Cody’s Wide Receiver Scouting Report

Dec 23, 2016; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Louisiana Tech Bulldogs wide receiver Carlos Henderson (1) returns the opening kick off against the Navy Midshipmen at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 23, 2016; Fort Worth, TX, USA; Louisiana Tech Bulldogs wide receiver Carlos Henderson (1) returns the opening kick off against the Navy Midshipmen at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tennessee Titans have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball. They have a rising young star at quarterback, two young bookend tackles, an elite tight end, a rejuvenated DeMarco Murray, and a beast in Derrick Henry waiting in the wings. Still, with all this talent there is something missing; a true number one receiver.

Rishard Matthews is a great route runner, has some speed, and dependable hands, but he lacks some athleticism and size to be a true number one. I do expect Tajae Sharpe to take another step in his development, but he won’t be a true number one either.

So, before we look at some things the Titans will be looking for in a wide receiver; when asking Jon Robinson, he will tell you and he has said many times, they have to get open and catch the football. Mike Mularkey takes it a step further saying they have to be able to block as well.

While those three traits are great for a number one receiver to have, I also have a bit of a preference. I want the guy to have a good size to athleticism ratio. Receivers such as: Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, Mike Evans, and Alshon Jeffery are the types of receiver I want.

Nothing against smaller receivers, some have great careers: Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton, Julian Edelman, Emmanuel Sanders, and DeAndre Hopkins. So, here is a scouting report for potential future Titans.

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First Wave

Corey Davis: Davis has the look of a true Titan. He is the embodiment of what Jon Robinson, Mike Mularkey, and myself look for in a true number one receiver. When he is blocking, he gets low, has good hand placement, and drives his defender in the direction he wants them to go. He displays power and short area quickness when catching passes; I don’t remember the first guy ever bringing him down, which makes for some big plays. Although he hasn’t run the forty-yard dash, he has shown the ability to outrun players to the goal line. He can line up all over the field and he shows quickness in and out of his breaks. Occasionally, you will see an ugly drop, but he has showcased athleticism to make those contested catches. He runs a variety of routes and tracks the football very well. Games watched: vs Ohio, vs Wisconsin, and vs Toledo.

Mike Williams: Williams has excellent body control, which does wonders helping him adjust to the football. He also uses that body to box out defenders as well. He is good at hand fighting to help him get off the line while being pressed. Can line up on either side of the field. He has the willingness to block, but he needs to be more physical while doing so. There is tremendous concentration from this guy in being able to come down with the ball through contact. He does an impressive job tracking the football in the air. I would like to see more separation from DBs and quicker breaks on his routes, but those two things can go hand in hand. Games watched: vs Alabama, vs Ohio State, and vs Auburn.

John Ross: Ross doesn’t present the big physical presence as the names listed above, but he finds himself on this list after breaking the combine record in the forty-yard dash. With his speed, he will certainly bring a deep threat to the Titans organization. His explosion off the line does help him in the red zone. He runs good routes and does a nice job crossing cornerbacks’ hips to get open. He does have trouble making the contested catches and he will throw a key block if it springs the ball carrier for a big gain. With his speed, he is a dangerous treat in the return game if he gets in the open field. Games watch: vs Stanford, vs Washington State, and vs Oregon.

Second Wave.

Noah Brown: Brown, like Davis, has the look of a Titan. When it comes to the blocking game, Brown is far and away the most physical; he has the mentality as a linebacker almost. He has great size and sure hands. He made one of the most spectacular catches I’ve ever seen against Oklahoma. I would like to see him get more separation from the defensive backs. He lines up all over the field, has nice body control, and he’s hard to bring down after the catch. Games watched: vs Oklahoma and vs Michigan.

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  • Carlos Henderson: He can line up on either side of the ball or in the backfield. He could also fill that “scat back” role for the Titans, which they currently don’t have on the roster. He shows short area quickness, which can make him slippery after the catch. The one thing is he does have the occasional drop, but he does an impressive job of high pointing the football and attacking it. Henderson also brings a dynamic returner to the team, he has patience to let his blocks develop and knows when to turn on the boosters. Games watched: vs Western Kentucky and vs Navy.

    Jalen Robinette: Robinette had to deal with some terrible quarterback play, but with a quarterback of Mariota’s caliber throwing to him, he could be a real difference maker. Robinette has impressive size and build. He is a physical run blocker and he is dangerous with the ball after the catch. I would like to see more explosion off the line from him. I like how he runs a variety of routes as well. Games watched: vs Army, vs New Mexico, and vs Wyoming.

    Chad Hansen: Hansen has great size and the athleticism to go with it. He high points the football and attacks it, but he needs to make better body adjustments for the catch. He has trouble getting started when the corners press him, so he needs to be better with his hands. Because of this he sometimes doesn’t get good separation, but he makes those contested catches. He is quick in and out of his breaks. I would like to see more routes added to his resume though, he mostly runs go routes, curls, and screen passes. In the blocking game, I would like him to be more physical. Games watched: vs Hawaii, vs Texas, and vs Arizona State.

    Josh Reynolds: Reynolds is a great red zone target at 6’4. He is fast off the line and does a nice job crossing the corner back’s hips. In my opinion he should add about 15 lbs. He has good focus, but he does have that occasional drop problem. He has a big catch radius and he tracks the football well. With his speed to go along with his size, so he brings a deep threat element as well. Games watched: vs LSU, vs Auburn, and vs Kansas State.

    Third Wave

    Josh Malone: Malone ran a 4.41 at the combine, but maybe you haven’t realized he is 6’5! He is a very raw player, would like more explosion from him off the line and for him to be quicker in and out of his cuts. He lines up at various places on the field. Has made several clutch catches for the Volunteers. He does a nice job of tracking the football and will fight for extra yards. With a slender build, so like Reynolds I think he should add 10-15lbs. He also doesn’t mind helping in the blocking game. Because of raw he is, he will be a mid to late round pick, but because of his size and speed he has the potential to be the best receiver in this class (not saying he will be and I doubt he will be, but the talent is there). Games watched: vs Nebraska, vs Alabama, and vs South Carolina.

    Ricky Seals-Jones: Seals-Jones, like Malone, is 6’5. Unlike Malone, he is over 250lbs. I think if he could figure out how to block (which he struggled with) he could play some tight end. He is an incredible mismatch on the outside against smaller DBs. He brings a great red zone target, but he has more going for him than his size. Although he towers over DBs he high points the football and attacks it. He lines up all over the field, which brings me to my next point. I watched some of his work out videos and Seals-Jones and he works on the things receivers his size normally has trouble with: foot work, running more than just a hand full of routes, and how to get off the line quickly while being pressed. Games watched: vs Alabama and vs South Carolina.

    Tennessee Titans
    Tennessee Titans /

    Tennessee Titans

    Malachi Dupre: Leonard Fournette didn’t break off those big runs on his own. The main reason big runs happen is because of wide receivers blocking down field. Dupre isn’t afraid to get involved with the run blocking game. He is explosive off the line, good at tracking the football, and he makes those contested catches which makes for a great deep threat. I would like to see more separation from the DBs. He lines up at multiple spots on the field and he has steady hands. I’m still sticking to my former comparison to a more consistent, slightly less athletic Justin Hunter.

    Zay Jones and Chris Godwin were left off this list as they will go in round two, and the Titans don’t currently own a second-round pick. There are plenty of other playmakers at the receiver position in this class, but didn’t quite make the criteria of what we’re looking for. I loved Ryan Switzer who is one of the most entertaining players in this draft, but I don’t love him as a wide receiver one. Others include: DeDe Westbrook, Curtis Samuel, Cooper Kupp, Jehu Chesson, and K.D Cannon.

    Players I didn’t like: JuJu Smith-Schuster (slow), Amba Etta-Tawo (body language/attitude), Taywan Taylor (slow/size), and Amara Darboh (slow).

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