The question had to be asked following the 2010 NFL Draft: Are the Tennessee Titans more interested in winning the Super Bowl or the Quiz Bowl?
The nine players taken by the Titans, beginning with Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan, actually hurt Tennessee’s chances for the Super Bowl, at least according to Bodog.com. The website listed the Titans’ odds to win the franchise’s first NFL title at 25:1 back on Feb. 8. Following the draft, those odds went to 28:1.
It’s doubtful, though, that anyone would bet against them based on their academics. Not with a rookie crop that includes a Rhodes Scholar, an Ivy League graduate and a collection of other academic achievers, that is.
“You are looking at people that are achievers, and I think you want people that are focused and it’s important to them,” general manager Mike Reinfeldt said. “Being smart helps you to be a good football player.
“I think that’s part of the consideration you always take in it.”
Morgan was at the head of the class in terms of his draft position, and more often than not a player who spent three years at Georgia Tech would be considered the leading mind of a group of rookies. Not even close for the 2010 Titans class.
Most notable among the draftees was Florida State safety Myron Rolle, who accepted a Rhodes scholarship and skipped football last fall to study at the famed Oxford University in England.
“The fact that I chose football is something that academics and people in the education realm can’t really understand I think shows my testament,” Rolle said. “I gave up a lot and sacrificed a lot to get my Rhodes scholarship experience.”
Rolle was the second of the Titans’ two sixth-round picks. One round later they selected defensive tackle David Howard, who earned his economics degree from Brown in December. Fourth-round choice Alterraun Verner, a cornerback, was studying applied mathematics at UCLA, and third-round choice Damien Williams, a wide receiver, earned his degree from USC last December as well.
“I think the good thing is, they all have a chance to compete,” Reinfeldt said. “I think we have really increased the competition at some of the spots … I think that is how we become better.”