NASHVILLE – Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson hasn’t spoken to embattled first-round pick Isaiah Wilson in at least two months.
And he’s already mulling how the team could’ve missed so badly on the former Georgia offensive tackle in the draft evaluation.
Robinson didn’t say the Titans are preparing to wash their hands of Wilson. But he made no attempt to deny the possibility, either.
“We did a lot of work a year ago leading up to selecting him in the evaluation process, talking to different sources, visiting with him countless number of times,” Robinson said during a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday.
“For whatever reason, the player that this fall was here in Nashville wasn’t the guy that we spent time with last year.”
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‘A lot of work to be done’
Head-scratching responses have been common about the future of Wilson, who was picked No. 29 and played only four snaps in his rookie season.
In September, Wilson was arrested and charged with DUI three days before the season opener. Twice he was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. And in December, he was suspended for “violating club rules” and placed on reserve.
On Jan. 11, coach Mike Vrabel said, “I wouldn’t even begin to be able to eloquently have an answer for you (about Wilson’s status.)”
And offensive guard Rodger Saffold, like Robinson, said he hadn’t talked to Wilson.
But Robinson, more than anyone in the organization, can cut ties with Wilson if he’s fed up. And he may be near that point.
“We’ve tried to exhaust a lot of resources trying to help (Wilson),” Robinson said. “He’s going to have to make a determination if he wants to do everything necessary to play pro football, and that’s going to be on him. I know what the expectation level is here, and it’s no different than for any other player on the football team.
“We have a standard that we want players to prepare, perform at professionally and as people. There’s a lot of work to be done there.”
Can Titans afford to move on from Wilson?
The Titans signed Wilson to a four-year contract worth $11.57 million, including a $5.974 million signing bonus, according to NFL Network. And they’re entering a critical offseason, when the salary cap is expected to decline and unrestricted free agents could leave the Titans for other teams.
Releasing Wilson could rid the Titans of an expensive mistake. But would that be giving up on him too soon? Robinson said he has kept tabs on Wilson through a “third party” in case he’s salvageable as an NFL player.
“I am constantly monitoring the situation,” Robinson said. “We’ll see how that goes.”
The Titans had a dreadful offseason a year ago. Free agents Jadeveon Clowney, Vic Beasley and Johnathan Joseph didn’t pan out. But missing on Wilson hurt the most.
When describing the type of players he wants to add to the Titans this offseason, Robinson didn’t reference Wilson. But the tone seemed to mimic his frustration of the apparent draft bust.
“What we want is guys that love ball, guys that want to be pro football players — not just guys that put ‘pro football player’ as their hashtag on their Instagram or their Snapchat or their Twitter,” Robinson said.
“Pro football is hard. And you’ve got to really love football and want to do it.”