Titans rookies get glimpse of NFL life at rookie camp

Titans rookies get glimpse of NFL life at rookie camp

The Tennessee Titans held their rookie mini-camp – opening the session for stretch and individual work for media – before going back to work behind closed doors.
The practice was open long enough to see second-round pick A.J. Brown make a one-handed catch in individual drills where it looked like the pass was errant and about to sail out of bounds. But the former Ole Miss star corralled the ball and turned upfield, never breaking stride.
Brown, who was known for going up in traffic and making catches for the Rebels and using his deceptive run-after-catch ability, made the out-of-frame reception look pretty easy. Asked if those sorts of catches were a big part of his repertoire, the confident Brown shrugged it off, saying, “I just try to catch everything. I just stuck my hand up and surprisingly it stuck. I’m not Odell (Beckham) or nothing like that.”
The work was a learning time for the draft picks and the undrafted rookies signed by the club this week.
Fifth-round pick D’Andre Walker, an outside linebacker from Georgia, was the beneficiary of one-on-one tutelage from head coach Mike Vrabel.
“He played my position, and he was a great player. Eventually, I hope to become a great player as well,” Walker said. “It was just him showing me what to do and teaching me. … I feel like I was able to understand what he was presenting to me.”
Walker said he got some tips on leverage and hand placement from the head coach.
It also was a time for more than 20 tryout players – including former MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill, former UT players Quart’e Sapp and Alexis Johnson and ex-Vandy linebacker Josh Smith – to try and make an impression. In such limited time and even more limitations that prohibit contact, Vrabel admitted that some position groups have a better chance of latching onto the roster than others.
Offensive and defensive linemen are at a distinct disadvantage, Vrabel said, because of contact being prohibited in the rookie camp.
“Without a doubt. But that’s the rules that we have. It’s tough to say this guy is going to be able to block somebody, because you don’t. You’re not really blocking anybody,” Vrabel said. “Again, we look back to last year – and I know I’ve only done this one year – but we had three guys that we signed and none of them were offensive or defensive linemen. Till they let us put pads on, and they’re not gonna and don’t think we would want to, a lot of those guys that end up signing are the ones you’re going to work with from the offensive and defensive lines.”
But with the rules and regulations, at some of the skill positions, the coaches and GM Jon Robinson can get an idea who whose game might translate well enough to earn an invite to training camp.
“Can they take the meetings and the classroom work and can they come out here and demonstrate the ability to get lined up to communicate, to get lined up,” Vrabel said. “Do they have a burst. Are they showing an ability to cover their guy if they’re a DB or if they’re a receiver, do they have the ability to separate. That’s a lot of information that we throw at them, and then we come out and we run a lot of plays, and we run a lot of 7-on-7.
“This is a non-contact camp, so to run the football doesn’t look great. For receivers and DBs, there’s a lot of moving parts. There are motions, there’s coverage adjustments and checks. A player that comes in and communicates and takes the meetings to the field and can flash and make some plays and show some movement skills, I think those are the players Jon and I are looking for.”

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