4 things we learned about 2022 Tennessee Titans in offseason program

Ben Arthur
Nashville Tennessean
View Comments

From rookie minicamp through voluntary organized team activities and mandatory minicamp, we’ve gotten our first glance of the 2022 Tennessee Titans

With the offseason program now wrapped up, what have we learned about the Titans?

Here are four things to keep in mind as we look toward training camp in late July: 

Big questions remain in WR room

A strong first impression from first-round pick Treylon Burks would have eased the sting of the A.J. Brown trade. But the former Arkansas star was limited throughout the offseason program and sidelined the last three practices open to the media. We know asthma is at least partially to blame

But with a long-term approach already needed with veteran free-agent acquisition Robert Woods, who’s working his way back from a torn ACL, the top of the Titans’ wide receiver room is in flux. 

Will Burks be full-go in training camp? And even with positive progress in rehab, when will Woods be 100%? Those are big questions around the expectant top two receivers.

And the Titans don’t have great depth behind them to lean on. 

GIVING BACK:How the Tennessee Titans invaded 'Vol country' on Wednesday at Hardin Valley

WRAPPING UP OFFSEASON PROGRAM:3 big takeaways as Tennessee Titans complete mandatory minicamp practice

JEFFERY SIMMONS:What Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons said about his contract situation

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, entering his third season, proved to be a reliable receiver last season. But veteran Josh Malone, arguably the most impressive receiver in the offseason program, doesn’t have much special teams experience and that could hurt his chances of making the roster. 

None of the six other receivers have more than 10 games of experience. 

Austin Hooper looks part of TE1

New tight end Austin Hooper flashed early signs of chemistry with quarterback Ryan Tannehill throughout the offseason program, catching multiple passes in 7-on-7 drills and team periods in every practice open to the media. During special teams periods, the two got in extra reps. 

Hooper, signed to a one-year deal worth up to $6 million, has impressed since arriving in Nashville. 

At least so far, he’s come as advertised as a No. 1 tight end. 

“Got a good catch radius,” coach Mike Vrabel said of Hooper. “You've seen those contested throws where he's doing what we ask him to do and going and attacking the football.”

Secondary deep with talent, competition

Cornerback was the biggest weakness of a strong defense last season, and there’s reason to believe the room will be better in 2022. 

The biggest concern with 2021 first-round pick Caleb Farley is health, but he’s made positive progress in his ACL rehab and was an active participant in offseason practices. 

Second-round rookie Roger McCreary, who played primarily outside cornerback at Auburn, has flashed the versatility to play inside or out. He should bring competitive depth for Farley and nickelback Elijah Molden.

With Farley, McCreary, Molden and Kristian Fulton, the Titans can build around four cornerbacks age 23 or under selected in the first three rounds of the last three drafts. 

There’s also sixth-round pick Theo Jackson, who said at rookie minicamp that he’s focusing primarily on safety right now but has the versatility to play the secondary. He made some nice plays on the ball in offseason practices, particularly at rookie minicamp. 

Jackson has a chance to be the No. 3 safety and fill the void left by Dane Cruikshank as a tight end stopper in dime packages. 

“I think it’s our best group since I’ve been here,” Hooker said of the secondary. 

Chig Okonkwo poised for big impact

Fourth-round rookie Chig Okonkwo was arguably the biggest standout. He had four touchdowns in 7-on-7 work between two practices, including three on the first day. He looks the part as an athletic tight end. 

We have yet to see his proficiency as a blocker – that will become clear in padded training camp practices and preseason games – but he has a chance to be one of the Titans’ most impactful rookies in 2022. 

“Made some big strides this spring, proud of him,” Tannehill said. “Just physically, to see his size, his strength, his speed, how he’s able to play through contact, he definitely gives us another weapon.”

Ben Arthur covers the Tennessee Titans for The USA TODAY Network. Contact him at barthur@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @benyarthur.

View Comments