NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Coming off a league-best 13-3 regular season in 2008, the Tennessee Titans added 11 new players to their roster during the 2009 NFL Draft.
With a draft class that includes two wide receivers, two offensive linemen, two cornerbacks, and one player at the defensive tackle, tight end, linebacker, running back and safety positions, the Titans were satisfied that they addressed needs and added a number of prospective playmakers.
"I think we added a lot of good football players," said Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt. "We got some guys that will compete at a lot of different positions."
With their first-round pick and the 30th overall selection, the Titans drafted wide receiver Kenny Britt. In only three years at Rutgers University, Britt became the Big East Conference's all-time leader with 3,043 receiving yards. As a senior, his 114.3 yards per game ranked second in the nation and helped earn him Associated Press third-team All-America honors. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound receiver, who became the first Rutgers player to be drafted in the first round, adds size and speed to a Titans wide receiver corps that already added former Pittsburgh Steelers free agent Nate Washington and returns starter Justin Gage.
"He is a big, strong, physical receiver that can get in and out of cuts and make the catches. He has been very well coached," said Titans head coach Jeff Fisher when asked about Britt. "We feel like he is what we have been missing in our passing game."
In the second round, the Titans drafted Sen'Derrick Marks, a 6-foot-2, 306-pound defensive tackle from Auburn. A three-year starter, Marks posted 114 tackles and 7.5 sacks for the Tigers and twice earned second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors.
A day after being drafted, Britt and Marks arrived in Nashville to visit the team and greet the media.
"It is like a little kid on Christmas. I'm really happy to be here, and I'm blessed for the opportunity to live out my dream," Britt said.
Marks added, "It has been life-changing, the best call of your life."
Meanwhile, the Titans continued to add players on the second day of the draft. In the third round, they traded for an extra pick in order to select another player from the SEC, former University of South Carolina tight end Jared Cook. The Titans gave up a second-round pick in next year's draft to the New England Patriots to take Cook, a gifted pass catcher with size (6-5, 246) and speed (4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash).
"When you have a chance to add a difference maker, you need to jump in there and make it happen," Reinfeldt said.
In his final season at South Carolina, Cook was named first-team All-SEC by the league's coaches after recording 37 receptions for 573 yards and three touchdowns.
Five picks after taking Cook, the Titans were back "on the clock" in their original third-round slot and used it on Ryan Mouton, a cornerback from the University of Hawaii. The 5-foot-9, 187-pound speedster notched 69 tackles and three interceptions in 24 games at Hawaii and earned All-Western Athletic Conference honors as a senior. He also doubled as a kickoff returner, averaging 24.4 yards per attempt with two career touchdowns.
With their first pick in the fourth round, the Titans felt fortunate to nab linebacker Gerald McRath from Southern Miss. McRath (6-3, 220) was an All-Conference USA performer who led the league with over 10 tackles per game in his final college season. In 2007, McRath was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year.
Of Tennessee's first five picks, four entered the draft with a year of college eligibility remaining. Out of Britt, Marks, Cook, Mouton and McRath, only Mouton did not declare early for the NFL.
With their second fourth-round pick, the Titans took Troy Kropog, a 6-foot-6, 309-pound offensive lineman from Tulane. The team's other addition to the offensive line was Ryan Durand (6-5, 303), a guard from Syracuse who was taken in the seventh round.
Running back Javon Ringer fell to the Titans in the fifth round. Ringer (5-9, 205) became the Michigan State Spartans' second all-time leading rusher with 4,398 career yards in four seasons.
The Titans acquired two players in the sixth round: cornerback Jason McCourty (6-0, 193), a teammate of Britt's who started three seasons and recorded two career interceptions at Rutgers; and Stephen F. Austin wide receiver Dominique Edison (6-2, 204), an All-Southland Conference performer who was second in the nation with 18 touchdown receptions as a senior.
The Titans' final choice in the seventh round was safety Nick Schommer (6-0, 201), a product of North Dakota State who recorded 10 career interceptions and was named All-Missouri Valley Conference as a senior.
The 11 picks by the Titans were the most for the club since 2005 and add to an already talented roster that reached the Divisional Playoff round in 2008. The draft choices, as well as eight additional rookie free agents, will come together for the first time at a rookie minicamp from April 30-May 2 at Baptist Sports Park.
"I think offensively, we definitely helped ourselves. Defensively, we have added speed," Fisher concluded. "Time will tell, but this is a very talented group."