Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/Editor, TitansOnline.com
After adding several players to the secondary in free agency, the Titans drafted cornerback Adoree’ Jackson with the 18th overall pick. Titans secondary coach Deshea Townsend discussed Jackson, and the group, at a recent Caravan stop.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Deshea Townsend never worked at a grocery store growing up, but he looked pretty comfortable at the counter during a recent Titans Caravan stop.
While waiting to meet fans at a Kroger in Spring Hill, Townsend encountered a woman having trouble in the self-checkout line. He stepped in to help out.
“I was coaching her up, I guess, coaching her how to scan her avocados on the machine,” Townsend said with a smile. “There is no job too big or small. Plus, she was a Bengals fans. I was trying to win her over to be for the Titans.”
Townsend, the team’s secondary coach, is ready to coach up some new faces in the secondary in 2017.
One of them is former USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, the 18th overall pick in the NFL Draft. Earlier this offseason the Titans also signed former Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan in free agency, and added former Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien and former Bears cornerback Demontre Hurst.
“I love the way he plays the ball,” Townsend said of Jackson, who is expected to contend for a starting spot. “He has a natural ability to play the ball in the air, and then once he gets the ball in his hands he can be a difference maker as well. So the ability for him to change the game in those ways is a big plus.
“He is going to help us in a lot of areas on defense and on special teams, and with the brain coach (Mike) Mularkey has, I am sure he’ll find a way to use him on offense, too. He was a good pick for us and he is going to help our defense.”
Jackson recorded five interceptions last season at USC, where he also played on offense and in the return game. Jackson was also a long jumper and sprinter on USC’s track team in 2015 and 2016.
Jackson reached out to all of his new teammates after getting drafted to let them know he’s ready to come in and work.
He got the phone numbers from Townsend, a 13-year NFL veteran who was a part of two Super Bowl-winning teams with the Steelers.
“I was impressed, and that’s what it is all about,” Townsend said. “Being part of the group, being a team player, is about family and he has that mentality and that is going to make him an even better pro.
“I know he’s going to work hard, and I am excited for him. He now has some time to get away from track and be full-time football, so he will only get better.”
Townsend, set to begin his second season as the team’s secondary coach, likes his group.
In addition to the newcomers, cornerbacks LeShaun Sims, Brice McCain and Kalan Reedall return, along with D’Joun Smith and Tye Smith. At safety, Da’Norris Searcy, Kevin Byard and Curtis Riley were joined by Cyprien and former Raiders safety Brynden Trawick.
“The room, we have good competition top to bottom,’’ Townsend said. “You want guys to come in and compete, and be willing to work and that’s what we have. We have guys who can play.
“I don’t care if you’re the first pick or the last pick, you have to be hungry to work. It doesn’t matter where you are drafted, you have to work and put the time in and we have guys who want to be good.”