Will Dorial Green-Beckham reach his vast potential?
That question is not only on the minds of Tennessee Titans fans, but also the Titans coaching staff and front office as well.
The 2015 second-round pick flashed some of his vast potential as a rookie last year, catching 32 passes for 549 yards and four touchdowns. That production came mostly after Mike Mularkey replaced Ken Whisenhunt as head coach, and Mularkey saw the value in the rookie’s raw abilities, even if he hadn’t quite mastered the playbook yet.
Now in year two, the maturation process for DGB continues. Green-Beckham came to the Titans after sitting out all of 2014 under NCAA transfer rules when he moved from Missouri to Oklahoma, following a couple of off-field incidents that led to his dismissal by the Tigers.
Green-Beckham reported to off-season work in better shape, down to 230 pounds after being 237 as a rookie, but a hamstring issue that plagued him in off-season work as a rookie flared up again at the beginning of OTA work again this year. DGB got through it and returned to the field, but in the process, was passed on the depth chart by rookie Tajae Sharpe in the starting lineup. Sharpe’s attention to detail in his route-running and his sure-handed receiving abilities impressed the Titans coaching staff, and at least subliminally sent a message to DGB and veteran Justin Hunter that physical skills alone would not be enough to earn playing time.
Green-Beckham seems to be getting the message.
“I feel like I’m still on track to get there. Taking a step back with the hamstring kind of set me back a little bit, but I’ve been out practicing and doing everything right and I’ve just got to continue to do those things,” Green-Beckham said “I’ve been getting in my playbook a lot and studying and knowing what I’m supposed to be doing. So during camp I’ll be one of those guys that’s out there flying around making plays and just having fun and staying in that rhythm the whole year.”
Mularkey said he wasn’t trying to overtly send a message to Green-Beckham and other receivers when Sharpe was elevated to the first team, but if it does, then that’s OK too.
“I’m not purposely doing that. I think if you’re any kind of competitor, that would be a push, something to get me going. But he’s just been the most consistent, and we’re letting guys that have been the most consistent get more reps,” Mularkey said.
Mularkey said he has seen improvement from Green-Beckham this off-season, but still needs to see more in order for the receiver to reach his fullest potential.
“You don’t see a lot of mistakes over and over. But still, he has room to improve as far lining up, getting lined up the right way, where to line up, depths and things like that. He’s still working at it,” Mularkey said.
And working at it is something DGB knows he must do even in the interim before training camp opens on July 30.
“(I’ve) just (got) to stay in the playbook and come back healthy and use this opportunity right now in these six weeks to work hard and show that I’ve been working hard and studying the playbook and staying in that rhythm,” he said.