Total Titans’ all-time franchise team: WR

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By a rather comfortable margin, Lorenzo Neal was our choice for Titan/Oiler all-time FB. With Neal paving the way for our selection at RB, Hall of Famer Earl Campbell, the running game is a formidable one to say the least.
Now that our backfield is complete, it’s time to give QB Steve ”Air” McNair some weapons in the passing game. This franchise has a rich history of quality wide outs, from the AFL-days to the pass-happy Run & Shoot offenses.
As the case with last summer’s all-time Titan-era team, three wide receivers will make our all-time squad. The top two finishers in this week’s vote will make the cut, and for the rest of the guys, they will compete in the next poll for the #3 WR spot.
Let’s introduce the contestants, shall we?

Ernest Givins (1986-1994)
The franchise’s all-time leader in receptions (542), Givins was a two-time Pro Bowler during his nine-year career in Houston.
Despite lacking size (5’9″ 178 lbs), Givins was a tough little WR who put up numbers despite being the recipient of several punishing hits. The little guy had a lot of flair as well, as demonstrated by the “Electric Slide” celebration he performed once he reached the endzone.
Charlie Hennigan (1960-1966)
Hennigan, a five-time Pro Bowler, was a pass-catching force during the Oilers’ AFL days. Still the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions (51), Charlie was the first receiver in professional football to catch more than 100 passes in one season (101 in 1964).
Hennigan’s 1,746 receiving yards for the 1961 AFL champion Oilers stood as the all-time record for 34 years, until it was surpassed by Jerry Rice (1,848) and Isaac Bruce (1,781) in 1995.
Haywood Jeffires (1987-1995)
Jeffires was a three-time Pro Bowler who finished his career as the franchise’s second-leading all-time pass catcher. Haywood’s best season took place in 1991, when he caught a career-high 100 passes for 1,181 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Derrick Mason (1997-2004)
Mason, the winner of our Tennessee Titans era WR poll, embodied tenacity during his eight years in Nashville. He worked his way up from punt-returning duties to star receiver while out-performing bigger names such as Carl Pickens and Yancey Thigpen.
D-Mase was selected to the Pro Bowl twice as a Titan (00,03). From 2001-2004, Mason averaged 86 catches, 1,153 yards and 7 touchdowns.
It’s been four years since his departure to the Baltimore Ravens, and the Titans still haven’t adequately replaced his production.
Drew Hill (1985-1991)
Hill was yet another one of the Run & Shoot era receivers who put up good numbers while catching Hall of Famer Warren Moon’s passes.
To his credit, Drew also had some good years outside of the aforementioned receiver-friendly offense. Hill had three 1,000 yard seasons from 1985-1988, missing a fourth by only 11 yards during the strike-shortened 1987 season.
Ken Burrough (1971-1981)
The team’s best receiver during the “Luv Ya Blue” era, Burrough finished his Oiler career with 408 receptions. A two-time Pro Bowler, Ken’s best season took place in 1975, when he caught 53 balls for an NFL-leading 1,063 yards.
Burrough was also one of the few NFL players to wear the jersey #00.
Other notable Titan/Oiler receivers
Charlie Joiner (1969-1972) Joiner only played four seasons with the Oilers, but he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996 as a result of his contributions made in “Air Coryell’s” dynamic offense.
Bill Groman (1960-1962) Despite a relatively short career, Groman was a key force during Houston’s 1960-61 AFL championship seasons. Bill caught 72 passes for 1,473 yards and 12 touchdowns in 1961. The following year, Groman averaged 23.5 yards per catch while scoring 17 touchdowns (still a franchise single-season record).
Curtis Duncan (1987-1993) Often overlooked in a stellar WR group that consisted of Ernest Givens, Haywood Jeffries and Drew Hill, Duncan caught 322 passes during his career as an Oiler. His best year came in 1992, when he was voted to the Pro Bowl as a result of his 82-catch, 954-yard performance.
Tim Smith (1980-1986) Smith had two consecutive 1,000 yard seasons for terrible Oiler teams that won a combined five games from 1983-1984.
Who is your choice for all-time Titan/Oiler WR?

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10 Responses to “Total Titans’ all-time franchise team: WR”

  1. Dave Says:

    Ernest Givens, best there is, best there was, and the best there ever will be!

  2. adam Says:

    Right on! Givens & the Slide.

  3. Tanner Mitchell Says:

    Thanks, Drexel. I did try to add Smith’s name but for some reason, it wouldn’t let me vote for him. I could vote for the other guys listed, just not the one I tried to add.
    Odd, eh?

  4. Tanner Mitchell Says:

    I can’t believe Tim Smith wasn’t mentioned. He was the best WR on the Oilers during the early to mid eighties. For 3 or year years he put up pretty good numbers for the team when it wasn’t very good and he was being double teamed a lot.
    He was my favorite Oiler/Titan player of all time. Although most younger fans wouldn’t probably know about him, I figured he’d at least be given a mention here.

  5. Drexel Perry Says:

    Tanner,
    Smith, Webster Slaughter, and believe it or not, Drew Bennett, were other names that I considered mentioning in the poll.
    The poll does provide you with the ability to add a choice, such as Smith, if that is the guy you’d like to vote for. I left that option open for players (such as Smith) who I didn’t mention to receive some support.
    Thanks for commenting.
    As for my choice, I went with Hennigan. He put up records that stood the test of time until they were broken several years after they were set. He also put up great numbers for teams that either won or competed for championships.

  6. Tom Gower Says:

    I went ahead and added Smith’s name, so he now has a vote. I’ll vote from home as well (Chicago-style voting rules apply to all IL residents), and am currently leaning toward Hennigan.

  7. bobcomu Says:

    I never really cared about the Oilers until they came to Tennessee, and I think that this all time “franchise” poll shows that most Titan fans are the same way. I voted for Mcnair over Moon, but felt it would have been fair either way, but D-Mase leading this poll shows some fans ignorance of the Houston Oilers.

  8. Drexel Perry Says:

    Thanks for adding Smith’s name, Tom.
    Where’s the Drew Hill love?
    I’m shocked that Hill hasn’t registered one vote thus far. He put up more yards than Jeffires and Mason and his 47 TD’s ties him with Haywood and are 10 more than Mason had as a Titan.
    For the icing on the cake, Hill made two Pro Bowls (same as Mason).
    Hill’s lack of support is a head-scratcher, IMO.

  9. Tanner M. Says:

    Thanks, Tom.
    I still don’t understand why I couldn’t post his name up myself.
    But I did vote for him (naturally).
    I would have voted for Drew Hill had Smith not been an option at some point…

  10. wheels Says:

    Haywood was the dominent receiver the franchise has ever had and would have been perfect today’s NFL. Jeffires gets my vote.

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