Kendall Wright Still a Work in Progress for the Titans

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistAugust 28, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 11:  Wide receiver Kendall Wright #13 of the Tennessee Titans rushes against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on August 11, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

When the Titans drafted Kendall Wright 20th overall in the 2012 NFL draft, it promised to open a new era of passing in Tennessee.

While Wright has done some nice things early, it's clear that the dawn of an air-attack passing game is still a ways off.

Wright has posted eight catches for 100 yards in his three preseason games. While there have been flashes of excellence, there is still work to do.

Against Tampa, he was targeted four times, finishing with one catch for nine yards. He ran a couple of nice routes, but Jake Locker was only able to connect with him once. Locker's first interception came on an ill-advised throw to Wright. He almost threw a second while staring him down in the end zone.

In the third game, Wright had more success, finding receptions on four of the five plays in which he was the target. Locker immediately looked for him on the first play from scrimmage. It was batted down, but that was the last time the two would fail to hook up.

On the second look to Wright, the young duo were in sync. Locker released his pass before Wright made his break. Wright stopped his route, found the ball perfectly placed and made the catch before spinning and diving into the end zone.

This is the kind of connection and rhythm that should only improve with time.

Later in the first quarter, Wright showed the kind of explosiveness that made him a top pick.

He had a short route, but as Locker checked back to him, he broke open, jumped for a high pass and accelerated in a blink. It is that top-end speed in traffic that makes him such a dangerous threat for the Titans.

He was just a step behind the corner, but landed and was at full speed, blazing 30 yards down the field before the defense recovered.

The Titans tried to take advantage of that home-run capability in the third quarter by running a little wide receiver screen to Wright on 3rd-and-16. He only gained a yard on what was essentially a give-up play, but it does provide insight into the type of play they think he'll excel at.

Wright is going to have to adjust to better coverage than he saw in college. It will obviously take time for all his abilities to manifest regularly, but at least for brief flashes, fans have had a glimpse of what he brings to the table.

Fans should be patient with Wright as he and Locker develop together this season. He may not meet the lofty expectations, but he should be a productive, occasionally explosive player for the Titans in 2012.