By Adam Caplan
July 31, 2012
The Tennessee Titans and first-round pick WR Kendall Wright have agreed on a four-year contract, an NFL source confirmed. While full details of the contract weren’t immediately available, the Titans made significant moves to get the deal done including guaranteed training camp bonuses, larger guarantees, and a fourth-year roster bonus.
While Wright’s game tape shows that he moves well down field, one of the underrated parts of his game is his willingness to go over the middle despite measuring less than 5’11”.
“Sometimes I’m open and sometimes I’m not. But when you’re my size, you have to try to play big. I try not to let my size dictate anything,” the wide receiver told Thesidelineview.com before the draft.
Wright is a rarity these days—he finished his career at Baylor University as a four-year player. And he’s coming off a monster season (108 receptions, 1663 yards, 14 touchdowns), which could explain why he was so highly thought of in the scouting community coming into this year’s draft.
However, he posted less than 40-yard dash times (anywhere from 4.49 to 4.61) during February’s NFL Scouting Combine. But luckily for him, players don’t perform in the NFL out of a track stance like they do running the 40.
Wright’s senior season game tape, according to several personnel sources, was arguably the best of any wide receiver available for this draft. But despite that, a pre-draft story from Pro Football Weekly stated that he was “parked in the third round on a number of draft boards.” Wright, according to several NFL executives Thesidelineview.com spoke to before the draft, was widely expected to go off the board somewhere within the first round.
And the Cleveland Browns admitted after the draft that they would have selected Wright at No. 22 in the first round had he dropped to them.
"That's kind of how it came down," Browns president Mike Holmgren said. "We will never know for sure but between the time we picked and the time we got to 22 there was a lot of discussion as you might imagine in our room and as players were coming off of the board. We liked Kendall Wright a lot. And we knew wide receiver was an area that we were going to try and hit in the draft one way or the other but then we also like the quarterback a lot. The decision in essence was made for us. Kendall was taken before us and so it became pretty easy to take the quarterback."
The Browns, instead, settled on QB Brandon Weeden with the second of their two first-round picks. And after striking out with Wright, they wound up selecting Wright’s former teammate at Baylor, WR Josh Gordon, high in the second round of the Supplemental Draft.
Wright had seven pre-draft visits (Carolina Panthers, Titans, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, New York Jets and Chicago Bears) and had at least two private workouts (New England Patriots and Titans).
The expectation is that Wright will start opposite veteran WR Nate Washington this season. Once WR Kenny Britt (knees) is able to play, he’s expected to play a rotational role off the bench. The key for Wright will be to learn the Titans’ offense, which is a departure from the true spread scheme that he played in at Baylor.