After a mostly uninspired preseason, it looks like the Tennessee Titans are ready to get the season started. Cuts have been made and the roster has been trimmed down to the 53 men that will be on the roster when the Oakland Raiders come to town September 10th. Most of the guys that played in the preseason showed their worth to the team in preseason in one way or another, but there is one player out there that still has question marks about what he will be. That player is rookie Corey Davis. The Titans took the talented wide receiver fifth overall in this year’s draft. With his size and speed, there were big hopes for him as well, but all preseason he has been hampered by a hamstring injury. So with the Titans expecting him to be ready for Game 1 versus the Raiders, what can we expect from him provided that he plays?
Davis got a lot of passes thrown his way when he was in college because he was the man and Western Michigan wanted to get the ball to him as many times as possible. With the Titans, he will not be afforded as many opportunities that he got in college. He will have to capitalize on every opportunity that he gets. One of those opportunities that he will get will surely be on a deep pattern. Although he did not run the 40 yard dash at the NFL combine or in personal workouts, there has been plenty of talk about his speed and that extra gear he has to go get the football in the air. If he is fully recovered and able to take the top off the defense for the Titans, then that will definitely help loosen things up for DeMarco Murray and the running game. It will also help get some attention off veteran tight end Delanie Walker.
Along with his speed, there is also his size that could be big for the Titans. The Titans were very good in the redzone last season, scoring touchdowns on most of their possessions. While the numbers they produced last season were good down there, those results don’t carry over to the next season. So this offseason, the Titans drafted Davis to help make them more diverse in that area of the field. Davis is expected to line up on the outside for the Titans and that will likely have him matching up against a cornerback that he will have a size advantage over. The Titans could throw jump balls over to him, betting on his size to overwhelm the defending defensive back. Davis, along with veteran free agent Eric Decker, give the Titans two taller targets that will give teams fits in the redzone and could help open even more things up for the Titans down in the redzone.
Davis definitely has some positives going for him and the Titans seem to like him a lot. While those positives are good, there are still some things that he may need to work on. A knock on him coming out of school was his catching radius. Davis does have a great combination of size and speed, but what he does not have is the ability to catch outside of his radius consistently. Hopefully he has worked on this deficiency during his time with the Titans, but he will need to be better in this area. If he does not improve here, then it could be tough for him to make those big catches when Mariota throws it deep to him. The NFL is not college football and Davis has a growth opportunity here.
Along with a limited catching radius, the Titans do have to be concerned about injury issues with Davis. For those that don’t remember, his speed was not able to be looked at during the NFL combine this year. There are plenty that did not run due to wanting to save it for their private workouts. Well, Davis did not run because he was nursing an injury. Ankle surgery had him sidelined for both private and NFL combine workouts. The Titans did not see that as a deterrent to drafting him, but now he has a hamstring issue that he is dealing with. It may not be much at all, but there could also be something to him catching the injury bug early in his career.
The Titans are excited about the prospects of Davis and they, like Titans fans, cannot wait to see him on the field. Week 1 is upon us and Davis is ready to rock on the field. For the Titans and their fans, they hope they get more of what they saw from Davis in college and less of what they have not seen from Davis so far as a member of the Titans. But until then, the Titans have to hang on the words of head coach Mike Mularkey on Davis and his thoughts on Davis, who warmed up with the team in Kansas City but did not play in the preseason finale.
“Again, probably me being overly cautious wanting him for that Oakland game as well, but it was good to get him into the throwing routine with Marcus,” said Mularkey.
Sounds like he is ready but holding him out right now, but September 10th will tell us all that we need to know to start this year.
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