Tennessee Titans: 6 Players Whose Stock Is on the Rise After OTAs
In what feels like a very long offseason, OTAs can be a kind of oasis. The newly drafted rookies get put to work, the new coaches get to experiment with whatever changes they plan on making to schemes, and a starting lineup starts to take form.
We're still a long way off from the season, but a few players have started to stand out. Here are six Tennessee Titans players who've already left an impression.
1. Nate Washington
Nate Washington hasn't had the best offseason. From the Titans shopping him to other teams to the drafting of a receiver in the second round to play the same position as he does, it hasn't been going well for the veteran receiver.
However, that seems to have changed as of OTAs, as Washington apparently did very well, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. Washington has been the most reliable receiver on the team for the last few years, so it's good that he's still a big part of the offense.
Other than Washington, the Titans' go-to receivers are Justin Hunter, a rookie; Kendall Wright, a second-year player; and Kenny Britt, whose off-the-field history makes it tough to rely on him to even be on the field.
2. Chance Warmack
Chance Warmack was drafted No. 10 overall because the Titans expected him to start at right guard right away. However, with Andy Levitre out of OTAs and still dealing with knee issues, Warmack may find himself on the left side.
Levitre missed OTAs last week because his knee is healing a little more slowly than anticipated, according to John Glennon of The Tennessean.
Other than Levitre, the Titans don't really have a starting-caliber left guard on the roster, which means they may look to Warmack to fill in. Even if someone else, like Fernando Velasco, fills in for Levitre, his absence would still make Warmack's job all the more important.
The Titans picked Warmack higher than any guard has been picked in nearly a decade, so if Levitre can't play, he'd better be ready to.
3. Bernard Pollard
Bernard Pollard, the former Ravens safety famous for his big hit on Stevan Ridley, causing a big turnover in the AFC Championship, is becoming a pretty vocal guy on the Titans defense, according to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.
He's not just outspoken either. He seems to be a very hardworking, dedicated player, electing to skip the traditional visit to the White House that the Super Bowl-winning team makes in order to work through OTAs, according to Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.
That kind of dedication shows that Pollard is more than just a big mouth—he's also willing to lead by example and hard work. If that's not the mark of a leader, then I don't know what is.
4. Craig Stevens
Craig Stevens may have the biggest year of his career. Stevens seems to be in play to become the Titans' starting fullback, according to Greg Pogue of Fox Sports Tennessee, which means he'll see more overall time on the field.
While that would be bad news for Collin Mooney and Quinn Johnson, it would give Stevens a role beyond just a blocking tight end.
He had a little more luck when Delanie Walker sat out of OTAs after sustaining a knee injury, according to Ben Volon of The Boston Globe. If Walker misses any playing time, then it'll be up to Stevens and sophomore player Taylor Thompson to provide all of the play at tight end.
If Stevens is playing fullback and rotating in at tight end, he'll suddenly find himself becoming one of the more valuable players on the team.
5. Kenny Britt
Kenny Britt's off-the-field problems are news to no one. He's spent nearly half his career unable to play because of injuries and has had multiple run-ins with law enforcement.
Earlier in the offseason, his teammates remarked that he seems to have recovered fully and looks like his old self, via Wyatt. So he looks to be healthy, which is good.
Then, he stated that he wanted to return to 2011 form and was focusing on football more than ever now. Could those just be empty words? Yes, but just acknowledging that he hasn't lived up to his potential, even in a bit of a roundabout way, shows that he recognizes he's been a bit of a disappointment.
Nate Washington also said that Britt seems to be in a better place mentally, which is a good sign. Britt is in the last year of his rookie deal, so if he wants to stick around, he'll have to show that he can stay on the field and out of trouble.
6. Jake Locker
Everyone knows that the Titans' success next year will come down to how much Jake Locker improves. He seems to be ready to lead the team, but leadership without improved play won't do too much.
Luckily, the Titans may be building their new offense around Locker's strengths by having him do more designed runs. Last year, even though his play in the pocket was inconsistent, Locker always managed to be a dynamic runner.
If teams have to be on guard against the run, whether the run comes via Chris Johnson, Shonn Greene or Jake Locker, it ought to make things easier on Locker when he does pass the ball.
It's hard to say how much Locker has really improved at this point, but the Titans are certainly doing everything they can to make it easy for him to make big strides.
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