Fulton has turned into a bona fide starter. Though this draft was awful, the Titans did salvage something from the 2020 rookie class, thanks to undrafted finds DL Teair Tart and WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.

Grade: F

2021

1. Kaleb Farley

2. Dillon Radunz

3a. Monty Rice

3b. Elijah Molden

4a. Dez Fitzpatrick

4b. Rashad Weaver

6a. Racey McMath

6b. Brady Breeze

Another draft that didn’t get off to the desired start. Farley, the first-round pick, and LB Weaver, both ended up on the shelf with injuries. Radunz wasn’t ready to

plug and play at right tackle and was inactive most of the season. WR Fitzpatrick struggled in camp and spent much of the year on the practice squad. Third-rounders LB Rice and CB Molden quickly found roles and improved throughout the year. It’s too early to know if this draft is another flop like 2020, but in order for it not to be, Farley and Radunz need to be major contributors in 2022.

Grade: Incomplete

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