TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt offers three quick hits from the opening day of rookie minicamp at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans kicked off a three-day rookie minicamp on Friday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
Three quick hits after today’s session (story coming soon on first-round pick Corey Davis, who was limited in his first practice):
First-round pick Adoree Jackson got off to a nice start on his first day of practice in the NFL.
He got confirmation from Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
“He gave me a high-five,” Jackson said with a smile. “He’s a Hall of Famer. … Pretty cool.”
Jackson, selected 18th overall by the Titans, said he worked at outside cornerback, in the slot at nickel, and caught some punts on the first day.
He wasn’t nervous.
“I just try and stay relaxed and as smooth as possible,” Jackson said. “People ask me how I am doing, and I say, ‘I am smooth.’ The coaches have done a good job of keeping us relaxed. They say to stand up and take a deep breath. And the players treat you as brothers here.”
Coach Mike Mularkey said he wants Jackson to focus on helping on defense out of the gate, along with work on special teams. Any talk about trying the versatile athlete on offense should be quiet for now, he said.
“Adoree’ is here to play cornerback for us,” Mularkey said. “He can play corner, and obviously he got work today. He’ll work inside as a nickel and we did some work this morning with him returning some punts.
“I am not going to comment on the offensive side. We know what he is capable of doing with the ball in his hands. But let’s get him confident in what he is doing and give him a chance to play corner and return, (which is) the initial reason he’s here.”
Friday was a special day for Vanderbilt’s Darrius Sims.
Sims graduated from Vanderbilt on Friday morning. He took part in the ceremony, and then traveled across town to take part in the team’s rookie minicamp as one of 27 players on tryouts.
“Today was a frenzy,’’ Sims said with a smile. “I woke up at 6:45 a.m., had to be at Vandy early for the graduation, walked, and then rushed over here. I want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to do both. And I thank the Titans organization for letting me take part in the graduation and dedicating that to my family. Their understanding helped the whole situation out.”
The Titans allowed Sims to miss the morning walk-through. He was on the field Friday afternoon, working at left and right cornerback. At Vandy, Sims played on offense and defense during his career, and was a dynamic return man.
“It has been surreal, to have this chance to be out here,” Sims said. “All my life I have been praying for an opportunity like this and to have an opportunity, I am so thankful. Now I just have to be consistent and work as hard as I can.”
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota wasn’t on the field on Friday, but he was a topic of conversation at Mularkey’s post-practice press conference.
Mariota said Mariota still isn’t running speed as he recovers from the fractured fibula he suffered at the end of last season, “but he is definitely doing good.”
“He is jogging right now,” Mularkey said. “There is no rush. It is so early, in mid-May there is no rush to do it.”
Mularkey said the Titans may do more 7-on-7 drills this offseason than they’ve ever done to help him get more comfortable with the receivers during the offseason.
“You are talking about timing in the passing game,” Mularkey said. “That is one way to be able to do it without a rush in his face and having to move. That is one way. We are working on other ways to get the work.”