It’s Tennessee’s misfortune, however, to be running into the red-hot Baltimore Ravens in the wildcard round of the AFC playoffs. But if Lamar Jackson is the biggest nightmare keeping the Titans up at night in the first week of 2021, then Isaiah Wilson rates a close second.
Tennessee’s front office needs to concede that Wilson, the Titans’ first-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft, is on his way to becoming a bust of Ryan Leaf proportions.
The Tennessee Titans should be excited
The Tennessee Titans are moving in the right direction on the field. The 2019 season marked their second 9-7 finish under Mike Vrabel and fourth in a row overall. But it was also the year in which they moved on from Marcus Mariota, the quarterback they picked No. 2 overall in 2015.
The Titans turned to Ryan Tannehill midway through that season, and the former Miami Dolphins signal-caller has emerged as a reliable leader of the offense. In 27 games over two seasons, Tannehill has thrown 55 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions. It’s been an impressive turnaround from 75 picks in 88 games with the Dolphins.
But what really makes the offense go is running back Derrick Henry, who had three 200-yard games in the just-completed 11-5 regular season. Henry was a revelation in 2019 when he led the league with 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground. He was unstoppable in 2020 with 2,027 yards and 17 scores.
It’s balance on offense that makes the Titans dangerous in the win-or-go-home postseason.
Isaiah Wilson got off to a shaky start with the Tennessee Titans
In retrospect, the first red flag that should have been raised about Isaiah Wilson is that the Tennessee Titans made him the sixth tackle selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. Analysts may have believed the position was deep, but there hadn’t been that many tackles taken so early since 2011; the average from 2016-19 was three per year.
Wilson, who played collegiately at the University of Georgia, was just seven months past his 21st birthday when police in Tennessee arrested the Titans rookie on a DUI charge in September two days before the team was to travel to Denver for the opener. According to A to Z Sports in Nashville, the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Wilson after he lost control of his car and hit a concrete wall.
That development came after Wilson was the last Titans draft pick to agree to terms. His contract included a $5,973,376 signing bonus and $11,357,982 in guaranteed money, but Wilson was slowed by being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list twice during training camp.
Midway through camp, Wilson had another encounter with police during an incident near Tennessee State University. When authorities arrived following reports of a party, Wilson considered jumping off a second-story balcony to elude police, a campus police incident report said. The New York Post reported it was unclear if Wilson violated the NFL-NFLPA rules banning players from attending house parties with more than 15 people during the pandemic.
Isaiah Wilson was back in the news over the weekend
Isaiah Wilson has played a total of four snaps, spending most of the season on the reserve/non-football illness list while dealing with unspecified personal issues. A wasted rookie season grew worse over the New Year’s weekend as video turned up showing the Tennessee Titans rookie tackle partying with friends.
Instagram images showed Wilson shirtless on a boat dancing near an unidentified woman with dollar bills shoved in her bikini, according to A to Z Sports.
The party is believed to have taken place in the Miami area, a long way from the Titans’ Nashville home base regardless of whether Wilson was on the active roster or not.
The Titans are focused on working their way through a loaded AFC playoffs field. Wilson’s focus seems to be on something other than football.