NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Plenty has changed since Taywan Taylor's playing days at Western Kentucky University.
Taylor was drafted by the Titans last April, and he played his rookie season in the NFL in 2017. Taylor became a father in November, when his daughter, Jrue, was born.
On Thursday, the Titans receiver hopped on the Titans Caravan with three of his teammates for three appearances. The last stop of the day took place at 6-4-3 Sports Bar in Bowling Green, Kentucky -- just 1.2 miles away from the WKU campus.
"I've been doing a little reminiscing," a smiling Taylor said on Thursday during a stop at Purpose Prep Academy in Nashville.
"I've had some growing up to do. I grew up fast since I got drafted and things like that, but I had to. It has been a humbling situation for me. But I don't think I could've landed anywhere better than Nashville. I am definitely grateful and I want to take advantage of it. I want to show my coaches and teammates that I am going to do everything I can to help this team. I feel like I've been blessed to be put in the situation I'm in."
A third-round pick out of Western Kentucky in the 2017 NFL Draft, Taylor played in all 16 games for the Titans last fall, including four starts. He caught 16 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown during his rookie season, and his score was a memorable one – a 53-yard touchdown catch against the Colts, when he raced past a defender and caught the ball over his shoulder on Monday Night Football.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw that pass to Taylor, and during the season he paid him several nice compliments. Teammates routinely praised Taylor and his work ethic.
In addition to catching passes, Taylor also carried the ball eight times for 43 yards in 2017. He also contributed on special teams.
Looking back, Taylor said he's not satisfied.
"I definitely want to do more," Taylor said. "I feel like last year I didn't do enough. I am very hard on myself and I think that is what is going to help me take my game to the next level – being hard on myself and understanding what I can get better at. I worked hard this offseason … and I want to keep building on that. I want to keep working to be the best receiver I can be."
Taylor has worked hard this offseason.
He's spent time in Cincinnati and Louisville, and he also traveled to Florida and California to work on different methods of training. Taylor worked with Mariota and the receivers in California, part of the bonding process, he said.
The 5-foot-11 Tayor said he's still in the 190- to 200-pound range, which will allow him to keep his speed. He feels sturdier, he said.
And he feels more confidence, an NFL season under his belt.
"Confidence is getting better every day," he said. "I just keep studying, and learning. … I definitely think I took a long jump, and I just want to keep building on that and keep getting better every day."
Taylor, the most prolific receiver in WKU history with 253 catches for 4,234 yards and 41 touchdowns, said he's getting comfortable in the new offense run by offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, with a new receivers coach in Rob Moore.
"I love it," Taylor said of the offense. "Coach LaFleur, he's been great, from Day One. I am more comfortable, learning something new each and every day. I think he has a great scheme for us, trying to utilize all of us and help us do what we do best. He is going to be great for us.
"And coach Moore, he has been great with all of us. I've been learning something new every day with coach Moore, just the little things. His experience in the league, he's played a long time, he's been to Pro Bowls and is a great receiver, so we have learned a lot from him. And our camaraderie in the receivers room has been great. I think it was probably the best hire coach could've made. I think he is going to be great for us, and we are grateful to have him."
The Titans begin organized team activities later this month, and a minicamp is scheduled for next month. The Titans will begin training camp at the end of July, before playing in preseason games in August.
The Titans will kick off the season on September 9 against the Dolphins.
"I just want to keep getting better every day – studying and learning," Taylor said. "I just want to keep building, from OTAs to minicamp and as we make the transition into the summer. I just want to keep working. And I am going to keep being hard on myself and being critical of myself so I can help this team even more. I want to be the best receiver I can be."
Titans players take the field for Wednesday's minicamp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Donn Jones, Gary Glenn)