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Titans will be more exacting graders under Jon Robinson

NASHVILLE -- For the first draft he runs as the Tennessee Titans general manager, Jon Robinson is using the grading system he inherited.

But when the Titans reset after the 2016 draft, they will recalibrate it.

And Tennessee will seek to use the more precise methods Robinson was part of in 12 years working with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

“It’ll be a little bit more specific,” Robinson said. “Currently, we have kind of gaps from a numeric standpoint. You just kind of put a number on a guy. The scale that we’ll implement, the number will actually define the players’ role. If he’s a fourth corner and he’s going to play in the kicking game, that’s a certain grade. If he’s a third corner but he’s not going to play in the kicking game, that’s a certain grade. So it really forces the scouts to be specific and put their stamp on the guy as to where he fits the team.”

It will be a one to 10 scale on which Lawrence Taylor would be a nine, and it breaks down to one decimal point.

That system shows just how exacting Robinson wants evaluations to be, a style other former Patriots executives have brought to their teams.

Everyone thinks they are looking closely at prospects, but guys rooted in the Patriots’ system make it sound like other teams take pictures at regular distance while New England people take pictures using zoom.

“I’ve been around a number of organizations and a number of different personnel departments and approaches and systems,” one-time Patriot Thomas Dimitroff, now GM of the Atlanta Falcons, said on The Midday 180. “They all have their merits, they are all good in many different ways, and this is not being derogatory. When I stepped into New England and truly put my world and my focus into how we were approaching things, I was mesmerized by the exactness of the system.

"And there was no way you could survive in that system without being extremely definitive about how you present players and about what you are looking for in players. That was a big thing. Scott Pioli and Bill spent a lot of time figuring out the exact nuances of the scheme that we were supposed to be looking for. Scott did a great job disseminating that information to us as a personnel department. Jon will do the same thing.

“It’s very, very important to be in the same wavelength as your head coach. Too often in this league in my mind there can be an unfortunate misconnect or disconnect [regarding] what’s being looked for, what needs to be brought in. I have all the confidence in the world that Jon is going to work very closely with Mike [Mularkey] and discuss what is needed.”

While the evaluations need to be precise, the coaching needs to be flexible. You don’t want to pass on a great skill set because it might not fit the scheme in place.

“Find a way,” said Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht, another former Patriot. “Coach Belichick would always talk about, ‘Tell me what the guy can do, don’t tell me what he can’t do. We’ll find a way to put that positive skill set to use in the defense and not ask him to be in a position where he can fail.’”