Titans Eyeing Progress of OLB D'Andre Walker, Optimistic About His Potential for 2020

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Titans got a lot of production from their 2019 draft class, from first-round pick Jeffery Simmons to sixth-round pick David Long.

Sandwiched in between those picks were guys like receiver A.J. Brown, guard Nate Davis, and defensive back Amani Hooker, three players who made a difference on a team that advanced to the AFC Championship Game.

Looking ahead to 2020, the Titans expect them all to make a leap.

And they're also planning to have a sixth player from the 2019 class join them – outside linebacker D'Andre Walker, the team's fifth-round pick out of Georgia. Walker was injured last offseason, and he spent the entire 2019 season on Injured Reserve.

He spent the fall rehabbing, so he'll be ready to take the field this offseason.

"He's been working hard," Titans general manager Jon Robinson, speaking from the NFL Combine, said of Walker. "He had the injury there and lost the season, but he's been attacking the rehab process. I've seen him out on the field working with our trainers. He's in good shape. He looks good. I know he's itching to get back and show what he's capable of doing. We're excited to work with him this spring whenever the players can come back."

In 2018, Walker started 13 games for the Bulldogs and finished with 45 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks. He was the 168th pick of the NFL Draft by the Titans. During his collegiate career, Walker played in 41 games at Georgia, and he tallied 112 tackles, 13.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel spent one-on-one time with Walker last offseason, and during the early portion of training camp before Walker was sidelined.

Vrabel watched his progress with strength and conditioning coach Frank Piraino, even when he wasn't available to play.

"I loved his attitude," Vrabel said of Walker. "He was excited to learn. I think we needed to get him healthy and get him right. From what I've seen at the end of the season when he was training and working with Frank on the side and the trainers, it looks like a player we'll be able to work with there in April and see where he's at."

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Heading into the offseason, the Titans have some question marks at outside linebacker.

Harold Landry, who led the Titans with nine sacks, will be back. Veteran Cameron Wake is under contract for next season, and so is Derick Roberson, an undrafted free agent who flashed in 2019.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Kamalei Correa has an expiring contract, and linebacker Reggie Gilbert is an exclusive rights free agent.

Here at the NFL Combine, the Titans are eyeing edge rushers, along with other positions. Veterans will be available in free agency.

In 2020, the team hopes to create even more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

"I think in this league, you're going to have ways to affect the quarterback," Vrabel said. "You can either be in really tight coverage or you can rush the passer. We're going to try to do things that get us to rush the passer, whether by scheme or by personnel. So it's important."

The Tennessee Titans select Georgia outside linebacker D'Andre Walker in the fifth round (168th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft. (Photos: AP, Georgia)

Check out Titans players over the years at the NFL Scouting Combine. (AP Photos)

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