History repeats itself: Titans draft another DE duo

It’s like 2004 all over again.
Coming off a 12-4 record and postseason birth in 2003, the 2004 Tennessee Titans were in need of reinforcements at the defensive end position. Jevon Kearse had signed a lucrative free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, and Kevin Carter wasn’t getting any younger. As a result of those circumstances, the Titans decided to invest heavily in younger talent at DE, drafting Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy in the second round in 2004.
In 2008, the Titans, like 2004, are heading into the season as a playoff team from the previous year and as a result of the free agency departures of Odom and LaBoy, they are yet again faced with the task of replenishing the defensive line.
By drafting Jason Jones and William “Big Play” Hayes, the Titans hope to once again begin a youth movement at the DE spot.

The plights of Odom and LaBoy should be a reminder to Titan fans that patience should be exercised when it comes to the expectations surrounding young defensive ends (with the exception of Jevon Kearse’s scintillating rookie performance).
Unlike “The Freak”, Odom and LaBoy didn’t become overnight successes, as their first three seasons as Tennessee Titans were marred with inconsistency and injuries. Odom’s inability to produce and LaBoy’s constant concussions were consistent sources of frustration for many followers of the team that dons the two-toned blue.
The transition into the NFL should be a little easier for the Titans’ latest crop of young defensive ends. Jones and Hayes have the luxury of playing behind veterans Kyle Vanden Bosch and Jevon Kearse, so unless the dreaded injury bug rears its ugly head, the playing time of the talented rookies should be limited. Of course, it would be a bonus if one or both of the young DE’s emerge as viable contributors on the defensive line in 2008.
Despite getting off to slow starts, Odom and LaBoy overcame their growing pains to become solid performers on the Titans’ defensive line, thus making the decision to spend draft picks on the duo in 2004 an effective one.
In 2008, the Titans are hoping that with the additions of Jones and Hayes last weekend, history will repeat itself.

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