Ask anyone around the NFL, and they will tell you that the Tennessee Titans’ two biggest needs heading into draft weekend were at the perimeter on both sides of the ball; cornerback and wide-receiver. It didn’t take very long for general manager Jon Robinson to address those needs, selecting Western Michigan WR Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick, and USC cornerback Adoree’ Jackson with the eighteenth overall pick.
On Friday morning, the two newest wearers of the two-tone blue flew from Philadelphia to Nashville where they had the opportunity to meet some of their teammates, tour their new workplace, and be introduced to the media.
They were also given the opportunity to select their jersey numbers. Jackson will wear #25, which was also worn by fellow USC alumnus LenDale White when he played for the Titans from 2006-2009. Davis will wear #84, the same number he wore at Western Michigan.
During their introductory press conference, one of the key topics addressed was how each of the two players will be deployed, as both have a history of versatility. Davis has played at all three receiver spots, in the slot and outside. Jackson, in addition to playing both nickel and outside cornerback for the Trojans, returned a total of four kicks and punts for touchdown in 2016.
Head coach Mike Mularkey said that the plan is to start Corey Davis as an outside receiver. Davis, falling in line with Jon Robinson’s “team first” identity, added “Whatever the team needs me to do, I can do that.” Mularkey also said that Davis’ presence on the outside will especially assist the Titans’ offense in the running game, pointing out that “it’s a little more difficult to concentrate on the run game and get extra guys in the box when you have to pay more attention to the outside.”
As for Jackson, according to Mularkey, the plan is also to start him as a perimeter player. When asked what role he expected to play for the Titans, Jackson said he would be “focused on attention to detail, technique, and fundamentals.” He added that while he knows he will likely be asked to play a large role as a kick returner and potentially even receive snaps on offense, his main concern is “doing what they brought me here to do, and that’s to be a cornerback.”
Jackson and Davis are both great men who perfectly fit in with Robinson’s mantra of building a team with players who are tough, coachable, and have a team first attitude. As the GM himself said, “The team first attitude was easy to pick up in both of them. They are confident football players with high skill sets.” The entire team might be first, but both of the Titans first rounders are thrilled to be on a team with each-other.
When asked about having to cover Davis in practice, Jackson responded with pure joy. “For me to go against him everyday, it will help me to cover the big receivers in this division. You know the old saying, ‘iron sharpens iron.’ It’s going to be great to get to compete against each other. [Davis] is a great competitor and receiver. He has size, he has speed, quickness, and great hands, so when you have that combination, it makes everything else around you easier.”
Against AFC South competition, Davis will be called upon to beat Vontae Davis, Jalen Ramsey, and Johnathan Joseph. Jackson will have to slow down T.Y. Hilton, Allen Robinson, and DeAndre Hopkins. If they feed off of each other’s talent and truly do allow iron to sharpen iron, both players will be able to handle their competition at a very high level.