When it comes to drafting players, NFL teams must know everything there is to know about every player. Whether it be stats, measurable, off the field behavior, etc. EVERYTHING is under the microscope.
So why do so many teams screw up first round draft picks?
Teams can only do so much to gain insight on how a player will develop. The speed of the game is so much quicker than in college and some players can not catch on like they did in college. Some players peak in college, they hit their ceiling. Others simply get outplayed, they're not meant to be great NFL players.
Then throw in the distractions that come along with being a high first round pick.
Yes they may be that hard-working, selfless leader in college, but when they get to the pros things can change really quick. Before the rookie pay scale was implemented teams were giving first overall picks $50 million guaranteed (see Sam Bradford). With that type of money you can be set for life.
The pressure is sometimes insurmountable for some to overcome as well. The media and fans will pick you apart until there is nothing left.
So, it is hard to look back on past drafts and criticize teams for picking players when they did unless it was a TOTAL reach (Christian Ponder-Vikings; Tim Tebow-Broncos). However, it is fun to go back and see what could have been.
With the Tennessee Titans say hello to the one, the only Adam "Pacman" Jones.
Hello, Adam "Pacman" Jones.
If you follow football you know the story. He was the guy who was responsible for starting the fight in the Las Vegas strip club that resulted in the shooting of an innocent bystander. The victims is paralyzed for life. And Adam Jones continues to play football.
Drafting Jones was the worst day in Tennessee Titans football history. But oh to the contrary, that horrible night in Vegas isn't the only reason why. In case some of you may have forgotten on that historical day of April 23, 2005 the Titans grabbed Jones with the sixth overall pick out of West Virgnia.
The Titans were not stocked at DB, but they had talent and depth. They had just drafted Andre Woolfolk in the first out of Oklahoma in 2003 and they also took a DB in the third round that same year. Either way, they didn't have to draft Jones.
It doesn't stop there. Not only did they need to spend a top ten pick on a DB, they passed up other talents such as DeMarcus Ware, Roddy White and Antrell Rolle - they also passed up on one name you may have heard of: Aaron Rodgers.
Yep, remember now? Rodgers was a popular choice to be the first overall pick that year and instead fell all the way to 24 to Green Bay.
As I said earlier, it's tough to look back on drafts and be serious about what teams could have done. If you change a team's draft pick one year, they could get more production from that pick therefore they would win more games that season - thus creating a different draft order the next season. It's a chain reaction and one different move can change everything in the future.
But if there is one day to change in Titans' Draft history - this is it.
Tennessee was in a similar situation as in Green Bay. Steve McNair was in the last stages of his career and the Titans were looking to replace him. They had a decent backup in Billy Volek, but he was not the future of the franchise.
Go back and look at the Titans draft that year. They looked like they were drafting a quarterback anyway! They hit a home run with future Pro Bowler Michael Roos in the second round and David Stewart in the fourth, but they drafted three receivers in the third and fourth rounds! Courtney Roby, Brandon Jones and Roydell Williams.
This looks the perfect core of rookies for a team in transition to build around. So let's spend our number six overall pick on a cornerback with behavioral problems!
Granted Jones was on overall good behavior in college despite an altercation at a bar which he was placed on probation for, there were still a few red flags.
And they could have drafted Aaron Rodgers instead.
He still would have had time to sit on the bench for a year. He wouldn't have had to deal with Brett Favre and all his Mitt Romney impersonations. Or should I say Mitt Romney does Brett Favre impersonations?
Just imagine what he could have done with those receivers. They would have all came in the league together and it would be their team. This core group could have provided the Titans with a nucleus for a decade.
It doesn't stop there either.
This is what I love about the Titans scenario - it is realistic. So Rodgers was supposed to sit for awhile in Green Bay, right? Well, say he sits out the 2005 season and it goes exactly the way it does, like it should. Now, instead of spending the third overall pick on Vince Young in the 2006 draft, they take AJ Hawk. Or I'll do one better - they trade down to take a Johnathan Joseph or Tamba Hali, replacing the hole that Jones would have filled for the his first three years in the league. Don't forget the surplus of picks from the trade, either.
However, one could easily the whole league screwed up and unless you were just a handful of teams, anyone could have taken Aaron Rodgers because of how far he fell. But the Titans could have ended that argument early.
The Titans easily traded a franchise quarterback for a misguided talent and missed out on one of the better signal callers we have seen in a while.
Hindsight is 20/20, but it still hurts.
Here a are a few other draft picks that I would love to have back starting with least important. All of them were players the Titans chose before the others in the same round:
4) 2006 DB Calvin Lowery, Penn State instead of WR Brandon Marshall, Central Florida. Fourth Round.
This is based mostly off of if the Titans drafted Rodgers instead of Jones, but Marshall may have lasted on the Titans roster if they still drafted Vince Young. Lowery no longer plays in the league.
3) 2007: RB Chris Henry, Arizona instead of C Ryan Kalil, USC. Second Round.
Henry played in eight total games for the Titans recording 32 carries for 122 yards, good for a 3.8 average. Kalil went to three straight Pro Bowls before becoming the highest paid center in the league.
2) 2004: CB Michael Waddell, North Carolina instead of DE Jared Allen, Idaho State. Fourth Round
Allen has been of the premier pass rushers in the league since his second or third year while Michael Waddell is no longer in the league.
1) 2008: RB Chris Johnson, East Carolina and DT James Jones, Eastern Washington instead of RB Ray Rice, Rutgers. First/Second Round and Second Round.
Even though CJ has played well, Tennessee took TWO players before Ray Rice was selected. Instead of taking Johnson in the first round, Tennessee could have taken Mike Jenkins, Curtis Lofton, Brandon Flowers - even Kenny Phillips! Then they could have drafted Ray Rice, who the Baltimore Ravens chose with the next pick right after the Titans.