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Observations From Titans Rookie Camp on Saturday


NASHVILLE – The Titans hit the field for the second day of rookie minicamp on Saturday.

Here's a look at what stood out…

-Treylon Burks, the team's first-round pick, went through practice without any issues on Saturday. In the process, he perhaps also made some folks look a little silly for overreacting to his early departure on Friday. After some running before practice, Burks went through all the periods on Day 2 of rookie minicamp. He displayed good footwork in individual drills early. Later, he made a nice catch with his hands running across the middle of the field early before catching a bullet in the middle of the field. Burks had a bad drop, though, on a nice ball thrown by quarterback Malik Willis. But his breathing difficulties from Day 1 weren't an issue.

-I'm not going to waste any more time getting to Willis, because I can already tell fans are thirsty for as much as they can learn about the third-round pick. I admit, I left the two-day camp impressed by Willis, from how he carries himself to his arm. For the second day in a row Willis was on the practice field way early. Before and during practices, I like the way he slaps hands with his teammates, encouraging them. He looks like a leader. And, he threw the ball well over the past two days despite throwing an interception on Saturday. Willis threw several really nice balls on Day 2, including the dart to Burks and another one to receiver Mason Kinsey early. He threw a beautiful pass that hit tight end Chig Okonkwo in stride 35 yards down the middle of the field. For the most part, Willis was accurate again on Saturday. Willis did have some off-target throws, however, and he's fortunate he wasn't picked off twice. He has plenty of things he needs to clean up from a technique standpoint. And, let's face it, the challenge is going to be much tougher when he joins the veterans. But I think it's safe to say he passed his first test.

-The interception thrown by Willis was made by defensive back Theo Jackson, a former Vol who grew up in Nashville and went to John Overton High School. Jackson picked off the pass intended for receiver Reggie Roberson, and he sprinted the other way. Jackson nearly had another. I've been impressed by what I've seen so far from Jackson, who after practice talked about how excited he is to be playing for his hometown team.

-Receiver Kyle Philips, arguably the biggest star of Friday's session, had another solid day, but it wasn't as busy as the previous day. Philips once again caught every ball thrown his way – I counted three catches – and he once again made a nice, twisting catch. But after making a nice adjustment to catch a ball that was behind him, coaches talked to Philips about catching the ball in front of him with his hands instead of letting it get to his body.

-Second-round pick Roger McCreary impressed me on both days. McCreary was really good in a 1-on-1 non-contact tackling drill designed to help with footwork and technique in space. During a group period, McCreary didn't bite when Willis tried to juke him on the outside on a run. He was also solid in coverage on both days.

-Running back Hassan Haskins made several nice runs again on Saturday, but I also noticed undrafted running back Julius Chestnut of Sacred Heart, who looked like Jerome Bettis rumbling out there in No. 36.

-I'll never get used to seeing 5-foot-7 kicker Caleb Shudak in No.11, but I must say the former Iowa kicker has an impressive leg. During a kicking period, Shudak made 5-of-6 kicks, including boots of 33, 39, 44, 47, and 53 yards. He misfired on a kick from 55 yards, however.

-Day 2 of rookie minicamp was much cleaner compared to Day 1. The center-to-QB exchanges were better, and things were much crisper. But again, things weren't perfect. There was a mishandled hold by punter Ryan Stonehouse on a snap that appeared to be low in a special teams period, and there were a few other things that needed to be corrected.

-During a walkthrough period without the defense on the field, Willis completed passes to Haskins, Philips, Kinsey, Donnell Williams and Brandon Lewis.

-During a 7-on-7 period late, Willis threw a nice pass to Philips for a catch before a pair of short throws to Haskins and Chestnut. Haskins made another sideline grab before Willis connected with Kinsey again. Then came the ball dropped by Burks, and the bullet he caught. The play of the day came on the second-to-last play of the session, as Willis connected with Okonkwo in stride.

-After practice ended, offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere, a third-round pick from Ohio State, spent a significant amount of time working on the sleds.  

-In addition to the nine draft picks and 17 undrafted free agents, seven players once again took part in Saturday's session on a tryout basis – quarterback Quinten Dormady, cornerback Kenneth George, receiver Donnell Williams, receiver De'Vion Warren, receiver Bryce Nunnelly, linebacker Chris Rice and long snapper Sean Mills.

-A handful of second-year players also took part on today's session – receiver Mason Kinsey, defensive back Shyheim Carter, safety Rodney Clemons and tackle Christian DiLauro.

-Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk was back for Saturday's session. 

-The rookies will join the veterans in Phase 2 of the offseason program on Monday morning.

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