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First Impressions on Every Member of the Titans Draft Class Following Rookie Minicamp


NASHVILLE – Rookie minicamp is in the books for the Tennessee Titans.

But the draft picks and undrafted free agents are just getting started.

On Monday, they'll join the veterans in the team's offseason program as things get ramped up.

But first, I'm going to share my initial impressions on every member of the team's draft class from the weekend...

QB Malik Willis

I'm starting with Willis because he garnered the most attention over the weekend. Let's get this straight right out of the gate: Willis isn't in a competition with Ryan Tannehill right now, and he won't be breathing down his neck to win the starting job in training camp either. His mission at the start is to learn, and improve, as much as possible in his first days, weeks, and months on the job. But I'll say this after watching him two days: Willis is an intriguing guy, because of his arm and his legs, and he carries himself like a leader. Watching Willis, I liked how he interacted with his teammates, his attitude on the field, and how he handled his first presser. Over the two days, Willis was mostly accurate in the practices, and he even made a few 'Oh my' throws. He has a stronger arm that I expected, and he delivered the ball into tight spaces. Willis also threw a bad pick, some of his throws were behind his targets, he had some issues taking the snap, and his technique clearly needs work. But there's no doubt it's going to be fun to watch this guy develop.

WR Treylon Burks

Burks was the team's first pick, and I think he's going to end up being a good player for the Titans. I was impressed by what I saw of him at Arkansas (I was in Tuscaloosa when he caught eight passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns vs Alabama last November), and I liked how he handled himself in his visit to Nashville after being picked 18th overall. I wish I could tell you he got off to a stellar start over the weekend, but that wasn't the case. Burks left practice early on Friday because of breathing issues, and while he had a pair of catches on Saturday, he also had a pretty bad drop in the middle of the field on a beautifully thrown pass. Overall, his weekend was just OK. So, what does it all mean? It means he didn't have a spectacular start in rookie camp, that's it. Also, keep this in mind: Running back Derrick Henry was called out for "stumbling" and looking "uncertain" in drills during his rookie camp in 2016. I think it's safe to say he turned out to be pretty good. So, maybe ease back on the overreactions.

CB Roger McCreary

McCreary, the team's second-round pick from Auburn, was solid on both days. I watched McCreary during a 1-on-1 non-contact tackling drill designed to help with footwork and technique in space, and he was spot on. During group and competition periods, McCreary ran stride-for-stride with receivers down the field, and he was right there on short to mid-range throws. He also didn't bite when Willis tried to juke him on a run to the boundary in space on Saturday. It was an impressive start for a guy who will have a chance to compete for playing time this fall.

WR Kyle Philips

A fifth-round pick from UCLA, Philips was arguably the biggest star of the day on Friday when he caught one pass after another. Philips made twisting, turning catches, and he also made a nice diving catch. I didn't see him drop a ball all weekend, although I did see him get a little "coaching up" when he let the ball get to his chest instead of catching it in front of his body. Philips isn't a very big guy (5-11, 189), so his challenge will come when bigger DBs get physical with him at the line of scrimmage. But his footwork is impressive, so perhaps he can allude some of the contact.

OL Nicholas Petit-Frere

Let's face it – rookie camp isn't a time when offensive linemen usually draw rave reviews. The players aren't practicing in pads, and there is no contact permitted. So, the 6-foot-5, 316-pound Petit-Frere, who was taken in the third-round out of Ohio State, will have to wait a while to really impress. What I did see out of Petit-Frere was some athleticism for a big guy. I also saw a guy who looked a little jumpy early. Something I liked: He spent a lot of extra time after Saturday's session with one of his position coaches on the field.

RB Hassan Haskins

A fourth-round pick out of Michigan, Haskins had several nice runs after taking handoffs over the weekend. He showed some quickness in the hole, and a burst. He also caught the ball well out of the backfield. But again, there was no contact allowed, and no chance of him being lit up.

TE Chig Okonkwo

The 6-foot-3, 238-pound Okonkwo sure looked the part with his athleticism. He caught the football when it was thrown to him, and he ran well during the minicamp. Okonkwo, selected in the fourth round out of Maryland, caught several passes on Friday, including a bullet in the middle of the field thrown by Willis. While he wasn't quite as noticeable on Saturday, I left thinking this guy could be a nice piece this fall.

DB Theo Jackson

Jackson, a sixth-round pick who prepped at John Overton in Nashville and played at the University of Tennessee, was clearly fired up to be on the field and in a Titan uniform. When he met with reporters after Saturday's session, he had a smile on his face when talking about suiting up for his hometown team. On the field, Jackson caught my attention both days, but his best day was Saturday, when he intercepted Willis once, and nearly got him a second time. Jackson looked like a guy who knew where to be, and what to do.

LB Chance Campbell

Just like linemen, a non-contact practice isn't a time for inside linebackers to make a name for themselves. The 6-2, 232-pound Campbell will have a chance to make his presence known when the pads come on during training camp. Campbell, the team's second sixth-round pick who played at Ole Miss, appeared to be in the right place in group periods, and he sounded like a no-nonsense football guy when he talked to reporters after Saturday's session. I jotted his name down for doing a nice job sizing up Burks in that 1-on-1, non-contact tackling drill in space on Saturday. He'll be one to keep an eye on in August.

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