Tennessee Titans: Rookies shine in home opener

The Tennessee Titans defeated the Carolina Panthers 34-27 today at Nissan Stadium in a game where the rookies shined.

First round pick Adoree’ Jackson showed why he was one of the most electrifying return men in the country last year, taking his first punt return all the way to the house. And although the play was called back for holding, Jackson’s speed and elusiveness was on full display. A very encouraging sign for a special team’s unit that failed to make big plays last season.

The rookie duo selected in the third round of this year’s draft also made their presence felt. Tight end Jonnu Smith hauled in 5 catches for 47 yards on a team high 7 targets, and wide receiver Taywan Taylor continues to impress with his 4 catches for 41 yards.

And speaking of continuing to impress, rookie linebacker Jayon Brown certainly qualifies. The fifth round pick continued his impressive play from last week, and his first half pass deflection led to a Justin Staples’ interception.

The turnover deep in Panthers’ territory led to a Titans touchdown.

But it wasn’t just the highly touted rookies that made plays today, the undrafted rookie class also played extremely well.

Rookie corner Jeremy Boykins led the team with 5 tackles, and made a couple of nice plays in the passing game to help secure the win late in the fourth quarter.

Safety Denzel Johnson co-led the team with 5 tackles, while Cameron Robbins registered a timely sack on third down to force a Panthers’ punt.

And this was without the services of the team’s top rookie, wide receiver Corey Davis who is still nursing a hamstring injury. This year’s fifth overall pick is looking to be ready for the season opener.

This year’s rookie class, unlike any in the last decade, was drafted specifically to fill certain holes in an otherwise solid roster. So the fact that they are contributing this early is an encouraging sign for the Titans.

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