Titans offseason positional review – wide receivers

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We continue the review of the Titans’ position groups with the offense and the wide receiver corps.
The wide receivers have been a major weakness of the Tennessee Titans for years and the situation didn’t improve any last year. It still looks bleak from my point of view. I just don’t see any help on the horizon, especially for the 2008 season.
The Titans need to add two quality receivers — one who can stretch the field and catch the occasional long ball, and another possession receiver, who doesn’t necessarily have to be a WR. A tight end could fit that bill just fine, if they can get one who can do for Vince Young what Frank Wycheck did for Steve McNair.
Vince needs a go-to guy, whether he plays WR or TE, and the Titans don’t have that now. What they have now are some guys who should be second or third options for Vince to look to, but not one who should be his first option.
I don’t see anyone in free agency who might fit the bill, other than possibly Donte Stallworth, and he’ll be expensive. The draft? Rookie WRs aren’t difference makers and I’ve come around to Tom’s opinion that there isn’t good value drafting a WR in the first round. It takes several years to develop a rookie WR, so that obviously won’t be an answer for the ’08 season.
This is a painful exercise, but let’s look at what the Titans have now and what new OC Mike Heimerdinger has to work with. One promising factor — Dinger has worked as a receivers coach in Denver with the likes of Rod Smith, who should be a future Hall of Fame member.
Justin Gage – An unrestricted free agent, the Titans need to resign him. They’re talking with Gage’s agent and could get a deal done. It may not be before the 29th, though. It’s entirely within the realm of possibility that he won’t find Mike Reinfeldt’s offer satisfactory and will test the market. Who knows, he may or may not get a better offer in the marketplace, especially with a rather weak WR class in free agency this year. One thing that may favor the Titans — Reinfeldt liked Gage enough to sign him a year ago when nobody else wanted him, so MR obviously saw something he liked. He has to like Gage even more now, and may make him a more generous offer than I anticipate.
Roydell Williams – 2007 was a big improvement for him after a disappointing 2006 campaign. I have no idea why, but Roydell kind of disappeared in his second year before breaking out of his shell last year. Unfortunately, he’s the closest thing the Titans have to a deep threat, which doesn’t say much for the other Tennessee receivers.
Brandon Jones – Of the three WRs Tennessee drafted in 2005, Jones quickly showed the most potential. Barring injury, he should have a solid, but unspectacular, NFL career. Along with Gage and Roydell Williams, the three of them comprise the best of the Titans’ receivers. None of them are top-shelf though, and as noted above, all of them should be secondary options as receivers. None of the three are primary targets. To put it bluntly, they shouldn’t scare any team in the league.
Eric Moulds – He’s another unrestricted free agent this year. Unlike Gage, he doesn’t have much, if any, upside remaining in his career. There’s no way the Titans should resign him, at least not right away. Maybe in July, to give him one last chance in training camp, and if the Titans are desperate for help. The best thing I like about Gage is his ability to come back to Vince to make himself available as a target, which he does better than any of the others.
Chris Davis – After getting some playing time early in the season, Davis spent most of the rest of 2007 on a milk carton. Strictly a slot receiver, he’ll get another chance this year.
Biren Ealy – Like many fans, I like Ealy, mainly because of his Horatio Algeresque story. An UDFA a year ago, he impressed enough to concern the Titans some other team might claim him off waivers. Ealy is a project and if he develops it should take at least another year or two to get results. One thing that helps him is his good working relationship with Vince, as the two of them have spent a lot of time practicing together.
Paul Williams – Talk about being on a milk carton, he was truly an invisible man as a non-injured player who was inactivated for all 16 games last year. It seems like he was a waste as a third-round draft pick last year. I didn’t notice him doing anything in training camp last year and it speaks volumes that fellow rookies Davis and Ealy saw playing time instead of him.
Mike Williams – The good news is it didn’t cost the Titans much to take a chance on him. The gamble didn’t pay off and he won’t be a part of the 2008 Titans team.
David Givens – It’s sad to say, but Givens’ career seems to be over. He didn’t make much progress last year and underwent a third surgery, which Drexel wrote about.
Outlook: It doesn’t look good for the prospect of finding anyone who can make an immediate difference. I don’t expect the receiving corps to improve much from last year’s group.
The Titans normally keep six receivers on their roster and they have five now who will contend to be included in that group: Roydell Williams, Jones, Davis, Ealy and Paul Williams. If Gage is resigned, he’ll make six. I would hope the Titans find people to replace two of those six. Davis, Ealy and Paul Williams would be the most likely victims at this point. Fortunately for them, they’ll all have a chance in training camp to compete for a roster spot and win or lose a job there.

2007 Stats Gms Strts Recs Yds Avg Lng TDs
Justin Gage 16 8 55 750 13.6 73 2
Roydell Williams 16 14 55 719 13.1 48 4
Eric Moulds 16 8 32 342 10.7 46 0
Brandon Jones 9 2 21 248 11.8 35 2
Chris Davis 12 0 5 38 7.6 13 0
Biren Ealy 4 0 1 6 6.0 0 0
Total 73 32 169 2,103 12.4 73 8

Next in the series we turn our focus to the tight ends.

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23 Responses to “Titans offseason positional review – wide receivers”

  1. tom junior Says:

    It’s terrible but true that without a big, tough #1 WR on the flank that draws double-coverage, Vince (and all the other receivers) will never reach their greatest potential and the Titans will always be struggling for points. In today’s game you just gotta have that guy who commands double coverage, otherwise your WR will be jammed at the line everytime, and there will be very little separation on other pass routes run by the other receivers—and that means Vince has few reliable targets to shoot for on a pass play with everything so jammed up. Then this puts pressure on the pass protection and Vince has to scramble and he gets hurried and hit. Then the running game becomes the go-to play on 3rd and 3 and of course everything’s stacked against the run. What’s the solution? Titans just have to bite the bullet and go out and buy a great big #1 WR—they just have to!

  2. Seth Leonard Says:

    Agreed. You’ve got the money, spend the money. It doesn’t matter how good your defense is, you’ll never win big if you only get 10 or so passing TDs in a season. Make a trade or something, front office.

  3. Alvin Mullins Says:

    Just wondering about getting Ocho Cinco?

  4. David H. Says:

    I totaly agree with both u guys. This is something that needs to be adressed imediately. And u can forget about the draft. This draft class is not that strong. Besides, historically we haven’t drafted well at reciever. ie Yancy Thigpen, Carl Pickens, Kevin Dyson (not to include music city miracle), Tyrone Calico etc….

  5. Drexel Perry Says:

    I’d rather have Roy Williams than Ocho Cinco. Like Vince, he is from the University of Texas and from a physical standpoint, he is one of the league’s most physically gifted receivers.
    Ocho Cinco is very good in his own right, but if the Titans are going to give up a high draft choice to acquire a #1 receiver, I think Williams is the route to go.

  6. james Says:

    we need to package The PACMAN with a drat pick or two get a big name wideout in his prime not washed up and sure up on receiving core. If we dont do that than VY is going to cont to struggle subprime receivers

  7. jrtitans Says:

    I was hoping we could trade Pacman to Cincy and get Chad Johnson( dreaming). Despite Merle Hodge, most people speak highly of Vince, he is the cover of Madden and adding Chad to the mix ( with all his marketing power)would be a media frenzy and very exciting for the Titans team even if he didnt produce. I view this as a financially sound decision and good for future recruiting.
    On the others, Roydell has been hurt much of his time here, Jones really hasnt stepped up and has many opportunities to do so and Moulds is getting up in years. Why cant we find the miracle player like Coulston or the walk on like a Drew Bennett( not a fan but he did catch more than the guys we have)?
    I agree with keeping Gage and wouldnt mind keeping Davis and Ealy also as I think there is future potential there.
    Drafts (WR)havent been kind to the Titans and I dont watch a lot of college football but I was wondering what the group thought of the fit of Milas Sweed of Texas or Earl Bennett of Vandy.
    Free agents (guessing): Javon Walker ( denver) Issac Bruce( st louis) Stallworth ( NE). Can they help , can we get them, do we want them?
    I like MIKE, he seems to making right decisions, we had pro-bowlers finally, have cap room, the pacman story maybe be coming to a close soon, we added Dinger, Draft is coming….this has the making of an exciting offseason..What if we get Michael Turner?
    Also waiting for the tight end article. Thanks guys for keeping the titans news going.

  8. Dan Says:

    what are you talking about David H., this draft class is legitimately deep for 3 rounds imo.

  9. kyle Says:

    if we could get dante stallworth man that would be great i already know we were interested in it because we were going to draft him this year and decided to go with Michael Griffin witch was a great choice too … but to get both o man that would be fun…

  10. Andrew Says:

    Thanks for all the comments, guys. Good conversation.
    Kyle, you must be thinking of somebody else. Donte’ Stallworth has been in the league for six years. He’s a real speed burner and deep threat who the Patriots will have to release to avoid paying him a $6M bonus.

  11. wacko jacko in remington Says:

    Oh Donte please come to Nashville!

  12. Ed Ziti Says:

    Rarely do FA wide-outs pay dividends. I think they need to address this in the draft and college FA markets. Many good wide outs are overlooked for a multitude of reasons. Good article.

  13. Mikey Jr Says:

    It’s good to see I’m not the only one thinking about the titans offseason.We can still get Randy we’re 40 mill under the cap.

  14. dogan Says:

    I think titans should not go for stallworth. What they need is a chad johnson javon walker type of player that is willing to jump up, risk the hit to get the ball

  15. justin432 Says:

    titans to do list:
    1.keep pacman, despite the trouble he’s caused he will improve the titans D, and that is a good thing
    2.titans have the most cap so they can pay anybody’s
    salary well then give the bengals a call about ocho cinco
    3.vince young should quit paying attension to the media saying he cant throw. remember when he was a longhorn he established the run before pass and at the end of his last season 3,000 pass yards and 1,000 yards rush. so media QUIT HATING ON MY BOY

  16. j-bone Says:

    if ocho deal doesn’t happen interested in drafting limus sweed from texas

  17. oiler/titan kid Says:

    we need more help than just wr we need a good break away back also like maybe jamal charles late in the second if possible. bengals will not let chad go no way, so we need to look for a stallworth or javon walker type. we honestly need 2 or 3 solid players to add to have a real shot at the big game.
    oh yeah props to finnegan for stepping up big this year I really like how that guy plays

  18. Jeremy Tull Says:

    Easy on the FA like Javon Walker and Donte Stallworth. Does anyone remember David Givens. We gave him something like 20 million over 3 or 4 years and I believe that he has caught something like 8 balls. That’s 2.5 Million a catch. If you all are alright with that, sign me up!!! I catch 8 balls in the NFL for 20 million. Keep Gage and Roydell Williams. Draft the best WR we can at our position (probably a Limas Sweed, James Hardy, Early Doucet, or even possible DeSean Jackson (that would be incredible)). We will see when Jones, Ealy, and Davis shake out. Just because we have cap room, it doesn’t mean we should spend it just willy nillly. We need value and character, and desire. You do that by building with in, not by head hunting the the over paid scraps that another team doesn’t want to pay for anymore
    I we get Javon, I will puke. TOO MANY INJURIES. Don’t bet on the horse recovering from a broken leg. It never pays out!!!!

  19. Ben Says:

    really i think that we need to keep Pacman! he’s a awesome CB and will help out the D
    We should keep Justin Gage, resing him for like a 2 year deal…
    if we could get Ocho Cinco by a trade of 1st round pick that would be a great trade.. (just look at the trade NE made for Randy a 4th round!! so if we give our 1st or 2nd round we got it! hey maybe add a person in there also..) but if we got him we would easily be in the playoffs!!!!! hey maybe a Superbowl!!!
    Donte Stallworth would be a great sign and we would do awesome with him!!
    also i think that Keysan Jonshon (bad spelling sorry) would be a good fit for like a year or 2.. i was disapointed when we didnt get him this season.. but we could get pretty far with him, also e might be able to mentor some of the younger guys?
    if we get any of these guys we would easily be a great team! we have the best D, and hey if we get some good WR we would have a great OF!!!

  20. tom junior Says:

    Ya know, Jeremy makes a lot of sense with the line about betting on a horse that recovered from a broken leg—-JUST DON’T DO IT!

  21. R.Furgason Says:

    You gotta agree with Jeremy, keep Gage and Roydell Williams. Then draft with our first round selection Sweed out of Texas, Manningham out of Michigan or Doucet out of Louisiana. That would give Young someone to throw deep to and stretch the field for our offense. And heres something else to chew on, how about drafting a running back with our second pick. Maybe a speedy scat back, someone who can get around the corner and break away for a long gain!

  22. sexy Says:

    ok we aint gonna get chad j nor will we get keyshan j we need to get stallworth or maby crumpler becuae bo scaife cant do it him self ben troupe is horrible and pcman will amke our defense even better.
    if we draft a receiver it will be a waste so why not R.Mendanhall becuse white isnt gonna be a franchise back nor will henry Go Titans

  23. Titansfansince99 Says:

    Titans have some serious issues to deal with this off season.. wat the heck are we thinking letting antwan odom and travis laboy walk from our team.. i guess were wanting to go from the 5th ranked defence to last! First of all we need a Wide Reciever. Daunte Stallworth ( from Patriots) Bernard Barrian ( from bears) Bryan Johnson ( from cardinals) We could even go after Alge Crumpler ( from falcons) who visited us earlier this week. Yet, we havent had even a discussion with Wide Recievers to sign this year. $37mil in cap room to spend. Hello Front Office: get out and do something is the right answer.. Second thing: i personally dont think Ryan Fowler is that great. He doesnt have the speed as a Lance Briggs.. Screw Fowler!!!! Start Stephen Tulluck!!!

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