NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The offseason is when champions are made, right?
It’s also where players hone their skills and work on things they may not have time to during a grueling season.
In the spirit of trying new things and using the extra time wisely, Titans running back Darrynton Evans was doing drills with the wide receiver group at Thursday’s OTA practice.
The Titans (and the rest of the league) kicked off Phase 3 of Offseason Training Activities with a practice scarcely attended by veterans. So, all eyes were on younger players including Evans.
The second-year back was drafted in the third round in hopes of lightening some of Derrick Henry’s load. Instead, as a rookie, Evans appeared in just five games due to injuries. And, Henry won back-to-back NFL rushing titles. The expectation now is that he can make a big — and healthier — leap from year one to year two.
“I think traditionally everybody looks at that year between year one and year two as a big jump, and we’re very hopeful and excited about that even more so than normal just because of what they maybe didn’t get last year from a football perspective,” said Titans head coach Mike Vrabel. “But also, from a player-engagement perspective. Also, just get them out on the field and allow them to continue to work and take the opportunity to develop.”
By taking reps with the receivers, it signals the team’s vision for the Appalachian State product goes beyond taking a few carries away from Henry’s hefty workload or coming in on third down to pass block. The intention is for Evans to be an offensive threat in multiple ways.
“Darrynton’s been a versatile player,” said Vrabel. “I know he’s dealt with some injuries in his first year, but I would say he’s a player that we’re excited about. (Evans) Adds some versatility. Those players that can handle more than one particular role, we’ll continue to add those roles to them and I think Darrynton would be one of those players.”
Vrabel also added that he doesn’t know where Evans will line up at this point, while Evans said he will do whatever is asked of him and will help the team. The back also returned nine kicks in 2020.
In three seasons, Evans caught 39 passes for 319 yards and 6 touchdowns.