TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: RECEIVERS
In camp (12): Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, Tajae Sharpe, Taywan Taylor, A.J. Brown, Darius Jennings, Cameron Batson, Jalen Tolliver, Cody Hollister, Joseph Parker, Anthony Ratliff-Williams, Kalif Raymond,
Offseason developments: The Titans outdueled several teams, including the Patriots, to get Humphries, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer who is regarded as one of the game’s top slot receivers. Then the team picked A.J. Brown in the second round of the NFL Draft. The team signed Tolliver, formerly of the Cardinals, and added several undrafted free agents, including Ratliff-Williams, who made some eye-opening catches in OTAs. Hollister made the 90-man roster after being one of the team's tryout players. Parker, who played at Chattanooga, caught some punts in practices in addition to working at receiver. So did Raymond. On two separate occasions this offseason, several of the team’s receivers worked with quarterback Marcus Mariota away from the facility, including a throwing session in California last week.
In the spotlight: Corey Davis. Humphries and Brown are the glitzy newcomers, and they’ll certainly draw eyes during training camp. But Davis has a chance to take another big step this fall, one year after leading the team with 65 catches for 891 yards and four touchdowns – including a pair of game-winning touchdown catches. Davis looked good during offseason work, when he also showed his leadership skills by spending extra time with the rookie Brown. His experience – and time working with Mariota over the past two seasons – should pay off even further in 2019.
Battle to watch: Batson vs. Jennings. When doing the math at the receiver spot, you can get to five real quick – Davis, Humphries, Brown, Sharpe and Taylor. And five is the total number of receivers the Titans had on the 53-man roster at the end of last season. I’m thinking that number will be five or six to start this season, so there’s a battle on the back end. Jennings had 11 catches for 101 yards last season, and he was exceptional as a returner, averaging 31.7 yards on kickoffs, including a 94-yard return for a touchdown vs. Miami. But Batson is tough and fast, and he can also help on special teams. After making the 53-man roster at the start of 2018, Batson has a chance to do it again after a solid offseason.
Keep an eye on: Brown. I liked the looks of Brown coming out of Ole Miss, and he certainty passed the eye test when he showed up at Saint Thomas Sports Park. The 6-foot-1, 226-pounder is big and fast, has thighs like a linebacker but runs like a receiver. But he’s a rookie, and it’s not easy to thrive right out of the gate in the NFL. The good news is the Titans have some veterans who’ve improved, and they’re ready to help this fall. What would be great news is if Brown gets up to speed in a hurry and proves he’s ready to help in a big way himself. Training camp practices should provide some big clues.
Next up: Defensive line.
Titans Online looks back at WR Corey Davis' 2018 season, in which led the team with 65 receptions for 891 yards and four touchdowns. (Donn Jones Photography)
TitansOnline.com looks back at the first four NFL seasons of former Buccaneers wide receiver Adam Humphries, who signed with the Titans as an unrestricted free agent. (AP Photos)