In 2021 Titans fourth round pick Dez Fitzpatrick had to grow up in a hurry.

The Titans traded up for a chance to draft the wide receiver Louisville, but he struggled so mightily in training camp he did not make the week one roster. He was a shocking and disappointing cut down casualty.

Fitzpatrick did get a second chance and he does appear to be making the most of it. He worked his way back on the roster last year, he got on the field catching 5 passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. Not blockbuster, but a long way from being waived.

“A lot of motivation going forward just with how things started and how I was able to deal with it and continue working my tail off, how things ended.” Fitzpatrick said Tuesday after practice, ” I’m excited for this year, just expecting to have a big role.”

With the loss of AJ Brown there is the opportunity for Fitzpatrick to have a role on this team along with 1st round pick Treylon Burks, Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.

At 6-2, 210 pounds he is another long, strong target for the Titans quarterbacks. Tuesday at practice at St. Thomas Sports Park he looked visibly stronger than year ago.

The 24-year old Fitzpatrick said he has grown up and head coach Mike Vrabel agrees. He grumbled over questions about Fitzpatrick last year, but Tuesday sang his praises, “You see improvement each and every day, has a great attitude. Continue to work with him, excited and I know Ryan and Logan and Malik are excited to be working with him.”

Experience, maturity and confidence, those look like the big keys to the turnaround. Now can he stack practices, keep it moving forward, keep growing?

He still has time to become the player this team thought he could be and if he does he can credit the guy looking back him in the mirror. He did not pout, he did not give up, he grew up.