NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Brice McCain was the first.
Before the Titans traded for running DeMarco Murray, before the team added over a half-dozen free agents, and before the 10-man draft class was selected, McCain signed with the organization back on March 2.
The veteran cornerback has seen a lot of changes since.
"I love it,'' McCain said. "The team went a lot of good directions, and made a lot of good moves. Watching as a guy who just came in, too, you really look at it as a positive. We want to win this year, and I really like it. We brought a lot of young guys in and did well in the draft. So it is a positive."
McCain, who has played 100 games during his NFL career with Houston (2009-13), Pittsburgh (2014) and Miami (2015), said the adjustment to a new team has been smooth, in part, because of his preparation.
He kept his homework.
McCain played in Dick LeBeau's defense in Pittsburgh in 2014, when he registered three interceptions and 25 tackles in 14 games, including nine starts. LeBeau joined the Titans in 2015, and he'll serve as assistant head coach/defensive coordinator in 2016 under coach Mike Mularkey.
"I always keep all my notes from previous years,'' McCain said. "To come back in here and play with coach LeBeau, I look back on my notes and it was very familiar stuff. I jumped right in it. You can move pretty fast so you always know what you are doing.
"I've had a lot of good years, but (that season under LeBeau) was one of my better years."
McCain (5-9, 190), who has nine career interceptions, has been working at the nickel position with the Titans. He's a serious contender in the fight to claim the job.
With the Dolphins, McCain played in 14 games with 11 starts in 2015. He totaled 39 tackles, eight passes defensed and one interception. Prior to joining the Dolphins and before his year in Pittsburgh, McCain spent five seasons with the Houston Texans after being drafted by the franchise in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft.
McCain loves playing nickel, he said.
"It is a special position because you have to know linebackers, you have to know safety, you have to know corner, and you have to know nickel as a whole,'' McCain said. "A lot of receivers have the whole field to work with, so you have to take away leverage and learn how to control your body on breaks because they have a lot of field to work with."
He also loves competition, and he has some in Tennessee. In addition to the returning veterans, the Titans drafted two cornerbacks in the 2016 NFL Draft – LeShaun Sims and Kalan Reed. Jason McCourty and Perrish Cox return, along with B.W. Webb, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Cody Riggs and Curtis Riley. The Titans signed former Steelers cornerback Antwon Blake in March as well.
"You don't want to come in and not compete,'' McCain said. "I love to compete, and I think every corner in this room does. It's a good thing to have competition and bring out the best in everybody."
McCain, who visited the Buccaneers and had another visit lined up before deciding to sign with the Titans, said he's happy he came aboard when he did.
He likes the feel of optimism in the building, and on the field.
"It wasn't a leap of faith,'' McCain said. "I think if you bring enough players here, anything is possible for a team to win games and turn a season around. Last year is over, it's a whole new year. Every team comes in thinking they are going to win a Super Bowl. That's our mindset, to come out here and work hard and try and seize that goal."