Titans like to draft players with wrestling backgrounds


When the Titans spent their second-round draft pick on linebacker Zach Brown and their third-round draft pick on defensive tackle Mike Martin, they saw one aspect of the players’ backgrounds that they particularly liked: Both were successful high school wrestlers.

Titans General Manager Ruston Webster said the team views it as a plus when players on the draft board have a background as a wrestler.

“It’s something that to me, when a guy has been a wrestler, especially when he has been a successful wrestler, it says something about his toughness and his commitment,” Webster told the Nashville City Paper.

Drafting a player with a wrestling background worked last year when fifth-round defensive tackle Karl Klug led the team with seven sacks as a rookie. Webster said he’ll keep looking for wrestling backgrounds when he’s looking for promising prospects in the draft.

“To me, wrestlers do have that natural leverage, and they understand leverage and they understand how to use their hands,” Webster said, “and typically they are tough guys.”

19 responses to “Titans like to draft players with wrestling backgrounds

  1. Its actually not a bad background to have, wrestlers know how to stay low and use leverage to their advantage. I see the value in drafting guys that were high school wrestlers, but not to draft them to high just for that reason.

  2. It’s so they never get embarrassed like Finnegan did when he dried to fight Andre.

  3. It didn’t work out so well for Brock Lesnar.

    I’ve always believed a good basketball player can become a good football player. History bears that out. Doug Atkins played center for Tenn. before he went on to terrorize opposing Qb’s for 17 years. Dallas had success with Cornell Green and Ed Too Tall Jones. Tony Gonzales,Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham are match up nightmares for opposing secondaries.

    One of my favorite stories from NFL history was the time former Browns coach Paul Brown invited Celtics guard KC Jones to a Browns practice. Brown was an innovative thinker and rightfully belongs in the HOF. I can’t find a link for the story,so I’m basing the following on memory.

    Before the Cowboys had success with Cb Cornell Green who was a great college basketball player,Brown toyed with the idea as well. Brown had Jones line up opposite future HOF Wr. Paul Warfield. IIRC, 14 passes were thrown to Warfield and only one was complete. Jones picked off two and batted the rest away. At the time,Jones was the best defensive guard in the NBA and his defensive skills eventually landed him in the NBA HOF. I have a friend whose father used to be a HS coach in Texas. He wanted his players to play basketball as part of offseason workouts. He had his TE’s and Wr’s play forward and his Db’s play Guard to help hone their skills.

    The subject of Labron James playing in the NFL came up during the NBA lockout. Most thought he’d make a great WR or TE. Personally, I think he’d make a great DE.

  4. I actually never understood why more teams don’t give a little extra weight to this credential. I remember the Steelers picking up Carlton Haselrig back in the early 90’s, who was a very decorated wrestler, and he was phenomenal (while he applied himself) on the O-line.

  5. That experience might come in handy……if the league decides to allow headlocks and submission moves instead of tackling

  6. Yes, who can forget the stellar football career of former amateur/current professional wrestler Brock Lesnar. What a preseason he had for the Vikings several years ago.

  7. Wrestling is a great sport for young athletes that want to improve their football skills. Leverage, balance, changing levels and staying low, overpowering or using technique to win….all great skills to learn to be successful in both sports.

  8. Then again, all that hugging men on the floor thing makes other guys uncomfortable.

  9. I would think that players with wrestling experience would be great tacklers, like Mike Martin. How is it that Zach Brown is such a subpar tackler then? Because admit it, Titans fans, that’s a part of Brown’s game that needs a lot of work.

  10. In My HS days, you either wrestled or played bball in the off season. No choice. Our D coordinator was the wrestling coach.

    It’s a good sport, for all the aforementioned reasons. However cutting weight and being truly dedicated is not for everybody. I’m proud to say, I wrestled.

  11. I’ve always firmly believed wrestling makes great football players and all around athletes. It’s great to see pro teams are attesting to that.

    It’s funny how people only associate Brock Lesnar’s brief stint with the Vikings as the only example of wrestling’s influence in the NFL. Don’t forget about how Ray Lewis, Roddy White, Lorenzo Neal, Ronnie Lott, Bo Jackson, and countless other NFL players have wrestling backgrounds.

  12. So Lesnar sucked when he tried the NFL. Counter point: Stephen Neal.

  13. No wonder why Zach Brown hates being referred to as a guy that’s “allergic to contact”.

  14. Next to water polo I would say wrestling is the most physically demanding sport there is. In addition (and this is just my two cents) there are fewer sports which train you to be as coordinated using your own body (strengths and weaknesses) to overcome another’s. It’s intense and honestly, basketball players make great db’s. But name the last superbowl winner to win because of their superior wr’s and dbs’? The line wins championships (defense and offense) because without them you cannot attack or protect the qb consistently (4-3 and 3-4) … And wrestling teaches techniques and builds muscle strengths and awarness that these types of players use. I would not draft a wrestler because he is one, but all things being equal if I had to chose a player between a person with a strong wrestling background or not, i’d pick the wrestler.

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