Titans opt for Wright instead of bolstering pass rush

Posted April 26, 2012 @ 10:39 p.m.
Posted By Arthur Arkush

In his first draft as lead decision maker, Titans new GM Ruston Webster wasted little time bucking conventional wisdom with the selection of former Baylor WR Kendall Wright. Tennessee, which had greater needs up front on both sides of the ball, elected to pass on a number of havoc-wreaking defensive ends, as well as the best guard in the draft, to add Wright to its already solid WR stable.

The Titans’ receiving corps grew up fast last season without No. 1 wideout Kenny Britt, who tore his ACL and MCL in Week Four. But the addition of Wright gives the Titans, who will host a QB battle between veteran Matt Hasselbeck and youngster Jake Locker in training camp, an explosive receiver who can stretch the field vertically and horizontally. Although he lacks the size of a No. 1 wideout like Britt, Wright provides an insurance policy in the event Britt, who has missed a combined 17 games in his first three seasons, struggles to return from his knee injury.

This move qualifies as a bit of a head-scratcher for me, though. While I knew the Titans coveted Wright — PFW draft expert Nolan Nawrocki paired the elusive slot receiver with the Titans in his final mock draft — I think they would have benefited more with the addition of a pass rusher like Whitney Mercilus or plug-and-play OG David DeCastro. This move tells me that the Titans have the utmost confidence in Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan to provide enough juice off the edge, but I have my doubts. Wimbley was hot and cold in Oakland, and Morgan has yet to show the pass-rush prowess he regularly displayed while in college.

Paired with RB Chris Johnson, TE Jared Cook and Britt, Wright makes the Titans more dangerous offensively. Whenever Locker is ready to seize the starting job, he will have a number of young, exciting offensive weapons with whom he can grow. But the Titans missed out on an opportunity to bolster the pass rush, which, unlike the receiving group, was a major issue for the Titans in 2011.