Only five days into Training Camp the Titans rookie class is passing the eye test.
The last couple of years the Titans have struggled to get their first round picks on the field, but this year receiver Treylon Burks is not just on the field he is stacking good practices. Monday Burks scored two more touchdowns during 7 on 7, the second one on a spectacular over the shoulder grab at the back of the end zone.
Second round pick Roger McCreary also stood out Monday getting his hands on at least five passes.
“Yeah, the better they do and the more reps that they earn and continue to try to define their role, we put them in there.” said head coach Mike Vrabel, “The more that they can handle and the more that they take advantage of the opportunities that they get, there are more opportunities. So whether they’re rookies or eighth-year players, third-year players coming from another team, whatever it may be, it’s important that they continue to have the evaluation process that we could see what they can do, how much they can handle.”
McCreary did not want to make too much of his day, but he did embrace what this rookie class has been able to do so far, “I feel good and just the rookie class I feel we’re doing good. We’re all trying to push eachother no matter what. When I go against Trey I’m going to try to push him too.”
One of the highlights of camp has been watching the Titans top two picks go head to head. McCreary and Burks have flocked to each other each down for some friendly competition. Vrabel says that has not been by chance, “I think everything is intentional out there. I think whether we expect that or they want to do that. I think that they understand – both young players, both looking to define a role here through the training camp, and that they want to compete against each other and try to make each other better.”
Late last week Burks got the best of McCreary a number of times, but Monday the rookie from Auburn showed he was up to the task. The Titans were not expected to take a cornerback early, but they took McCreary 35th overall and he is living up to the investment.
Vrabel said he is just showing them more of what they already knew, “I know that he’s competitive. Usually on-body, kind of a lot of the same things that we saw in the evaluation process, just continue to learn. He rarely makes the same mistakes twice. He’s a very coachable player and it’s good to see him disrupt the football”.
3rd round tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere, 4th round tight end Chig Okonkwo and 5th round receiver Kyle Phillips have also all had moments in camp. Petit-Frere could create a battle at right tackle with second year man Dillon Radunz.
Meanwhile, rookie quarterback Malik Willis is having some predictable ups and downs. Monday he had several big time downs including an interception on a ball thrown late, but just like not getting too high on success it is way too early to bury Willis at this point.
General Manager Jon Robinson’s best draft class was unquestionably 2019 when he loaded up with starters including Jeffery Simmons, AJ Brown and Amani Hooker. That is the bar that has been set, we will see if the 2022 class can meet or even approach it.