Tennessee Titans: Stock up, stock down for rookies
We’re giving defensive back Amani Hooker’s stock a boost partly because of one reason: he’s actually healthy. Of the six 2019 NFL Draft picks the Tennessee Titans made, only Hooker and linebacker David Long have remained healthy throughout camp.
However, that isn’t the only reason Hooker’s stock is going up. He also had a strong showing in the team’s first preseason game, earning himself a Pro Football Focus grade of 73.6, good enough for the third-best on the Titans defense.
Hooker finished tied for the team lead in tackles with in Preseason Week 1, and spent his time at safety, which is where he is currently listed on the team’s first unofficial depth chart.
Expect to see Hooker get some action at both safety and slot corner this season, as he earned the highest slot coverage grade in the FBS last season, per PFF.
While linebacker and UDFA Derick Roberson wasn’t anything particularly special in his Preseason debut, the Sam Houston State product did finish as the No. 4-graded defensive player for the Titans, per PFF. Roberson totaled one tackle in the contest.
Another reason to give his stock a boost is the fact that fifth-round pick, linebacker D’Andre Walker, is now out for the season after the Titans placed him on injured reserve on Saturday. Now Roberson becomes almost a lock to make the roster and he could get more snaps in a reserve role.
We love Roberson’s potential as a pass-rusher with his speed and bend, and he’s shown out in practice almost daily. A strong finish to the preseason could earn him more reps when either edge rushers Cameron Wake or Harold Landry need a breather.
The Titans sixth-round pick, linebacker David Long, made his preseason debut on Thursday as well. While he failed to make the top five in PFF grades for the Titans, he did look solid and stood out a bit on defense.
As Titans inside linebackers coach Tyrone McKenzie pointed out, Long Jr. is making progress and he’s pleased where the rookie is at, per ESPN’s Turron Davenport.
Of course, Long has a ton of talent in front of him at inside linebacker, but he’s just another impressive young piece of depth Tennessee will have this season.