NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** Jon Robinson worked in the background at his previous jobs in New England and Tampa Bay. When it came to big decisions, he was involved, but wasn't necessarily the guy pulling the trigger.
But that doesn't mean he didn't face pressure before taking over as general manager of the Titans in January.
"He worked with Bill Belichick, and with Bill being so strong, there are guys who are hesitant to voice an opinion. Because around Bill, you can't be wrong," former Titans general manager Floyd Reese said on Friday. "It is not like you get two or three chances. You get a chance and you screw it up, you're done.
"So you have to be pretty sure in yourself to voice an opinion, and Jon was never concerned about it."
Reese should know. He worked four years (2009-2012) as a senior football advisor with the Patriots alongside Robinson, and Belichick.
Reese, who served as GM with the Titans from 1994-2006, said Robinson's background helped prepare him for his time in the big seat. And he thinks he's off to a fantastic start. After a productive free agency period, Robinson orchestrated a trade that shook up the NFL Draft on Thursday when he sent the first overall pick to the Los Angeles Rams for a boatload of picks.
"I loved the move,'' said Reese, who currently serves as a talk radio host on 102.5/FM The Game in Nashville. "Considering what has happened with the team the last few years....We haven't played a game, and we haven't even drafted yet. But he has done so much to energize the fan base, energize the franchise. He has done an excellent job at that, and it's not that he's looking to do that – he's just doing his job. People are excited. On the radio show, people are fired up. One guy called in and asked, "Hey, is it too early to put up a statue of Jon out front of the stadium? It might be a day or two early for that, but he's off to a great start."
Nationally, the move was applauded, from SI's Peter King to ESPN's John Clayton.
"Titans are really set up well for the future now with this deal,'' ESPN's Adam Caplan wrote via Twitter. "Can address lots of needs. 6 picks in the top 76."
"Titans hit double draft lottery this year,'' wrote Gil Brandt, a former VP with the Cowboys. "Record got them top pick, Browns picking behind them got them their king's-ransom asking price."
"It's a great move for the Titans,'' wrote Pete Prisco of CBS Sports. "Great move."
"There's a new Sheriff in town --and his name is Jon Robinson!!!,'' added ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit. "Great move sir!! Here we go now!"
Earlier this offseason, Robinson traded for former Cowboys and Eagles running back DeMarco Murray. The Titans have added 10 new veteran faces to the team since the beginning of March.
On Thursday, the Titans traded the No.1 pick of the draft to the Rams for the 15th overall pick in this year's draft, two second-round picks (43 and 45), and a third-rounder (76) in 2016. The Titans will also receive the Rams' first-round pick in 2017, along with their third-round pick in next year's draft.
In addition to Tennessee's No.1 pick this year, the Rams will also receive a fourth-round pick (113) and sixth-round pick (177) in 2016.
Reese applauded the move.
"It would be nice to get a really good player with the first pick, but it would be much better to get five good players, and that's what he's done,'' Reese said. "Let's face it: There was no consensus on the No.1 pick. There were a lot of guys being talked about being considered for the No.1 pick. In this draft he's going to be able to get quality and quantity and that is what this team needed. … He got a boatload to get all those picks."
Reese gets the sense Robinson isn't done yet either. Prior to joining the Titans, Robinson spent 12 seasons with the Patriots (2002-13), where he worked as New England's director of college scouting (2009-13), and prior to that served as a regional scout and an area scout for the Patriots.
As a result of the trade, the Titans now have six picks in the top 76 in this year's draft – 15, 33, 43, 45, 64 and 76. The Titans already held picks 33 and 64.
"He's in a perfect position,'' Reese said of Robinson. "If he wanted to move up to No.2, he has the ammo to do that. If people are saying, "Man, we really wanted Laremy Tunsil or we really wanted Jalen Ramsey and that is gone.' Well, that is wrong. If he decides he wants to do that, he can still do that and make that happen. If he wants to drop down another couple of spots and pick up another three or something, he can do that. He is in a position of strength.
"And if he decides he wants to stick at 15 and pick, he'll get a heck of a player. I think all of his options are there, and thank goodness he has enough bullets in the gun, if he decides to fire, he can."
No matter what happens in the draft, Reese things these are changing times in Tennessee.
Along with Robinson, he complimented controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, president Steve Underwood and coach Mike Mularkey for their approach this offseason.
"When I first started doing the radio show (a year ago), if you got 10 calls they would be, 'What are the Titans doing? Where are we going? What's going on here?' Now you are not hearing any of that,'' Reese said. "Now, it's 'We're excited, and we're going to be there on Sundays. And I think people are realistic enough where they are not saying, 'We are going to win 12 games this year!' They are just thrilled with the fact that we're working at it, and it's obvious.
"And Amy and Steve and Mike and Jon have all done a good job of re-establishing some of the relationships that were so good in the community. I think people are seeing Amy and Steve are doing a good job, and they are out in the community. And Jon Robinson does a great job with that. He wants to represent the franchise, and be out with the people. And Amy is out there, and her presence is felt, and that is really, really healthy. Across the board, things are positive."