Rookie defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks has yet to exhibit the skills worthy of a second-round draft pick. From what I’ve witnessed, he’s barely shown the ability to be considered as a draftable player. As far as I know, he hasn’t been hampered by any kind of illness or injury. His failure to perform on the field is a mystery to me. I know the talent must be there somewhere or Jim Washburn wouldn’t have been so high on him.
Even as a rookie, a second-round draft pick should be pushing somebody for a starting job. Marks, however, hasn’t even made a serious bid to contend for a spot in the Titans’ four-man rotation. He has been wallowing near the bottom of the DT depth chart, unable to climb out of it. For most of training camp and the preseason, I thought Marks was no better than sixth out of the seven DTs.
Three players – Tony Brown, Jovan Haye and Jason Jones (when healthy) - have clearly been at the top of the depth chart. Kevin Vickerson and LaJuan Ramsey, in that order, were next, followed by Marks and Mitch King.
It wasn’t that way just in training camp, it carried over into the preseason games. If you look at the substitution patterns, Vickerson got into the rotation early and played fairly well, followed by Ramsey. Marks waited his turn with King and then mopped up in the fourth quarter against the other teams’ scrubs.
Marks is lucky to have survived the cut, and I don’t believe he would have if he was a late-round pick. I ranted
about that before the final cuts were made and my opinion hasn’t softened since then.
I agree with Tom when he stated keeping five DTs is a “failure of roster management
” and also believe Marks failed to perform. The two failures created some negative synergy. If Marks had lived up to expectations, the Titans wouldn’t have needed to keep five DTs. As it is, Marks will be consume one of the inactive spots every week and it’s really sad when a second-round draft pick is a healthy scratch.
I’ll remember one thing about Marks for a while. One day in camp, I was watching the d-linemen as the team was working in position groups. Shortly after the practice moved on to eleven on eleven work, Washburn yelled, “What’s the matter, Marks? We were just working on that move ten minutes ago!”
When you look at the guys who were cut last week, quite a few of them looked like better football players than Marks. Who knows, maybe Washburn is right and Marks will eventually become a good player. But right now he sure looks more like a dud than a stud.