It has been one of the better starts to training camp in recent history. The offense is looking good and the defense has some very nice bright spots. With that said I think it is a good time to go through some notes on who is really standing out one way or another.
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Stock Up: Hakeem Nicks
Who knew that Nicks was going to be such an immediate contributor. When the Tennessee Titans decided to kick the tires on a veteran that really was two seasons away from a time where he really looked like a standout, I was skeptical.
Well, fast forward to now and my jaw is still on the ground. Now, I am not saying that Nicks is going to make the Pro Bowl, but I will say that it would be a huge upset (from where he was in the spring) if he played well enough to usurp Harry Douglas at the team’s number two receiver.
Stock Down: Blidi Wreh-Wilson
After thinking maybe it was time to see if BWW could fit into Dick LeBeau’s scheme, I think the answer is clear that it isn’t the scheme, it is the player. Game tape will tell on BWW, but I have heard nothing and seen nothing that says that he should be anything more than a backup this year.
Stock Up: Brian Orakpo
I was cautiously optimistic that Orakpo would make this defense a little more respectable, but I didn’t have any clue that he would be full go this early in training camp.
Not only is the All-Pro practicing, he is wowing coaches and players with his speed, power and technique. Honestly if Orakpo stays healthy the Tennessee Titans may have found a cheap player who can give them serious contributions vs the run and the pass.
Stock Down: Justin Hunter
Hunter isn’t having a terrible camp, but he needs to show out to prove that he is worth sticking with as he goes through his legal troubles. Honestly it sounds like he and DGB are about even right now in terms of consistency and big play ability, and if the Tennessee Titans are pushed for a roster spot thanks to Hakeem Nicks and his improved play Hunter may be the odd man out.
Stock Up: Taylor Lewan
I know we are all sold on him being a solid left tackle in year two, but man he has become a real leader this offseason. Off the field he is talking about making this offensive line gritty and scrappy.
On the field he has reportedly stonewalled Angelo Blackson, Brian Orakpo and Jurrell Casey multiple times each. That is three very different body types and two of those players could arguably be ranked in the top-five of their positions. I was down on the decision to draft Taylor Lewan last year, but now it seems like a no-brainer. If all the teams could draft that class again, you couldn’t convince me that he wouldn’t be a top five pick and that is only because Aaron Donald, Odell Beckham, Sammy Watkins, and Mike Evans were all pretty good too.
Bonus: Marcus Mariota
I am pretty high on Marcus Mariota so it would have taken a monumental effort to raise his stock for me, so he is probably at a push. That being said, he checked another thing off the box after he showed up to camp with more knowledge of the playbook, better footwork, improved team chemistry, great ball security, and after he dealt with live action yesterday.