Grading the Draft: Tennessee

There was talk of Jeff Faine or even Larry Johnson and the possibility of Kelley Washington. Yet, as is the case in almost every draft, it came down to value and the best player available for Floyd Reese and the Titans.

Round Pick Player Pos School
1 28(28) Andre Woolfolk CB Oklahoma
2 28(60) Tyrone Calico WR Mid. Tenn. St.
3 29(93) Chris Brown* HB Colorado
4 29(126) Rien Long* DT Wash. St.
5 19(154) Donnie Nickey S Ohio St.
7 11(225) Todd Williams OT Florida St.

UDFA of Note: QB / Jason Gesser / Washington St, QB / Tyler Watts / Alabama, RB / Dwone Hicks / MTSU, FB/ R.J. Luke / W. Illinois, WR / Jerome Riley / Washington St, TE / John Hampton / SMU, TE / Theo Sanders /Alabama, G / Marico Portis / Alabama, G / Jake Kuppe / Minnesota, DT / Jake Sprague / Wisconsin, DT / Jon Clanton / Nebraska, DT / Cedric Harden / Murray State, DE / Nick Burley / Fresno St, DE / Josh Jeffries / App. St, DE / Anthony Dunn / N. Colorado, S /Thomas Wright /Michigan St

When Andre Woolfolk slipped into the bottom of the first round he was just too good to pass up. Woolfolk could fill an immediate need at corner for the Titans or eventually be kicked inside to safety. He has solid cover skills and just needs a little time to develop as he has only played the position for two years. Another thing, he was not as bad as he looked at the Senior Bowl and could help as a rookie.

At no time did we ever buy into the fact that Tyrone Calico was first round talent. A great athlete, Calico is not a natural receiver and plays almost .25-seconds slower than his forty-time. That said he was worth a late second round choice and is a rookie that could see a lot of action in three receiver alignments this year as he develops his game.

With Eddie George wearing down because of the beating he takes every season, another big bodied back was needed, hence the selecting of Chris Brown, a bargain in round three. Brown, who had problems staying healthy in college, is a dominant inside runner when on his game. The fact that he will not be asked to carry the load next season should help him and in time, he could replace George as the Titans primary back.

Rien Long was worth the chance of a fourth round pick. The Outland Trophy Winner never excited us; in fact, we thought another defensive lineman from Long's conference, Terrell Suggs, should have won the award. Long is a tall, slender tackle with excellent leg drive. The problem for Long is one of weight gain; sources from the Wazzu program told us Long is naturally 280-pounds, which is probably why he looked so sluggish at the combine and in pre-draft workouts after weighing in at 300-pounds. The innate skills are available but Long may need time to physically develop.

Fifth round pick, Donnie Nickey is an intelligent centerfielder that likes to fly around the ball, sacrificing his body to make the play. At worst, he is a back-up and key special teams player. Last pick Todd Williams could be yet another bargain for the Titans. The big lineman knows how to play and can be used at either guard or tackle on the strong side. With age and salary creeping up on the franchise at offensive line, Williams could be a long-term answer for the team.

The team signed a ton of solid rookie free agents and seemed to corner the market on defensive linemen.  Of note is hometown favorite Dwone Hicks, highly ranked coming into his senior campaign but a prospect that fell out of sight after a knee injury in 2002.

Analysis: How to describe this draft? Value, value and value. Floyd Reese is one of our favorite general managers and constantly picks good players even though his teams' drafts late into the rounds. Will this be the draft that puts the Titans over the top? Maybe not yet all of these players will make a roster somewhere in the league.


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