After narrowly missing the playoffs in 2016 the Tennessee Titans added an array of talented new players to the roster, and after a week of training camp it’s evident that the newbies aren’t here to merely increase competition in practice…
They are here to make an impact.
Let’s start with the draft class, where the top three picks have shown flashes of what’s to come in the future.
After missing the first day of practice while ironing out the details of his contract, rookie wide receiver Corey Davis made a spectacular first impression on day two. His size, strength, speed, and athleticism was on full display, especially during one on one drills.
And although he is currently sitting out with a gimpy hamstring, he has already shown to have the tools to ultimately take the starting job opposite of Rishard Matthews.
Tennessee’s second 1st round pick, cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, has been electrifying as advertised during the first week of camp. He started by stripping the ball away from veteran receiver Tre McBride to force a turnover early in camp, and later on added his first interception.
Jackson’s speed has been on full display, and he seems to be the early favorite to assume kick return duties after wowing the crowd during the special teams portion of last night’s practice.
As reported by Titansonline Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt, coach Mike Mularkey likes what he sees from Jackson…especially in the return game. His quote after last night’s scrimmage:
“He [Jackson] is a pretty exciting player. He showed his speed, and showed what he is capable of doing. He’ll be a threat [in the return game], just like he was in college. But he showed his speed tonight.”
Tennessee’s third draft pick, receiver Taywan Taylor, has arguably been the most impressive newcomer during the first week of camp. The rookie third round pick is catching everything in sight, and doing so with an ease usually reserved for grizzled veterans.
More importantly, Taylor’s speed and ability to dictate coverage has not gone unnoticed, especially by the defense.
Starting cornerback Logan Ryan offered his thoughts on Taylor…
“You’ve got to respect his speed. He’s one of the fastest guys on the field anytime he’s on the field. You can go vertical with him, use him on a lot of gadget plays. He’s definitely a game-changer on the offensive side.”
Apparently, offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie thinks so as well.
We’ve already seen plays drawn up in practice where Taylor’s speed occupies the safety downfield, leaving another receiver wide open across the middle. A component of the Titans’ offense that was virtually non-existent last season.
If Taylor has been the most impressive newcomer in training camp, then fellow wide receiver Eric Decker has been 1A.
Decker didn’t have an incompletion on his record until day three of camp, and has been a model of consistency since day one. Already an established and savvy veteran, Decker has routinely caught balls in traffic and has already developed good chemistry with quarterback Marcus Mariota…especially in the red zone where both have been lethal throughout their careers.
These players were brought in this year to help turn a good team into a playoff team. And after one week of camp, all signs have been encouraging that they will be able to do so.