Finding the next Derrick Mason

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For years, ex-Titan/current Raven Derrick Mason provided the type of #1 wide receiver production that is missing from todayís Titan teams. In the five-year timeframe from 2000-2004, Mason averaged 81 grabs for 1,102 yards and nearly 7 touchdowns per season.
Mason didnít become a sensation overnight. Entering the league in 1997 as a fourth round draft pick, his meager start consisted of extensive duty on special teams as the Titansí primary kick/punt returner. Mason only caught 47 passes combined in his first three seasons.
D-Mase eventually became the teamís best wide receiver as anointed #1 WRís such as Yancey Thigpen and Carl Pickens failed to live up to the expectations surrounding them.
The current edition of the Titans consists of a group of homegrown wide outs who like Mason, entered the league as mid-low round draft selections. Letís take a look at today’s crop of Titan receivers that aspire to follow in the footsteps of the Titansí last genuine #1 WR.

Roydell Williams
Like Mason, Roydell entered the league as a fourth round draft selection. After a disappointing first two seasons, Williams began to display his potential in 2007, catching 55 passes for 719 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Williams is capable of being an adequate deep threat in this league. Injuries and inconsistency have prevented Williams from fulfilling his potential thus far, but he did show glimpses of becoming a solid†receiver last season. The Titans can only hope that last yearís production is a sign of good things to come from Roydell.
Brandon Jones
Injuries continue to be an issue with Brandon Jones. The inability to stay healthy has curtailed the former third round pickís development into a viable threat in the Titansí passing game.
Next season will be a make or break year for Jones. If he doesnít start to produce, donít be surprised to see him join the ranks of Tyrone Calico and Courtney Roby as Titan WR draftees that failed to pan out.
Chris Davis
Davisís first season in the league was very comparable to Masonís debut. As the case with Mason, the majority of Davisís contributions came in the return game, where he handled punt return duties.
Davis, who like Mason, was also drafted in the fourth round, has seen only limited opportunities in the passing game, catching only five passes during his rookie campaign.
Paul Williams
Paul Williams is the mystery man of the Titan group of wide receivers. Selected in the third round of the 2007 Draft, Williams was billed as an exceptional athlete with the speed to make plays down the football field.
Williams failed to even come close to living up to that billing during his rookie season, which consisted of the same amount of receptions that I had for the Titans last year: 0.
Itís a little too soon to regard Williams as a bust but as his second year approaches, itís time for him to show something that resembles the production of an NFL receiver.
Biren Ealy
An undrafted free agent out of Houston, Ealy was able to work his way into a spot on last yearís roster. The Tennessee native has good size and will also get an opportunity to earn playing time next season.
Derrick Mason embodies the plight of the overshadowed player who through hard work, dedication and God-given ability, works his way up the ranks to become a success story.
Now itís up to one of the aforementioned candidates to step up and become the next Derrick Mason.

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15 Responses to “Finding the next Derrick Mason”

  1. beedee Says:

    my guess is that Ealy and Davis are our best hopes, the other guys are just not looking like they are going to really pan out.
    R.Williams and B. Jones injury issues have really hurt their ability to develop. P Williams is a wash unless he starts learning a playbook along with the other Williams who is taking on Ryan Leaf amounts of bustness.

  2. jrtitans Says:

    Where is Gage?
    I like Davis and Ealy. Jury is still out on Paul.
    The other two? I wouldnt mind if they leave.

  3. Drexel Perry Says:

    jrtitans,
    I didn’t include Gage because he wasn’t a homegrown product drafted by the Titans.
    I only included guys who like Mason, came into the league with the Titans as unheralded lower round draft picks or in the case of Ealy, not drafted at all.
    Gage had a good season and should continue to be a solid player in the Titan offense.

  4. Garland Says:

    I don’t understand why guys are down on Roydell. He’s my favorite of the group after coming out of nowhere last year. If all these guys put up numbers like Roydell did last year, we wouldn’t be talking about needing a true #1 receiver. We’d be talking about how the Titans have a different guy step up each week and how opponents can’t take away the passing game by shutting down one guy. I’d certainly be happy with that.

  5. jrtitans Says:

    Drexel, thanks for making that clear–I was looking at this being a review of the WRs(position).
    I had high hopes for Roydell and with that name seemed he would be the perfect Dallas Cowboy wide-out and we jacked them by picking him up. But I dont consider him out of nowhere since he has been with us , for what 4 years?
    If Gage had had that playing time he would have had at least 75 passes and I believe that Davis or Ealy would have 50 catches but with more upside. Roydell seems to be to have limited range–no diving or stretching catches and seem to recall balls hitting him in the numbers he dropped. Also, the injury thing is a concern.I dont know about the routes since I dont know the playbook but I heard he was off there too.
    My take on the position by the number:
    #1 Gage, #2 ( draft pick Milas Sweed), #3 Davis, #4 Ealy, #5 Mccarreins. #6 (one of the williams’s Paul , Mike or Roydell), and #7 ( a late draft pick or walk-on).

  6. Dan Says:

    it’s limas, not Milas!!

  7. Adam Says:

    I’m not sure that Davis would have caught 50. He had problems fumbling punts and catching passes. Also Roydell’s numbers last year were far better than anything Mason did in his first 3 years. It wasn’t until his 4th that he really came on. I’m intrigued to see where Davis and Ealy are this year & think Ealy might emerge as the Titans #3 by the end of the year. I don’t think B. Jones makes the team – hurt too often and not a big enough talent to justify keeping him in spite of the injuries.

  8. wacko jacko in remington Says:

    Derrick Mason is the ultimate POSSESSION RECEIVER….I don’t even count him as a big-threat WR…he is more valuable as a “possession receiver”, with the surest, best hands in the business. He’s the guy you go to when your big-threat WR is double-covered, or it’s 3rd and 3 and you need 4…. So when you’re looking to replace Mason, you have to look for the exact same type of person Derrick is, not necessarily the fastest or tallest or long-pattern talent, but the guy with the mind, heart and hands who understands his role as a possession receiver and plays it to the hilt.

  9. Drexel Perry Says:

    Wacko,
    That’s a great summary of what Mason brung to the table.
    Vince would thrive with a guy like Mason as a receiving target.
    I agree with Garland that Roydell has shown the most of the group. Paul Williams is the wildcard of the bunch, hopefully he can show something that made him the choice in third round of last year’s draft.
    Thanks for the comments guys.

  10. Garland Says:

    By “coming out of nowhere,” I meant that Roydell’s first two years were rather lackluster and he was shaping up to be yet another mid-round receiver that didn’t amount to much (ala Jake Schifino). But then he went from 8 receptions in his second year to lead the team with 55 in his third. To me, that’s out of nowhere.

  11. bob Says:

    let me tell you. we will this year be looking for 2 main things in the draft. a cornerback and a wide receiver. since we have one amazing and another decent cornerback i think we will be looking at wide receiver as our 1st round draft pick. my bet is that our first choice would be earl bennet from vandy. he is just like mason; hands of glue. i may be wrong since ive thought that for the last 2 years an no results. but i will be expecting a mason (exept emerging earlier)

  12. Brad Says:

    i say that the titans pick desean jackson if sweed is gone but look at speed and power.Sweed has both.Jackson has only speed.so for that reason.I say sweed.

  13. Brad Says:

    Hey Bob, The titans will probably get a WR in the first round, but it will not be Earl Bennet. Why would you take him when you could take Limas Sweed, Devin Thomas, DeSean Jackson, Malcom Kelly or James Hardy.

  14. Brad Says:

    Forgive the grammatical errors on my comment at 10:34 because that was my son.

  15. Brad Says:

    In the second I look for the titans to pick a guard since Benji retired.

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