Let’s wind the clocks back a couple of years. The date is January 14, 2016, and the Titans just ended a 3-13 season in which Tennessee graded out as the worst team in the NFL. The Titans hired a player personnel director from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their new General Manager, Jon Robinson. Thus began the myth, the man, the “Rob-father”.
In just two years, Robinson has not only helped lead Tennessee back to the playoffs, he has them in position to contend for the Super Bowl. What exactly has he done, though, to earn himself the nickname the “Rob-father”?
Trading for DeMarco Murray
On March 9, 2016, Robinson saw running back DeMarco Murray still had some tread left on the tires. Murray had struggled mightily to fit in with the Eagles under former head coach Chip Kelly. Robinson didn’t waste any time and agreed with the Eagles to swap draft picks in the fourth round in return for Murray. He went on to carry the ball 477 times for 1,946 yards and 15 touchdowns in his two seasons with the Titans. Murray was a cap casualty this offseason.
Drafting Derrick Henry
With the 45th pick in the 2016 draft, Robinson saw the perfect compliment to the newly acquired Murray in Alabama running back Derrick Henry. Henry went on to provide a much-needed power back to go with Murray’s every-down contributions. The two spearheaded one of the most potent rushing attacks in the NFL.
Signing Rishard Matthews and Drafting Corey Davis
Rishard Matthews signed in 2016 and gave Marcus Mariota a reliable, veteran wide receiver to throw to. Robinson saw that the team would only go as far as Mariota would lead them, and he prioritized building around Mariota.
Corey Davis, the FBS all-time leading wide receiver, was drafted with pick number five in the 2017 NFL draft by the Titans. Jon Robinson saw a perfect wide receiving compliment for Mariota. Davis flashes the talent of being a future NFL star but is battling injuries early in his career.
Putting the Titans on the Free Agent Map
This current free agency, Robinson has continued his goal of building around Mariota and improving the young Titans defense. Robinson signed former Patriots corner, Malcolm Butler, to a five year $61 million deal with over $30 million in guarantees. Tennessee ranked 25th in pass defense because the secondary was a glaring concern. Robinson didn’t just stop there. With the departure of Murray, a complimentary back to Henry was needed. Robinson went out and signed former Patriots dual-threat running back, Dion Lewis, to a four-year deal worth $20 million.
Robinson has created quite a buzz in Tennessee. The Titans have $58 million left in cap space and have been drawing a lot of interest from many of the top free agents. Clearly, other players around the league are noticing that something special is developing in Tennessee. Super Bowl aspirations, cap space to spend, and a return to respect around the league. Still wondering why Jon Robinson is nicknamed the “Rob-Father?”