Tennessee Titans Thursday Throwback: Top 5 Receivers in Franchise History

Tennessee Titans Thursday Throwback: Top 5 Receivers in Franchise History

by June 10, 2021 0 comments

The Tennessee Titans acquired Julio Jones in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. It is fitting that this week’s edition of Thursday Throwback looks at the best receivers in Titans/Oilers franchise history.

Haywood Jeffires 

Jeffires was the 20th overall selection of the 1987 NFL Draft by Houston out of North Carolina State. After three seasons of struggling to get on the field, he began to make an impact in the league. In his fourth year in the NFL, he became an effective weapon for star quarterback Warren Moon. He caught 74 passes in his first 1,000-yard receiving season while scoring eight touchdowns. During nine seasons in Houston, he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

Jeffires led the league in receptions in 1991 with 100. He is fifth in franchise history in receiving yards and is tied for second in touchdowns.

Charley Hennigan

Charley Hennigan spent his entire professional career with the Oilers when they were still a part of the AFL.  The receiver joined the expansion Oilers for their inaugural season in 1960. He quickly caught the attention of football fans with a rookie campaign where he had 44 receptions for 722 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Season two was no sophomore slump, as Hennigan had arguably the greatest season for a receiver in football history, even 60 years later. Hennigan caught 82 passes for 1,746 yards. He also scored 12 times. His season average yards per game was a staggering 124.7 in 14 games. 

Hennigan was one of the biggest reasons the Oilers won back-to-back AFL titles. The only thing keeping him from being higher on the list is that his career only lasted seven seasons. He still remains fourth on the franchise’s receiving yards list and is number one on the team’s career touchdown list in just 95 career games. 

Ken Burrough 

Burrough was drafted by the New Orleans Saints No. 10 overall in the 1971 NFL Draft. After just one season with the Saints, he was traded to the Oilers. In 11 seasons with the Oilers, he was selected to two Pro Bowls. In the 1975 season he led the league in receiving yards with 1,063, a stat he led the team in eight times.  

Retiring after the 1981 NFL season, Burrough who was one of the last two players to wear No. 00 after a rule change and jersey restrictions, which were recently amended prior to the 2021 season. He sits third in team history in receiving yards and is tied for second in touchdowns.

Ernest Givins 

The team’s second round pick in 1986 out of Louisville, in his rookie season he tallied 61 receptions for over 1,000 yards and three touchdowns. Givins was selected to a pair of Pro Bowls during his career. Although he only posted one 1,000 yard receiving mark, after nine seasons with Houston, he remains the franchise leader in receiving yards and third in touchdown catches.

Drew Hill

Hill was a 12th round draft pick by the Los Angeles Rams in 1979 and joined the Oilers in 1985. He played seven seasons in Houston before playing two in Atlanta with the Falcons prior to retirement. He was a 1,000 receiver during five of his seven seasons with the franchise.

Hill also was the first player in NFL history to score a touchdown in three different decades (1970s, 80s and 90s). He is ranked number two on the franchise receiving list after Givins. He is also tied for second in receiving touchdowns. His longevity gives him the edge over Givins at the top of the list.

Amazingly Jeffires, Givins and Hill were all part of the run-and-shoot offense led by Hall of Fame quarterback Moon in the late 1980s through the early 1990s. Five of those seasons all the three of them were part of the same offense. While they were all playmakers, some of the credit that has them in the top five in franchise history has to go to Moon.

Honorable Mentions

Derrick Mason

Mason played the first eight of his 14 NFL seasons in Tennessee. He had four-straight 1,000 yard receiving seasons and was selected to two Pro Bowl teams. He was a remarkable return guy, as well.

A.J. Brown 

After just two seasons in the league, Brown has solidified his role as the number one receiver. He is a big play waiting to happen. A similar statistical season in 2021 will lock him into the conversation among the elite receivers in the NFL, but it would take a few more of those seasons to break the top five here. 

Steve Largent

The one that got away. After being drafted by the Oilers in the fourth round of the 1976 NFL Draft, he was traded to the Seattle Seahawks after a mediocre preseason. His 14-year Hall of Fame career with the Seahawks included seven Pro Bowl selections. Largent tallied over 13,000 career receiving yards and scored 100 touchdowns.

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Husband, father of 3 and an avid sports fan. Living out my childhood dream of writing about sports, now that I'm in my forties.

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