Tennessee Titans' Best and Worst Draft Picks of Last Decade
You can learn a lot about why an organization went the direction it went by looking over its recent draft history, and the same can be done when looking at the Tennessee Titans.
The draft is nowhere near an exact science, and looking over these picks by the Titans from the last decade will illustrate that. Swinging and missing on a high draft pick can handcuff an organization for years to come, but a smart pick can instantly pull an organization out of the abyss.
It's time to take a draft-themed trip down memory lane, as the NFL draft is quickly approaching. Here are the best and worst draft picks since 2004 for the Titans.
Hopefully for the Titans, they'll add a few more good picks to this list in early May.
Jurrell Casey: Fifth-Best Pick Since 2004
It was a breakout year for Jurrell Casey in 2013, and he only figures to get better under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
Casey was taken in the third round of the draft in 2011, the same year that Jake Locker was taken with the eighth overall pick.
Stats from ESPN.com
One of the things that can really ruin a draft pick is a player's durability. No matter how much promise a young player has, he does no good for an organization if he can't stay on the field.
Casey has at least shown in three seasons that he's durable and can be counted on to show up on the field. You also love his intangibles and the fiery attitude that he uses to his benefit on defense.
The jury was still out on Casey heading into last season, but it's safe to say now that this pick was a smart one. He'll remain a cornerstone of the defensive line, and that's not bad considering what little hype he had coming in.
Courtney Roby: Fifth-Worst Pick Since 2004
It's never a good thing when a draft selection is released just two seasons after being drafted, no matter what round or what expectations came along with that draft pick.
Courtney Roby was selected in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft, and it came at a time when the Titans were desperate for help at wide receiver.
The Titans were heading into 2005 with Drew Bennett as their top option at wide receiver, and the cupboard was after that on the depth chart.
Roby never made any sort of noteworthy impact on the Titans offense. He played just two seasons for the team with 23 receptions.
The Titans look solid at wide receiver these days, but this marked a time when the position was a constant struggle. Roby marked a big swing and a miss.
Jason McCourty: Fourth-Best Pick Since 2004
Finding an eventual long-time starter in the sixth round of the draft usually means you made a smart pick, and that's exactly what Jason McCourty has become for the Titans at cornerback.
McCourty was taken in the sixth round at No. 203 overall in 2009, and he's widely been undervalued on this team.
He was overlooked last season, thanks in large part to Alterraun Verner's breakout year, but McCourty has been a consistent contributor on this team since he showed up out of Rutgers. He has eight career interceptions and has turned out to be a great tackler in the secondary.
McCourty has an excellent opportunity to step up for the Titans in 2014 now that Verner has left in free agency. The team will rely on him more than ever to help keep this secondary a respectable one.
As of now, McCourty has turned out to be one of the better steals for the Titans in recent memory.
Chris Henry: Fourth-Worst Pick Since 2004
When you completely whiff on a second-round pick, it usually stings. That sting is magnified when it comes at an impact position like running back, and that's exactly what happened to the Titans when they took Chris Henry in 2007.
Henry appeared in just 10 games over three seasons, with just 122 rushing yards to show for it. Getting virtually no production from a second-round pick is a tough pill to swallow for an organization.
In defense of the Titans, this draft class was pretty weak at running back. It would've been considered a bust no matter who they took out of that draft class of running backs, with the exception of Adrian Peterson. And the Titans had no chance at Peterson with the 19th overall pick.
Tennessee was looking to find help for LenDale White at the time, and Henry just didn't pan out. It wasn't an enormous setback for the team at running back, but it was still a bad pick to miss on at that early stage in the draft.
The Titans ended up settling for Chris Brown as the complementary player to White, and they were once again in the market for a running back the following season. The end result was Chris Johnson.
Stephen Tulloch: Third-Best Pick Since 2004
Stephen Tulloch really got the chance to show his value and leadership at linebacker when the great Keith Bulluck departed after the 2009 season. However, he had had plenty of success before being thrust into a leadership role on defense. He made an impact his rookie season by starting three games and contributing 47 total tackles.
Tulloch never missed a game in his five seasons with the Titans and finished his stint with the team with two straight seasons recording over 100 tackles. Not too shabby for a guy taken in the fourth round.
The Titans have missed stability at middle linebacker since Tulloch left for the Detroit Lions after the 2010 season. Most fans at the time knew the organization was losing arguably its best player on the defense.
Pacman Jones: Third-Worst Pick Since 2004
Adam "Pacman" Jones brought a ton of media attention to the Titans, but most of it was for the wrong reasons. It ended up putting the organization in a tough spot after drafting him sixth overall in 2005.
Just to put it into perspective, Jones was chosen that year in front of such Pro Bowl players as Demarcus Ware, Antrel Rolle, Shawne Merriman and Roddy White.
That's not even counting Aaron Rodgers, though the Titans weren't really in the market for a quarterback that year, with Steve McNair still under center.
Jones' problems off the field far outweighed his talents on the field. The Titans underestimated his character issues, and it came back to haunt them just a couple seasons later in return for a couple exciting games in 2006.
Jones is still somehow in the league, playing for the Cincinnati Bengals, but the Titans missed big time on this one in 2005 when it first appeared that it was a solid pick.
Kendall Wright: Second-Best Pick Since 2004
There were mixed reviews about this pick when it happened, but Kendall Wright couldn't have developed any faster into such a reliable receiver for the Titans. He's been valuable both on and off the field since being taken 20th overall in 2012.
Wright is now easily the team's No. 1 receiver, and he's ascending into a Pro Bowl-caliber player. It can even be argued that he has had a more successful NFL career to date than his Baylor teammate, Robert Griffin III.
With all of the misses the Titans have had in recent years in the first round, it's refreshing to find one they seem to have nailed.
Wright has played a key role in transforming a position that was once a consistent team weakness into a formidable strength. A reliable quarterback is the only thing keeping him from really breaking out.
Kenny Britt: Second-Worst Pick Since 2004
A combination of injuries and off-the-field issues makes Kenny Britt one of the worst picks over the last decade. It's unfortunate, because he had the talent to be one of the better picks for the Titans after being taken 30th overall in 2009.
Britt was chosen on the heels of a very successful season in which the Titans started 10-0, only to lose to the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Game in heartbreaking fashion. There was, though, a lot of reason for excitement within the organization.
The two sides ultimately turned out not to be right for each other, and last season was the last straw. If Britt could have shown more determination in his final season with the Titans, then maybe this pick could have been salvaged. Instead, the team missed out on Mike Wallace, who didn't go until the third round.
It shows how difficult the draft process really is. Getting nauseous yet?
Britt now plays for the St. Louis Rams under the same head coach that drafted him, Jeff Fisher.
You also have to wonder how much different things would've turned out if he had stayed healthy. Either way, this first-round pick caused way too many headaches for the organization.
Chris Johnson: Best Draft Pick Since 2004
There's something to be said for Chris Johnson trailing only the great Earl Campbell and Eddie George as the organization's leading rushers.
Source: Pro Football Reference
It's unfortunate that Johnson and the Titans couldn't figure out a way to work out a deal. He could have easily ended up becoming the franchise's all-time leading rusher within the next two seasons.
Put aside all of the bitterness associated with Johnson not living up to his contract, as he was still a great pick by the Titans.
He made the Titans relevant again as soon as he stepped onto the field his rookie season, splitting the backfield with LenDale White and rushing for over 1,200 yards. He gave the Titans offense a type of weapon it hadn't ever had on offense.
All of this isn't to say that it was a bad move for the Titans to let Johnson go. With Ken Whisenhunt now in charge, the organization is in a complete overhaul.
With that said, this was still a great draft pick of a guy who was relatively unknown coming into the draft.
Vince Young: Worst Draft Pick Since 2004
The third overall pick that the Titans used to take Vince Young in 2006 was the highest pick the organization had since 1995, when the team also had the third overall pick and took Steve McNair. McNair ended up being probably one of the better pick in draft history for the organization, but the same can't be said of Young.
Sure, Young had some good times. In fact, he had some box office moments that put the Titans in the national spotlight. However, those times don't outweigh all of the headaches that he caused.
Those headaches eventually ran head coach Jeff Fisher out of town, and the Titans haven't enjoyed any real success sense.
This pick is still haunting the Titans in 2014. They are facing quarterback questions that they may not be facing if they had passed on Young and taken another quarterback available in that draft class.
The popular name thrown out there is Jay Cutler, and it's fair to say that things could have worked out a lot differently. Cutler had way more to offer as a pro-style quarterback than Young did, but everyone was still riding the high of what Young had done in the national title game just a couple months prior.
This pick proves that you just can't afford to miss on a pick this high, especially at quarterback. It gives you some insight on the stress that organizations like the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns are dealing with right now.