James Winston… to the Tennessee Titans?

By Alex Norman

There are two constants in life.  The first I forget.  The second is that the Tennessee Titans will continue to be the most boring team in the National Football League.

They haven’t won a playoff game since the 2003 season and haven’t been to the playoffs since January 2009.

They have gone through quarterbacks that are immature (Vince Young), over the hill (Matt Hasselbeck), injury prone (Jake Locker), or odd balls (Charlie Whitehurst and Zach Mettenberger).

Mike Munchak did nothing as head coach in 3 years as head coach (2011-2013) when the Titans went 22-26. Ken Whisenhunt has not exactly inspired Titans fans with a 2-14 record in his first season.

They draft offensive linemen (yawn) in the first round.  In 2014 it was Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan taken 11th overall, a guy that allegedly assaulted two Ohio state fans outside a restaurant hours after his Wolverines lost to the Buckeyes.  He would later plead guilty to drunk and disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace charges.  Lewan also threatened a woman that accused a teammate of rape. Quality individual there.

They lost their final 10 games in 2014.  They scored 184 fewer points than their opponents.  They haven’t won more than 9 games in a season since 2008.

Basically, if you are a Titans fan, God Bless you.

But now, they have a chance to reinvent the franchise.  They have the second overall draft pick, and likely will have the opportunity to take either Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota or Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

If recent history is any indication, when two quarterbacks are the consensus choices, it isn’t good to be where the Titans are…

In 1998 the Colts had to choose between Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf.  They chose wisely, taking Manning. The Chargers got Leaf and it was an unmitigated disaster.

In 2012 the Colts had to choose between Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. They chose wisely, taking Luck. The Redskins traded up to get Griffin and following a terrific first year, he has been limited by injuries and controversy.

So for the sake of this argument, let’s say that Tampa Bay does in fact take Mariota.  That leaves the Titans in position to take Winston.

And the Titans really are in a difficult situation.

Do you trade the pick, hoping to do something similar to what the Rams were able to accomplish in 2012, dealing the number two overall pick for three first round picks and a second round pick?

Do you keep the pick and take another position of need? Anyone that watches the Titans realizes they have so many of those.  Leonard Williams, the defensive lineman out of Southern Cal, could help that pass rush. Alabama receiver Amari Cooper could be the big play threat that the Titans haven’t had in… well… have they ever had a pass catcher that can stretch the field?

Or do you roll the dice and take Winston.  A player high on talent and low on maturity.

Winston steals crab legs from Publix, he screams vulgar phrases in the middle of the student union, and he gets into BB gun fights.  He has also been accused of sexual assault (but not charged).  He just turned 21 and acts the way a lot of 21 year olds do. Immature and entitled.

He also has a world of talent.  His decision making, his accuracy, and his ability to play in and out of the pocket show that he could be a very good pro quarterback.  Maybe even a guy to build a franchise around.

But do you really want to hand the keys to your franchise, and all that cap room, to a player with red flags at your sports most important position?

The Titans have been looking for someone to take control since they let Steve McNair go.  They have failed time and time again.

Selecting Winston is a huge gamble.  Tremendous upside… yet the potential to be a public relations nightmare.

The Titans have not proven that they will make the right decision.

Titans fans… what do you want them to do here?

 

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