Searching for playmakers

Perhaps the most glaring need for the Titans as they begin their preparation for the offseason, is a wide receiver (or two) that can make plays. The remaining teams left in the race for the Lombardi Trophy consist of playmakers such as Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Reggie Wayne and Plaxico Burress: receivers who command a lot of attention and are capable of providing opposing defensive backs with nightmares on a frequent basis.
Injuries, inconsistency and dropped passes often plagued Titan wide receivers in 2007. Their inability to consistently make plays was a big factor in the team’s well-chronicled struggles in the passing game.
As the offseason approaches us, let’s take a look at some of the draft/free agent/trade options that the Titans will have at their disposal as they attempt to upgrade the wide receiver position:

The Draft
In recent years, the draft has been unkind to the Titans when it comes to selecting wide receivers. Tyrone Calico and Courtney Roby are vivid examples of unsuccessful draft picks at the position.
Since 2005, the Titans have invested seven draft picks towards improving the wide receiver position. Of the seven selections, only Roydell Williams (4th round), Brandon Jones (3rd), Chris Davis (4th) and Paul Williams (3rd) remain on the roster. Last year, the quartet combined to catch 81 passes for 1005 yards and 6 touchdowns, which equals to the type of production typically attained by a number one receiver, something that this team so desperately needs.
The Titans haven’t chosen a wide receiver in the first round since 1998, when they passed up Randy Moss in favor of Kevin Dyson, whose career unfortunately came to an end as a result of a myriad of injuries. Moss on the other hand, has become one of the league’s most dangerous receivers and just recently broke Jerry Rice’s record for touchdowns in a season.
The 2008 NFL Draft will have a few standout receivers who could possibly be in a Titans’ uniform come September. Limas Sweed is an athletic specimen who also happens to be an ex-teammate of Vince Young, and he is currently regarded as the draft’s most talented receiver. Other first round possibilities include Early Doucet, a possession receiver who runs good routes; Adarius Bowman, an intriguing talent with a decent size-speed combination; and (Super) Mario Manningham, a talented junior from Michigan who has demonstrated the ability to make plays throughout his collegiate career.
Personally, I am intrigued by Sweed’s potential and his rapport with Vince Young is an added bonus. He would look good in a Titans’ uniform. 
Free Agency
Last year, free agency netted the Titans the services of Justin Gage and Eric Moulds. Gage tied for the team lead in catches while Moulds continued his descent from being one of the league’s better receivers to an aging vet who is on his last legs.
The Titans may use free agency as they look to add a playmaker or two to Vince Young’s arsenal of wideouts in 2008. In my opinion, Bernard Berrian would be a solid acquisition. His presence would provide the Titans with a legitimate deep threat that would open up opportunities for the likes of Roydell Williams and Brandon Jones underneath. Besides, anyone who is able to put up respectable stats with Rex Grossman as their starting quarterback is alright with me.
Other free agent possibilities include Arizona’s Bryant Johnson and Seattle’s D.J.Hackett, a player that current Titan GM Mike Reinfeldt is very familiar with from his days as a Seahawks executive.
Trades
A trade could be a possibility as well, as talented receivers such as Chad Johnson, Roy Williams and Javon Walker have been rumored to be on the trading block. New England’s trade for Randy Moss last season has proven to be an excellent acquisition for the Patriots, to say the least. A proven number one receiver would be a great addition, if the price-tag isn’t too high.
Whether it is via free agency, the draft or a trade, the Titans will be eagerly seeking to upgrade their wide receiving unit. As evidenced by several of this season’s remaining playoff teams, a playmaker at the WR position can be an extremely valuable commodity.

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