2008 Tennessee Titan draft class: A year two outlook


Despite the not-so-glowing reviews issued by several prognosticators almost immediately after they were selected, the Tennessee Titans’ 2008 draftees more than held their own during their rookie seasons.

Chris Johnson was an impact player who instantaneously made the Titan offense significantly better. The potential of DT Jason Jones was on full display against the eventual world champion Steelers as he consistently made life miserable for Ben Roethlisberger.

With one season in the NFL under their belts, what does 2009 have in store for the ’08 Tennessee Titan draft class?

Chris Johnson

Words can only begin to describe the type of impact CJ had on the Titan offense in his rookie season. His speed was a welcome addition to a Titan offensive unit that lacked a premier playmaker prior to his arrival.

In 2009, I’m expecting more of the same from Dash. In addition to rushing for over 1,000 yards once again, I’m also hopeful that Dinger will find a way to get CJ more opportunities in the receiving game.

The more touches for CJ, the merrier.

Jason Jones

We can only hope that Jason’s aforementioned performance against the Steelers last December was a preview of what’s to come in 2009. Due to Albert Haynesworth’s departure, the spotlight will be on Jones to emerge as a viable replacement for Big #92.

As I’ve said in the past, I’m confident that Jones will become a solid defensive tackle in the NFL for years to come. He has a great work ethic and good athleticism for a man of his stature, so combined with the teachings of D-Line coach/guru Jim Washburn, Jones has all the pieces in place to become a good one.

Craig Stevens

Unlike Johnson and Jones, Craig didn’t get many chances to contribute during his rookie campaign. Outside of participating on special teams and snagging one reception, Craig spent 2008 sitting on the bench and watching vets Alge Crumpler and Bo Scaife.

This season, barring injuries to Crumpler and Scaife, Craig’s role will probably remain unchanged for the most part. Of course, with the long-term contract status of the vets in question, Stevens has the inside track on a starting position in the near future.

Patience is a virtue, Craig…your time will come eventually.

William Hayes

After struggling making the transition from the MEAC to the NFL for the majority of his rookie season, Hayes started to show signs of becoming a solid player at the end of 2008.

In 2009, as my recent article indicates, I’m excited about William’s development and to Mel Kiper’s dismay, “Big Play” should continue to improve in his second year.

Lavelle Hawkins

In my opinion, “The Hawk” has a golden opportunity to emerge as a factor in the Titans’ passing game in ’09. Outside of probable-starters Justin Gage and Nate Washington, Hawkins is competing with a slew of other youngsters for Brandon Jones’ vacated #3 WR spot.

Here’s to hoping that “The Hawk” can step up to the challenge that lies in front of him.

Stanford Keglar

Like Craig Stevens, Keglar’s role during his rookie season consisted mostly of special teams’ play. Unlike Stevens, I’m not that confident about Keglar’s long-term prospects in Nashville.

I wouldn’t be shocked at all if ’09 draftee Gerald McRath surpasses Keglar as one of the team’s future starting outside linebackers.

Cary Williams

With the departure of Chris Carr and Eric King, the backup spots at the CB position are up for grabs. Competing against fellow youngsters such as Ryan Mouton, Jason McCourty and veteran DeMarcus Faggins, Cary should have a shot at some playing time this year.

However, you can’t make the club from the training tub, so staying healthy should be Cary’s chief concern during his second season.

Your turn, Titan fans: What are your ’09 expectations for the ’08 draft class?   


4 Responses to “2008 Tennessee Titan draft class: A year two outlook”

  1. Scott Says:

    I think your assessment of the Year 2 impact of the 2008 draft class is about right. All of them should make the team this year and make contributions, with CJ and Jones starting. The one guy that I am hoping to see big things from this year is Cary Williams. He seems to have all of the measurables for the corner position (speed, height, long arms), and if he can stay healthy he could get some significant playing time as the dime back and as the eventual replacement for Harper. It might, however, be just wishful thinking on my part. How many times can lightening strike the same spot and the Titans find a cornerback diamond in the rough from a small school in the 7th round?

  2. Iain S. Says:

    Here’s my concern. As talented as Jason Jones may be, he is a LOT smaller than Haynesworth. How does he come close to replacing him unless he’s got certain run stopping skills I don’t know about. It’s easy enough to say, well, he’s got others to help but unless they literally allow a 12th man on the field, the midlle of the defensive line suddenly got a lot lighter. Drexel, or anyone else, how is that reality going to be compensated for or mitigated against?

  3. Drexel Perry Says:

    Iain S,
    Jones is no Haynesworth, but he has added 10 pounds in preparation for next season:
    Fat Albert isn’t going to be easy to replace. However, I’m optimistic about Jason’s ability to be more than serviceable.
    Gonna be interesting to see how things play out on the interior D-line.
    Thanks for commenting, guys.

  4. Nick Says:

    Jason Jones is going to surpass Haynesworth as far as a pure DT tackle goes. I watched last years game against the Packers on NFL Replay, and the guy was all over the field making plays. He consistently beat whoever he was lined up against and got into the backfield. He did the same thing against the bears. Even ole Albert said that Jason was further along in his ability as a rookie than he was. Iain, as far as run stopping goes, he did that just as well as Albert did. Pittsburgh wasn’t his only game. All the games I watch, I try to keep my on him when he’s in the game, and in some cases he outperforms Albert. He was three sacks behind big al this year, and only started three games, so imagine the possiblities with a full year. Jason Jones will surpass Albert in a year or two. Count on it.

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