Last year, Tennessee Titans General Manager Jon Robinson was a member of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ front office that was faced with a difficult decision with the first overall pick in the 2015 Draft. Do they select Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota? The Buccaneers ultimately took Winston, but Robinson told The Jim Rome Show on Tuesday that there wasn’t much separation between the two quarterbacks.
“You notice good football players on the road when you’re scouting, and he was a guy that had a quiet confidence about him that distributed the football well, that had a unique balance of arm talent and athleticism and just thought he was going to be a really good football player,” Robinson said. “I mean it was a tough decision in Tampa for us last year. I was heavily involved in that process, and it really wasn’t a 1-2, it was more of a 1a – 1b, where we really couldn’t go wrong with either player.”
Robinson says he was impressed with Mariota’s first year in the league, as he got a firsthand look at the rookie when Tennessee traveled to Tampa Bay for the season opener. “I know we opened up with those guys last year and he torched us down in Tampa, I mean he ripped us apart pretty good,” Robinson said.
This season, with Robinson running the show in Tennessee, the organization decided against using their #1 overall draft pick and instead traded the pick to the Los Angeles Rams.
“I think we were all in agreement that we are more than one player away here with the Titans,” Robinson said. “And the ability to pick up six players in the top 76 picks and an extra first round pick next year, and an extra third round pick next year, those were going to be key building blocks for this franchise,” Robinson said. “And to be able to infuse young talent into this roster, that was more important than one white knight riding in on a horse with the first overall pick.”
With the Titans’ first four picks, the team took an offensive tackle, a defensive end, a defensive tackle, and a power running back in Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, because Robinson is looking to build a new identity for his team.
“This football team is going to be a tough, accountable, team-first team and all four of those guys embody those characteristics,” Robinson said. “They’re coachable guys. They’re guys that you can count on both on and off the field. I believe in building the team from the front, getting those lines strengthened and we think we were able to do that in this draft. And then free agency with a couple of additions, we were able to acquire as well.”