The Tennessee Titans had had Corey Davis on their radar all through the draft process.
Many thought the Titans might try to select him with the second of their two first-round draft picks.
But the Titans, who had brought Davis in for a pre-draft visit, used the fifth overall pick in the draft on Davis out of Western Michigan rather than address their defensive needs in the secondary.
Davis follows the narrative of what Titans general manager Jon Robinson has looked for in a wide receiver since taking over the front office last year – production, good route-running and blocking.
Davis is the all-time leader in FBS history with 5,285 yards receiving at Western Michigan. He joins Randy Moss as the only Mid-American Conference wide receivers to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
By selecting Davis first, it addresses an area on the Titans roster that was thin on numbers after the departure of Kendall Wright as a free agent. Davis jumps into the wide receiver fray in Tennessee with Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe, veteran Harry Douglas and kick returner Eric Weems, who joined the team as a free agent from Atlanta.
Davis seems to fit in nicely with the culture the Titans are trying to create of hard-working, team-first players. He figured that out on his visit last week to Tennessee and his conversations with Robinson and Coach Mike Mularkey.
“They mentioned that a lot. As soon as I got there, I could tell they were all about culture, and I’m a culture guy,” Davis said.
By taking Davis with their first choice in the draft, the Titans spurned their needs in the secondary, leaving LSU safety Jamal Adams (who went to the Jets with the next pick) and Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
However, their selection of Davis at five started a run of wide receivers, as the Chargers took Mike Williams of Clemson at seven and the Bengals grabbed Washington’s John Ross at nine.
“To be the first (receiver selected) means so much. But I’m going to work like I’m the last one. I’m going to do everything in my power and everything I can to get this team some (wins),” Davis said.
Davis had some injury concerns, and did not run a 40-time either at the Combine or his Pro Day following an ankle injury. He also had a shoulder injury that kept him out of the Senior Bowl.
Davis said the ankle injury is not an issue.
“The ankle is great. I could be on the field tonight, if need be,” Davis said.
Davis was plenty productive, catching 97 passes for 1,500 yards in his senior season, when he was the MAC Offensive Player of the Year.
Davis had said recently in an interview that Titans QB Marcus Mariota was his favorite quarterback.
“Just his swagger. He’s an accurate quarterback and a great leader. He makes great decisions,” Davis said of his new quarterback. “He can use his legs. He’s a great quarterback.”
While Davis likes Mariota as a quarterback, if he comes close to being like the receivers he most admires, the Titans will gladly take it.
“I like Julio (Jones). He’s a great athlete, makes the catch, very physical. I like that,” Davis said “I like Antonio Brown. He’s a little bit of a smaller receiver, but his route game is definitely second to none. I kind of emulate my game after them and try to adopt something of their games into mine”
He becomes the latest high-round pick in the Titans’ quest to find a true No. 1 receiver. Players like Tyrone Calico, Paul Williams, Kenny Britt, Justin Hunter, Dorial Green-Beckham and Wright all failed to live up to expectations.
But the Titans have also changed their philosophy in what they are seeking in a wide receiver, putting an emphasis on catching the ball and being productive over receivers long on potential but sometimes short on productivity.