For Robinson, Draft Class Worth the Waits

Titans navigated long pauses to make their 2020 picks
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NASHVILLE – If the Tennessee Titans want to select a theme song for the 2020 draft, they could do worse than The Waiting by Tom Petty.

After all, it was in that 1981 release that the late Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer proclaimed, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

At the end of each day general manager Jon Robinson used meteorological or pugilistic imagery to describe the delays between selections, which included the second-longest of the five drafts he has run for the franchise. Ultimately, they were pleased with the six selections they made, which meant that … well, the waiting was the hardest part.

Consider that to get those six players, Robinson and the Titans had to:

• Endure the franchise’s longest wait since 2009 to make a first-round selection,

• Watched as 81 players were chosen between their third and fourth picks, including 67 at the start of the third day,

• Stood by for another 50 selections before they made their fifth choice,

• Made just one pick among the first 60 for the first time since 2010.

The worst, according to Robinson, were the 31 picks that passed between when they got tackle Isaiah Wilson in the first and cornerback Kristian Fulton in the second (No. 61 overall). Fulton was not the only player the Titans targeted for that choice, but he was the one who was there when the time arrived.

“We were just patient,” Robinson said. “We just kind of waited it out. We took a couple of jabs, and absorbed a couple of body blows, but hung in there and waited it out. Again, fortunate that (Fulton) was there for us to take.”

Things went better on Saturday, which started with the selection of defensive tackle Larrell Murchison, the No. 174 overall choice.

The only time in Robinson’s tenure with Tennessee that he waited longer between picks was 2018, when trades took him out of the third and fourth rounds completely. The result was a gap of 111 selections between Harold Landry (second round) and safety Dane Cruickshank (fifth round).

“(Murchison) was the guy that (coach Mike Vrabel) had kind of circled in his notebook, and he was the last guy that I looked at when I closed my computer up (Friday) night to go to bed,” Robinson said. “We weathered 67 picks there [from the start of the fourth round] with him, and we were fortunate enough to get him.”

A recap of the Titans’ 2020 draft class:

First round (No. 29): Isaiah Wilson, T, Georgia

Second round (No. 61): Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU

Third round (No. 93): Darrynton Evans, RB, Appalachian State

Fifth round (No. 174): Larrell Murchison, DT, N.C. State

Seventh round (No. 224): Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii

Seventh round (No. 243): Chris Jackson, DB, Marshall

Now, due to restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, he has to endure another wait.

“I think that right now we’re excited about the players that we were able to add, and excited for when we can get them in here and start working with them,” Robinson said Saturday at the conclusion of the draft. “… I’m ready to get out of my house and get out on the grass and work with our players, work with these rookies.”