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Titans begin a New Era, hold First Pick in 2016 NFL Draft

Jon Robinson and Mike Mularkey chosen to lead team into 2016 off season

Tennessee TitansNashville, TN – The Tennessee Titans enter 2016 with new leadership at the top of football operations. General manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Mularkey were named to their respective posts less than two weeks after the conclusion of the 2015 regular season, charged by controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk with building a consistent playoff contender.

It marked the first time since 1981 in which the franchise hired a general manager and head coach in the same off season. With the NFL Scouting Combine, free agency, the NFL Draft and the players’ off season workout program on the horizon, Robinson and Mularkey have launched their efforts in earnest.

Tennessee Titans president Steve Underwood (left) during a press conference with new head coach Mike Mularkey (center) and new general manager Jon Robinson (right) at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports) [1]

Tennessee Titans president Steve Underwood (left) during a press conference with new head coach Mike Mularkey (center) and new general manager Jon Robinson (right) at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Mularkey Takes The Reins As Head Coach

On Tuesday, November 3rd, seven games into the 2015 campaign, Mularkey was inserted as the interim head coach, promoted from his previous position as assistant head coach/tight ends when the team parted ways with Ken Whisenhunt.

Mularkey, who spent three previous NFL seasons as a head coach with the Buffalo Bills (2004–2005) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2012), led the Titans to a dramatic win at New Orleans less than a week later. An overtime touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota to tight end Anthony Fasano capped the emotional victory.

2016 Draft Order Top 10

1. Tennessee Titans
2. Cleveland Browns
3. San Diego Chargers
4. Dallas Cowboys
5. Jacksonville Jaguars
6. Baltimore Ravens
7. San Francisco 49ers
8. Miami Dolphins
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10.New York Giant

Later in the season, Mularkey earned his second win against the division rival Jacksonville Jaguars. The victories against the Saints and Jaguars were two of the five contests under Mularkey involving a final margin of six or fewer points. The Titans concluded the season with a record of 3-13.

Mularkey helped guide the club’s youngest offensive roster in recent years. In 2015, 42.9 percent of the team’s offensive snaps were by rookies, first-year or second-year players, and more than a quarter of the offensive snaps—25.8 percent—were by rookies alone. Both numbers represented four-year team highs.

A rash of injuries forced 11 players to injured reserve, the team’s third-highest total since 1990, and caused several more to miss significant time, including Mariota and wide receiver Kendall Wright. Through the adversity, Mularkey maintained his foundational message to the players: be “a tough, physical football team,” and “don’t beat yourself.” His team proved to be disciplined, as its 34 penalties in the second half of the season were the fewest in the NFL.

Mularkey’s first order of business upon accepting the full-time role as head coach was hiring his top assistants, starting with naming Dick LeBeau the assistant head coach/defensive coordinator and Terry Robiskie the offensive coordinator.

A veteran of 57 years as a player or coach in the NFL, LeBeau arrived in 2015, and in his first year in Tennessee, the defense improved in nearly every defensive category, including total defense (12th from 27th), rush defense (18th from 31st) and pass defense (seventh from 15th).

Robiskie has spent six of his prior 34 years in coaching as an offensive coordinator. He was the Atlanta Falcons’ wide receivers coach for the last eight years.

Jon Robinson To Direct Efforts In Free Agency And Draft

Robinson was brought to Tennessee after the last two seasons as director of player personnel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Union City, Tennessee, native also spent a total of 12 years with the New England Patriots, serving as the director of college scouting from 2009–2013.

With the talent evaluation process already underway, Robinson and his staff will get first-hand interaction with top draft prospects at the NFL Scouting Combine from February 23rd-29th and will continue scouting and visiting with players until the three-day draft begins April 28th. In the meantime, the new league year commences on March 9th, and with it the unrestricted free agent signing period.

The Titans own the first pick in the draft and eight total selections. They have their original choice in each of the seven rounds, plus an extra sixth-round pick as a result of a 2015 trade with the Atlanta Falcons. In addition to the No. 1 pick, they possess the 33rd overall pick in the second round and the 64th overall pick in the third round.

This is the first time the Titans have had the first pick since the franchise moved to Tennessee and the third time in franchise history. The last time the franchise had the top pick was 1978, when the then-Oilers traded up to select Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell.