NASHVILLE – Dez Fitzpatrick was born to be a receiver, even if he didn't know it at the time.
Growing up in Michigan, Fitzpatrick's father began prepping the Titans rookie for what was ahead when he was just a little boy.
"My dad," Fitzpatrick said, "had me working on receiver drills -- ladders, cones -- in the back yard since I was six years old."
Over the weekend, Fitzpatrick did those same drills at rookie minicamp under the tutelage of Titans receivers coach Rob Moore.
A fourth-round pick of the Titans out of Louisville, Fitzpatrick's NFL career is now officially under way. He hopes it's a long and successful one. Fitzpatrick made a good impression right out of the gate at Saint Thomas Sports Park, displaying good footwork and hands in individual drills.
The Titans moved up in the draft to pick Fitzpatrick, who wants to reward the team.
"I told the GM and the head coach on the phone when they drafted me: I am going to live up to all the expectations that they think I can do," Fitzpatrick said. "I am going to work my tail off to prove everybody right, and prove the Titans right and everybody else wrong of why they drafted me."
A 6-foot-2, 208-pounder, Fitzpatrick has a big opportunity in Tennessee.
At Louisville, Fitzpatrick recorded 154 receptions (ninth all-time) for 2,589 yards (sixth all-time) and 21 touchdowns during his career. He averaged 16.8 yards a reception in college, and he finished his career tied for 10th with eight 100-yard receiving games.
Fitzpatrick, taken with the 109th pick of the fourth round, said he's not focusing on potential playing time right now. He's concentrating on finding his way, and fitting in while limiting his mistakes and mental errors. His father, Greg, who played in the CFL and helps mentor receivers, gives him daily reminders to remain focused.
"The only thing I am worried about (now) is learning my playbook, and earning the respect of my teammates and my coaches," said Fitzpatrick, who ranked 25th in the nation in yards per reception (19.4) as a senior. "As long as I do those things, everything else will take care of itself. I am just trying to learn how to be a Titan, learn my playbook, and everything else will fall into place.
"I am glad that I'm here, and I'm blessed to be here. I am trying to be a Titan forever."