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Rookie TE Jonnu Smith Ready to Listen, Learn, Contribute

Posted May 18, 2017

The Titans selected tight end Jonnu Smith in the third round of the NFL Draft. The Titans plan to give Smith an opportunity to play early, and the rookie said he plans to be up to the challenge.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jonnu Smith is ready to listen, and learn.

In time, the rookie tight end hopes it will pay off with big results for the Titans.

“I am extremely capable. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here,’’ said Smith, drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft. “But I know I have to be a sponge right now, and learn the playbook and listen to others.

“You have one mouth and two ears, and that tells you a lot. My ears will be wide open.”

Smith made his NFL practice field debut during the team’s rookie minicamp last weekend. This week, he joined the veterans at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

A 6-foot-3, 248-pounder, Smith has the skill set to be a productive player for the Titans, possibly early. It’s why the team has thrown him into the fray at a number of positions.

When asked how quickly Smith could make an impact for the Titans, coach Mike Mularkey said it depends on “how quickly he picks (things) up.”

“We are going to move him around a little bit,” Mularkey said of Smith. “He is going to play both the Y and the F tight end, and he is going to be an every down player for us. So he is going to have a lot on his plate, he already has. And he seems to grasp it pretty good. He’s a real easy catcher with the ball, and can run.”

Smith, the 100th overall pick of the draft, caught 178 passes for 2,001 yards and 18 touchdowns at Florida International, and tallied 42 catches for 506 yards and four touchdowns in 2016.

Smith holds the FIU record for career receptions (178) for a tight end, and he’s also No. 1 all-time in career receiving yards.

With the Titans, he joins a tight end group led by two-time Pro Bowler Delanie Walker.

Walker told Titans Online earlier this month he’s watched some film on Smith.

“I think he is a very physical, talented tight end,” Walker said of Smith. “And I can’t wait for him to come in so I can get into his ear and hopefully he can bring something to the table with his play to help this team out.”

Walker’s advice to Smith: Watch me.

“He is going to have to pay his dues,” Walker said. “He can learn from me, and I think he will be a sponge. He is not a guy that talks a lot. He is going to come in and he is going to understand his place. He is going to come in and learn from the guys we have, and if he steps up I am pretty sure he is going to have an opportunity to play.”

Smith said he’s more than willing to work.

He said he’s worked to improve his blocking, and plans to improve his technique to get even better.

He’s a big fan of Walker, and winning.

“He’s a hell of a player, and I am looking forward to learning from him and all the vets in the tight end group,” Smith said. “So I am looking forward to adapting and maybe one day be better than Delanie Walker -- that is the goal, you know what I mean? If you are not here for that, then why are you playing?

“I just want to show that I can do everything at the tight end position. I want to come out here and play fast and physical, and be smooth in everything that I do.

“And whatever the Titans ask me to do, that’s what I am going to do. And I am going to be relentless at doing it. I am looking forward to helping this team win a Super Bowl, because that is what we are aiming for. So I will do whatever is required of me.”