NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans/Oilers have selected players with the 16th pick three times in franchise history, including the last player drafted as an Oiler and the first drafted as a Titan.
The organization made its only first-round selection as the Tennessee Oilers (the team moved to Tennessee after the 1997 NFL Draft) by selecting wide receiver Kevin Dyson on April 18, 1998, just two days after a tornado ripped through downtown Nashville and damaged the construction site of their future stadium.
After going 8-8 in 1998, the newly named Tennessee Titans were back at pick 16 the following year and selected defensive end Jevon Kearse on April 17, 1999, just four days after unveiling their new uniforms and helmets.
An 8-8 finish in 2009 landed the Titans at 16 for the third time in 2010 when they selected defensive end
Dyson played five seasons with the Oilers and Titans, starting 54 of 58 regular season games and recording 176 receptions for 2,310 yards and 18 touchdowns in those contests. He is more known, however, for his involvement in two of the most critical plays in franchise history.
Momentum from that play catapulted the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV where Dyson was involved with a much less enjoyable but still vivid memory for fans, players and coaches. He caught a pass from Steve McNair but was tackled by St. Louis LB Mike Jones one yard shy of the goal line as time expired.
Kearse, who was nicknamed “The Freak” for his uncanny abilities and 86-inch wingspan, played an essential role in the Titans’ improvement from a .500 record to 13-3 mark in one season. He recorded 14.5 sacks in his first year, setting the NFL official record for sacks by a rookie, and led the team in the category his first three seasons. Kearse also forced eight fumbles that season.
Kearse was named All Pro and became the first rookie defensive end selected to the Pro Bowl in AFC history and first in the NFL since 1978 and made return trips the next two seasons. Kearse ranks sixth in franchise history with 51 sacks with the team.
Morgan did not get the amount of playing time Kearse received in his rookie campaign because of a season-ending torn ACL he suffered against Denver in Week 4. Morgan returned, however, in 2011 and started 10 of 15 games.
Morgan continued his progression in 2012, starting all 16 games and leading the Titans with 6.5 sacks and 19 quarterback pressures. In addition to pressuring passers, Morgan also played solidly against the run last season.The Titans have the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft that begins April 25. Click here to visit Titans Draft Central.