Titans fans are no stranger to mediocrity and disappointment, I mean Jeff Fisher was their head coach for a long time. They’ve had their share of bad luck and then some. But you have to cut them a little slack, they’ve had to play Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck twice a year for the last 20 years. That’s not ideal, just like this attempt at trying to solve their quarterback woes.
Coming off a sub-par season in 2010, the Titans attempted to get better at the quarterback position by selecting Jake Locker from the University of Washington with the 8th pick in the 2011 draft. Locker was coming off a down senior year, but had a lot of success before that. Draft analysts likened him to a “right handed Steve Young” due to his ability to create plays on the move, although he still remained fairly raw at the position. During his rookie season Locker played sparingly behind starter Matt Hasselbeck.
After an off-season QB competition, Locker was named the opening day starter. A few weeks into the season he tore his non-throwing shoulder and would be replaced by Hasselbeck. Locker finished the season with 10 TD throws and 11 interceptions. He would once again be named the starter next season, but struggled out of the gate. Eventually he got more comfortable and put together a few solid games before suffering a lisfranc injury in his right foot that would end his season yet again.
During the 2014 NFL season the Titans hired Ken Whisenhunt as their head coach. Locker was once again named the starter at QB, but his questionable play and decision making lead to him being benched for rookie Zach Mettenberger. Shortly after his benching he was again placed on IR, losing another season due to injury. That following March Locker announced his retirement stating that he had lost his desire to play football.
Missing on a quarterback in the first round is a terrible thing to happen to your franchise. Not only have you wasted a pick, but your fan base becomes severely disappointed because of how hard they buy into that player being “the guy.” Locker was far from a sure thing at the next level, but luckily for Titans faithful they ended up landing a guy named Marcus Mariota, who I think is going to wreck the league in 2018.
To make matters worse the 2011 draft was an absolutely stacked class, with guys like J.J. Watt, Robert Quinn, Mike Pouncey, Ryan Kerrigan, Cam Jordan, and Mark Ingram going after Locker in the 1st round. Seeing Watt’s name has to be particularly hurtful for Titans fans. When he’s been healthy Watt has been a headache for them as he’s one of the most dominant players in the last decade. But Tennessee has made some great draft choices lately, and seem to have hired a great coaching staff that will get the most out of Mariota.