Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/Editor, TitansOnline.com
The Titans rookies hit the field on Saturday for the second day of the team’s rookie minicamp. Here’s a look at five things that stood out.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans rookies hit the field on Saturday for the second day of the team’s rookie minicamp.
Four draft picks, 22 undrafted free agents, and 21 players on tryouts worked at Saint Thomas Sports Park under the direction of head coach Mike Vrabel and his staff.
“(It’s been) great,” Vrabel said. “We are happy to have these guys. They are working hard, trying to compete, trying to stay up. … We throw a lot at them.”
Here’s a look at five things that stood out from today’s rookie minicamp:
Evans learning fast
Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans spent his first night in Nashville at Derrick Henry’s house. The former Alabama teammates are now teammates with the Titans.
But Evans moved into the hotel with the rest of the rookies the next day, and he’s settling in.
During drills, Evans looked smooth decked out in No.54. At 6-foot-2, 232 pounds, he’s plenty sturdy.
“So far I have been making big strides trying to understand the playbook right now,” Evans said. “Really, just getting up to speed with the NFL.
“I know I am not the best linebacker that I can be right now, but I am definitely working toward that.”
One of the guys Evans is learning from is Vrabel, who played linebacker for 14 seasons in the NFL.
“It is intense, I will say that,” Evans said with a slight grin. “But I think that is the good part about playing linebacker for Vrabel. He is very specific about the things that he wants, and I feel like that is what makes great linebackers. I am just honored to be able to be coached by him, and looking forward to continue to get coached by him.”
Landry all smiles
New Titans edge rusher Harold Landry ended his media availability after practice on Saturday with a smile, recalling his draft day introduction by former Titans quarterback Vince Young.
It turns out he has a new nickname.
“I definitely had a bunch of texts, saying, “What’s up Honor?’ Just stuff like that,” Landry said. “But it’s all fun, it’s all good. I am here. It all worked out. It was a funny moment, but I am here.”
Landry is adjusting to different techniques in the NFL, and his exact role will be determined in time. He has a burst that will be put on display in practices leading up to the season.
After racking up 26 sacks at Boston College, Landry is hoping to make an immediate impact with the Titans.
On Saturday, Landry said he’s “living the dream” while adjusting to the NFL. He’s also been busy reading the playbook and watching film.
Decked out in No.58, he showed some energy on the practice field. He’s looking forward to meeting, and practicing, with veteran outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan when the rookies join the veterans in a few days.
“It will definitely be cool to meet everybody, especially those two guys,” Landry said. “They have definitely set the tone for the Tennessee Titans the past years. I look forward to meeting them, and showing them what I’ve got. And being able to learn from them. It is going to be a great experience. I am looking forward to it.”
Cruikshank looks the part
Titans rookie Dane Cruikshank didn’t give any hints about where he’s lining up during rookie camp.
He played cornerback and “spur safety” at Arizona, but is listed as a “defensive back” with the Titans.
Cruikshank is a big guy, listed at 6-1, 209. And he moves well.
“I am playing DB,” he said. “I am playing whatever the coaches are telling me to play, so whether it is nickel, safety or corner — that is where I am playing.”
Cruikshank said it’s been great to get started with his new coaches and teammates. He’s already learned his secondary coach Kerry Coombs has impressive volume in his voice, and plenty of energy.
But it’s all good, he said.
“It’s been a blessing,” he said. “I’m super thankful that they gave me the opportunity to play for the Titans. It seems like home.
“(First weekend) is kind of like being a freshman all over again, coming from the college level and transitioning to the NFL. You just have to get to know everybody and then of course you have so many different play calls and things you have to adjust too. It is a transition, but I feel like I am settling in.”
Wadley has a burst
It was just a small sample during the open periods for media, but from the get-go it’s already clear running back Akrum Wadley has a burst.
Wadley (5-10, 194), who ran for 1,109 yards and 10 touchdowns during his final season at Iowa, joined the team as an undrafted free agent, and he’ll compete this offseason for a roster spot.
Wadley is closer to Dion Lewis than Derrick Henry from a size standpoint. His biggest competition on the roster will come from David Fluellen, the team’s No.3 back a year ago.
One thing I noticed: Wadley has a running style that includes a bit of a jump-step, or a skip. It allows him to get into another gear in a hurry.
Falk is adjusting
Quarterback Luke Falk, the team’s sixth-round pick from Washington State, threw for nearly 15,000 yards in college.
But he did most of his work out of the shotgun.
His snaps under center were limited. Falk estimated he took 35 snaps under center.
With the Titans, he’s learning a new game.
“It’s difficult,” Vrabel said. “For four years, this is a quarterback who was predominantly under shotgun.”
Falk said he’s adjusting.
“It has been good,” he said. “It’s been a lot of learning, each day trying to get a little better. We’re installing a lot, and just trying to do my job and doing it fast-paced. But definitely a lot of learning and a lot of room to grow.”