In honor of today being the 2021 NFL Draft, this week’s piece will look at the top 10 picks in Tennessee Titans history.
Taylor Lewan 2014 Eleventh overall
Lewan is a three-time Pro Bowl selection in his seven-year career to this point. He protects his signal caller’s blindside. It led to Marcus Mariota‘s early career success, and currently Ryan Tannehill‘s. He has also blocked for Derrick Henry, as well as Demarco Murray‘s 1,200-plus yard bounce-back season a few years ago. Lewan is looking to return from a torn ACL. Lewan’s passion and team-first attitude are unmatched.
Mike Munchak 1982 Eighth overall
The Hall of Fame guard was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection in his 11-year career. Many of those seasons, he played alongside fellow Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. He was the Titans head coach for three seasons from 2011-2013, ending with a 22-26 record.
Keith Bulluck 2000 Thirtieth overall
The linebacker spent 10 of his 11 seasons in the NFL in Tennessee. Bulluck earned the nickname “Mr. Monday Night” as it seemed most of his 19 interceptions as a Titan and biggest performances overall came on Monday night.
Happy Birthday, Keith Bulluck (@kbull53)! Mr. Monday Night. 😎 pic.twitter.com/sEk7WisDw3— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) April 4, 2020
Chris Johnson 2008 Twenty Fourth overall
Nicknamed “CJ2K”, Johnson became the first Titans franchise back to eclipse the coveted 2,000-yard rushing mark in a season. Johnson seemed to always be one cut away from taking it to the house because his speed in the open field was unparalleled by opposing defenses. But as with many speedsters, once he lost that first step advantage he became less explosive, and his career fizzled out as a result
Random Highlight of the Day: No player was faster than #Titans Chris Johnsonpic.twitter.com/jKeG3IpD0h— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) May 31, 2019
Derrick Henry 2016 Forty Fifth overall
It’s still hard to believe that the Heisman Trophy winner and reigning back-to-back rushing champion wasn’t selected in the first round. But with the 45th overall pick, the Titans couldn’t pass him up again. The eighth overall and second from the Titans’ franchise to eclipse the 2,000 rushing yard season. He is getting ready to attempt to top it this season since he’ll have an extra 60 minutes to do it.
Steve McNair 1995 Third overall
As showcased here, McNair was an original. After a lights-out college career, McNair was tasked with being, at the time the Houston Oilers franchise quarterback. He definitely proved the many naysayers wrong.
Jevon Kearse 1999 Sixteenth overall
Nicknamed “The Freak”, Kearse possessed an impressive 7′ 3″ wingspan which made him a nightmare for opposing offensive tackles. He made an immediate impact, he recorded 14.5 sacks in his rookie season and was named the 1999 Defensive Rookie of the Year. His ability to chase down quarterbacks and ball carriers with his length and speed was his two greatest strengths. He was one of the key players on the defensive unit of the team that made it to Super Bowl 34.
There have been a lot of freakish athletes in the NFL, but only one true FREAK. @JevonKearse— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) May 6, 2020
via @nflthrowback pic.twitter.com/mNvQNkcInW
Eddie George 1996 Fourteenth overall
The franchise was lucky that the Heisman Trophy winner dropped out of the top 10. He was an integral part of the success of this franchise upon their move to Tennessee from Houston. George had the speed to get to the outside, but also the physicality to run right at defenders, including Ravens Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, with whom he had many head-to-head battles during his career.
Bruce Matthews 1983 Third overall
The NFL Hall of Famer played his entire 19-year career with the franchise. He was a 14 time Pro Bowl selection, 14 straight. His father, brother, nephews, three of which are named Clay and sons have all played in the NFL, including his son Jake who currently plays in Atlanta with the Falcons.
Earl Campbell 1978 First overall
The 1977 Heisman Trophy winner, won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award for an encore in 1978. The epitome of a bruising back, Campbell, was nearly impossible to bring down. Many defenders paid the price of looking foolish attempting to stop him. They were either run over or on more than one occasion left with a piece of Earl’s jersey as a souvenir.
Still one of the greatest highlights of all time… 😱— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) March 30, 2019
Happy birthday, Earl Campbell!! pic.twitter.com/HsJGT1Z1Ro
Robert Brazile 1975 sixth overall, Jared Cook 2009 eighty-ninth overall, and Jason McCourty 2009 two hundred and third overall.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images