Damian Williams

2010 Draft Grades: Titans

Aside for the Seahawks, the Titans may have done more than any other team to help themselves immediately.

Derrick Morgan was the top defensive end on our draft board, and quite possibly on the Titans. He’s probably the most complete defensive end in the draft, making him a perfect fit in Tennessee. They lucked out having him fall to No. 16.

I wasn’t nearly as high on Damian Williams as most, but he had value in the 3rd round. He’s a little soft, the Titans have a great coaching that can toughen him up if he’s willing to put in the effort. There’s no denying his talent, so he was well worth the risk at No. 77.

Rennie Curran is one of the players that needed to land in the right system to be effective, and Tennessee is the perfect place for him. He’s vastly undersized, but that’s exactly how the Titans like their linebackers. Their probably isn’t room for him to play immediately, but he’ll be groomed for a starting job in a year or two.

I was surprised they didn’t address their need for a cornerback before the 4th round, but Alterraun Verner is still a good pick. They didn’t need to add a star, just more depth, and Verner can get the job done. He’ll be given the opportunity to compete with Jason McCourty for the starting job opposite Courtland Finnegan.

I think they reached for Robert Johnson in the 5th round. He doesn’t fill a need and he probably don’t see the field expect on special teams early in his career.

Rusty Smith is a developmental quarterback who was worth the risk in the late rounds of the draft. He has NFL size and arm strength. They’d probably like to place him on the practice squad, but if they like him enough they’ll dump Kerry Collins or Chris Simms and keep Smith as the 3rd string quarterback.

I love the pick of Myron Rolle in the 6th round. I don’t see how he fits into their crowded secondary, but he had too much value to pass up that late in the draft. I sincerely hope he didn’t fall because teams are worried that he’s “too smart” for an NFL locker room.

Marc Mariani is a nice developmental prospect but he likely won’t make the roster. They simply have too many receivers who deserve a permanent spot on the roster to waste a spot on Mariani.

David Howard fits the mold of the slightly undersized tackle that the Titans have been using in recent years. They’re very deep at the position though, so I don’t see how he fits into their immediate plans. He’s another developmental prospect who will likely be placed on the practice squad.

Overall the Titans did a great job in the draft. They lucked out having Morgan and Williams fall into the laps, despite both players receiving much higher grades from many teams than where they were selected. They also did a great job adding to their depth on the third day of the draft. The only criticism I have is that they may have taken too many chances on players who will struggle to make the roster in 2010. They’ll have a hard time keeping all nine draftees around past the end of training camp.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Titans Comments Off

All-Overrated Draft Prospects Team

QB – Tim Tebow, Florida
Someone’s going to take him in the 1st or 2nd round, and they’re going to have to wait at least 2 years before he’s ready to start at quarterback (if he’s ever ready).

RB – C.J. Spiller, Clemson
He’s not the next Chris Johnson. The next Leon Washington is more likely. He’s simply not an every-down running back.

RB – Jahvid Best, California
Same criticism of Spiller applies here. He’s a change-of-pace back, a better version of Ahmad Bradshaw.

WR – Damian Williams, USC
He’s too skinny to be an elite receiver. He’ll get pushed around by more physical defensive backs, and he lacks the speed to break away.

WR – Mike Williams, Syracuse
I wouldn’t touch him with a 10-foot pole. Off-field issues make him undraftable in my book. Not even worth a 7th round pick.

TE – Anthony McCoy, USC
He’s a serviceable tight end due to his blocking ability, but he won’t contribute as a receiver. The next Christian Fauria.

OT – Bruce Campbell, Maryland
How anyone can watch him on film and give him a grade higher than the 3rd round baffles me. Athleticism only takes you so far.

OT – Trent Williams, Oklahoma
Definitely has upside, but his lack of production in his only year at left tackle is very concerning.

OG – Vladimir Ducasse, Massachusetts
Size and athleticism are making scouts drool, but he is very raw. He could be the next Larry Allen, he could be the next Qasim Mitchell.

OG – Sergio Render, Virginia Tech
I’m reaching here because no one else jumps out. Render impressed early in his career, but never showed improvement.

C – Eric Olsen, Notre Dame
Was never overly impressive at Notre Dame, and he struggled in one-on-one drills at the Senior Bowl.

DE – Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
Claims about his elite athleticism are overstated. Derrick Morgan is of similar size and build and performed equally, if not better, in every drill at the combine.

DE – George Selvie, South Florida
After a standout sophomore year, Selvie was non-factor for two full seasons. Yet he still generates interest from those that remember his 2007 campaign.

DT – Terrence Cody, Alabama
Weight is still a serious concern. He’ll never be able to stay on the field consistently.

DT – Arthur Jones, Syracuse
High expectations for his senior year never panned out. Injury concerns and lack of production limit his upsite.

OLB – Ricky Sapp, Clemson
Only one year of experience at linebacker after transitioning from end. Lack of elite production and ACL tear in 2008 raise red flags.

OLB – Navorro Bowman, Penn State
Doesn’t have the elite on-field production to make up for his serious character concerns.

ILB – Brandon Spikes, Florida
Spikes’ recent 40 times raise serious red flags. He may simply lack the speed to play in the NFL.

CB – Joe Haden, Florida
He’s a legitimate 1st-round prospect, but doesn’t deserve a top-10 grade. The gap between him and the next-best corners has raised his stock above where it realistically should be.

CB – Patrick Robinson, Florida State
Robinson has elite speed, but he’s one of the least physical corners I’ve seen in recent years. Off-field concerns further hurt his stock.

S – Taylor Mays, USC
Mays is so universally viewed as overrated that I considered leaving him off the list. But his production just hasn’t matched his physical ability.

S – T.J. Ward, Oregon
The potential is there, but he can’t stay healthy. Multiple ankle and knee injuries raise serious doubts about his ability to stay on the field.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off

Rams Should Target a WR in the 2nd Round

Between now and the NFL Draft, we will run a series of articles analyzing each team’s needs using stats provided by ProFootballFocus.com

ramsThe Rams obviously have more than a few needs to address this offseason. I’m sure I and everyone else covering the NFL Draft will spend more than enough time analyzing their decision with the No. 1 overall selection, so for this feature I’d like to focus on their need for a No. 1 receiver.

In 2007 the Rams inexplicably made Donnie Avery the first wide receiver chosen in that year’s draft. It was a decision that ranks among the more underrated draft blunders of all time. Since it happened in the early 2nd round the baffling decision didn’t get nearly the attention it deserved. It wasn’t the greatest draft for receivers, but wouldn’t DeSean Jackson look good in a Rams uniform right about now?

Two years later the Rams are left with a depleted receiving corps and nothing resembling a No. 1 receiver. For all intents and purposes Avery was their go-to-guy, but at 5’11″, 186 pounds he just isn’t cut out for the role.

Among receivers that were targeted as least 90 times this season, only the Lions’ Calvin Johnson and the Raiders’ Louis Murphy caught a fewer percentage of balls thrown their way.

lowestcatchpct

On the surface, the one thing that these three receivers have in common is poor quarterback play. Its fair to say that each of these players would have an increased catch percentage had they played in Indianapolis or New England. In Avery’s case, however, much of the blame has to fall on his shoulders.

Arizona Cardinals v St. Louis RamsIts tough to grade Avery in games quarterbacked by Kyle Boller or Keith Null, but Avery wasn’t any better with Marc Bulger throwing him the football. In games started by Bulger, Avery caught just 27 of 51 balls thrown his direction (52.9 pct).

To be fair, Avery should never have been put in this position. As I mentioned, this was a hole the Rams dug for themselves. Each of their top three receivers – Avery, Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola – are 6’0″ or shorter. Rams quarterbacks need a big receiver that can go up and make plays. Smaller receivers rely on their speed and route running ability to get open and only the elite can be truly effective week-in and week-out with that skill set.

So how does this apply to the Rams draft?

In the second round there should be a number of receivers that would fit perfectly into the Rams offseason. In my current mock draft I have the Rams selecting Arrelious Benn. Benn is 6’2″ and has the speed to stretch the field. He was somewhat inconsistent at Illinois, but was often at the mercy of some truly terrible quarterback play by Juice Williams and others. Other options include Brandon LaFell, Demaryius Thomas and Damian Williams – all of whom are 6’1″ or taller and have the ability to make their presence felt immediately in St. Louis.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft, Rams 1 Comment