NASHVILLE – Kevin Byard has noticed teammate Denico Autry's hands, the same hands responsible for blocking eight kicks in his NFL career.
"The guy's hands are huge," Byard said on Tuesday while discussing the big defensive lineman, who spent four years with the Raiders and three with the Colts before signing with the Titans back in March.
"He was in Indy, always being disruptive, always in the backfield making plays," Byard continued. "Obviously watching a guy like him, a guy who has so much length. … He is just a big guy, and I think he is going to be really disruptive up front with Jeff (Simmons) and those guys. I am excited to see him come out here and make some plays for us."
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Autry has played in 96 games, with 56 starts, since entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the Raiders in 2014. In seven seasons, he's recorded 182 tackles and 30.5 sacks.
In 2020, while lining up primarily at defensive end, Autry tallied 33 tackles (20 solo), 9 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, and 35 total QB pressures during 14 games, with 13 starts, with the Colts.
Now, he's ready to create havoc with the Titans.
And he's fired up about the opportunity in Tennessee.
"If you come after me," Autry said of the Titans signing him, "I'm going to give you all I've got. I appreciate those guys for that, and I want to prove them right."
Autry plans to do it using a "Bulldog mentality," which he didn't hesitate to describe when asked what that meant after Tuesdays' practice.
Like Simmons, Autry played in college at Mississippi State.
As a senior for the Bulldogs in 2013, Autry started in all 13 games and collected 31 tackles (14 solo), 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, three passes defensed and one forced fumble
"With Jeff, that Bulldog mentality goes a long way," Autry said. "Rugged, tough, hard-nosed, going to get after you every play, relentless. (It's) just a way of life."
Autry was a force all over the defensive line for the Colts, where he registered 20 sacks in 40 games over the past three seasons. Autry posted nine sacks in 2018, 3.5 sacks in 2019 and 7.5 sacks in 2020.
Autry's 20 sacks during the last three seasons ranks in the top 15 in the NFL for defensive linemen. Autry has also appeared in four career playoff games with three starts and collected 12 tackles, 2.5 sacks, five quarterback hits and a forced fumble in the postseason.
Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen is excited about the possibilities with Autry.
"He has a lot of versatility for us," Bowen said. "He can play inside or outside, and he is able to go in there on third down and do some things, he is able to go outside on third down and do some things. His multiplicity and his alignments – obviously being a bigger guy, which we really haven't had in there on third down at times. A bigger, longer, more powerful dude that will be able to just push the pocket a little bit, too, and keep those edges a little bit shorter for our guys."
Autry said he's felt good in camp, and he attributes it to his training this offseason.
Leading up to camp, Autry said he focused on building endurance and strength while doing more CrossFit training.
In Tennessee, he's already enjoying his time – and he's ready to make an impact on the field.
"I like everything about it here," Autry said. "(When I was in Indy), I saw where (the Titans) had good parts and pieces, and I wanted to be a part of it."