Jon Robinson Titans

John Robinson and the Titans made Corey Davis the first receiver taken in the NFL Draft, with the fifth overall pick.

Davis has all the measurables at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds with big hands and long speed. He had the production by being the only receiver in college football history to have over 300 catches, for 5,000 or more yards and over 50 touchdowns in a career. Yet, Robinson’s pick of Davis came with blowback from some Titans fans because of the small football school he comes from: Western Michigan.

242 picks later, the final wide receiver was taken in the draft: LSU’s Malachi Dupre. Dupre played at a blue-blood football program, in a powerhouse conference. He was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school. The Titans needed tons of receiver help, and they passed on Dupre nine times, four times in the seventh round. You see, Jon Robinson doesn’t give a damn where you played college football. He just cares if you can play in the NFL.

Big School or Small School, Jon Robinson will pick you

Robinson has 19 total draft selections in the two years he’s been the Titans general manager. Everyone, and I mean everyone, talks about getting players who are “Jon Robinson guys”. Tough, dependable with a team-first attitude. Notice “big school prospect” isn’t one of the three.

Out of those 19 picks, he’s taken 10 from Power-5 conference schools; blue-bloods like Alabama, USC, Penn State, Michigan State and Clemson. The other nine players have ranged from schools like Southern Mississippi, Southern Utah, Massachusetts and Chattanooga.

Jon Robinson drafts Sharpe
Robinson drafted Tajae Sharpe from UMass in the 5th round of the 2016 Draft. Sharpe led college football in receptions in 2015 (111) and was third in receiving yards for the Titans as a rookie (photo: Titans).

You might be thinking, “anybody can take a flyer on a no-name prospect from Villanova in the seventh round.” Yeah, Robinson did with offensive tackle Brad Seaton. But, he also has seventh round picks out of UCLA, California, TCU and a sixth rounder from Arkansas. He’s taken players in the top four rounds from Western Michigan, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee and Florida International.

So when Titans fans want to question the level of competition some of the draft picks played against, Robinson will let you know that will never change his evaluation about what a player can be in the NFL. Therefore, it’s time to stop asking that question.

From 5-stars to No-stars

With all these small school guys, it seems like the Titans only rely on “self-made” players. You might need two hands to count the players who said they only had one scholarship offer coming out of high school. That’s what Davis, Taywan Taylor and Jonnu Smith have already told the media.

Considering Chattanooga and Villanova aren’t D1 schools, it’s safe to say Corey Levin and Seaton didn’t have any D1 offers.

Hell, 2016 first round pick and All-Pro rookie offensive lineman Jack Conklin was a WALK-ON and Michigan State.

Those guys are great stories, for sure. But the Titans have also brought in some premier talent from the college recruiting ranks. The second, first round pick for Tennessee was corner back Adoree’ Jackson out of USC. The former 5-star was considered the No. 1 “athlete” coming out of high school and the seventh highest highest rated player in the high school class of 2014. Derrick Henry won the Heisman Trophy at Alabama, and he was 12th ranked overall prospect and No. 1 running back in the 2013 class.

The point has been made. You can be a Heisman Trophy winner, Thorpe Award winner, the most productive receiver in the history of college football or the best offensive lineman in the Colonial Athletic Conference. If you’re tough, dependable and can flat out play football, Jon Robinson wants to make you a Tennessee Titan.