For his first act, Titans general manager Jon Robinson took the No. 1 pick in the draft and spun it into a multitude of valuable selections, including two in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The Titans won nine games in 2016, which was the most victories in a season for the franchise since 2011. Tennessee flirted with the playoffs for the first time since the beginning of the Mike Munchak era.
So what does Robinson have up his sleeve for the 2017 draft? For one, he's not ruling out dealing pick No. 5 or 18, which are Tennessee's two first-rounders (the No. 5 courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams).
"It would be a mistake (to assume that we're keeping them)," Robinson told the team's official site ahead of the Senior Bowl. "We will evaluate all options that we have for the team and try to put ourselves in a position to do what is best for the team. It is knowing, A, the players that you want to draft that you think can help this football team and having them evaluated correctly. And it is knowing the teams around you, what their needs are, and whether you can move or navigate to still get one of the players that you want and maybe pick up some extra draft currency. Or are you going to have to get ahead of a team because you know they might like the same player you like and you have to move and get them?"
Robinson is taking the broader view, much like mentor Bill Belichick in that the number of higher picks are far more important than the single-highest pick.
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"Draft currency is a powerful thing in this league because it gives you a chance to acquire young talent," Robinson said. "They are less expensive players than guys who have played in the league six, seven or eight, nine or 10 years. So to be able to get two of those guys, or one of those guys if we trade, or three of those guys if we trade. ... Whatever it is, draft picks are valuable currency as it relates to team building."
Robinson has been fun to watch throughout his first season. Not only are the Titans winning and playing some of the league's most exciting football, but the general manager seems comfortable taking the fans as far inside the process as he can. This could all change with a poor season, of course, but there doesn't seem to be a non-playoff team out there right now with a brighter future. Robinson's first draft produced six valuable contributors, including one of the best young offensive tackles in football (first-round pick Jack Conklin).
While it's impossible to expect this kind of haul again in Year 2, Robinson is making Titans fans trust the process.