Will the Tennessee Titans have any rookie standouts this season?

Tennessee Titans Training Camp
Tennessee Titans Training Camp / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Over the past month, the Tennessee Titans have shown that they are committed to a postseason push in 2023, but it doesn't seem like they are set to get much immediate help from this rookie class.

By the time the pads came on in training camp last year, fans had already heard the buzz about rookies like Chig Okonkwo and Kyle Philips and were excited to see the two Day 3 sleepers get more action.

Also by this point, Treylon Burks had quickly quieted a lot of the criticsm about his condidtioning by stringing together some good practices as soon as camp started.

To be fair, guys like Roger McCreary and Nicholas Petit-Frere hadn't made their push to be starters yet and there could certainly be some guys in this rookie class step up as camp goes on. However, there just doesn't seem to be the same buzz about this class as there was in the last class.

How the Tennessee Titans rookies have fared so far

Peter Skoronski hasn't been mentioned by name, but the offensive line as a whole has been struggling to this point. So far the burnt of the blame for that has been placed on the offensive tackles who have been asked to deal with Arden Key, Harold Landry, and Rashad Weaver, so we will see if he earns some praise now that the pads are on.

After a subpar weekend by Malik Willis, Will Levis has started to close the QB2/QB3 gap. In redzone drills on Monday, Levis went 3 for 3 with all three passes going for touchdowns and he drew rave reviews for his ball placement 20+ yards down the field.

It is crucial for this class as a whole that Levis develops into a starting-caliber quarterback by next season, but no matter how well he does this is Ryan Tannehill's team in 2023.

Tyjae Spears sounded like a candidate to earn some buzz, but after a dropped toss on Saturday and a dropped wheel route earlier in camp, he hasn't hit the ground running like he could have. It does seem like the Titans are using him in a variety of roles, so this may be something that gets ironed out over time.

Josh Whyle practiced for the first time on Monday which was very important for him. Assuming that he was dealing with an unspecified injury, Whyle has to prove that he can stay healthy and he needs to quickly rebound from his absence or else he won't have a shot of challenging Treyvon Wesco for the TE2 spot.

Colton Dowell has also been very quiet throughout the offseason. Guys like Chris Moore and UDFA WR Tre'Shaun Harrison have gotten more praise than the seventh-round pick. It seems like he is getting most of his work with the second-team offense which is good, but it has been hit or miss in the two times where he has been mentioned by name.

Once was when he had a pass knocked away by safety Mike Brown which led linebacker Monty Rice to chirp at the rookie WR, and the other was when Malik Willis hit him on a deep pass for a long gain on Monday.

Jaelyn Duncan might actually be the surprise option here. After getting positive reviews all offseason from Mike Vrabel, he got first-team right tackle reps when Jamarco Jones was absent at practice. If this is a true position battle, Duncan and Jones seem to be the two candidates for the job vacancy on the offensive line.

This shouldn't be too surprising for Tennessee Titans fans. Immediately after the 2023 NFL Draft, it was clear that Ran Carthon and Mike Vrabel weren't trying to find potential starters, they were trying to strengthen depth and add the players that they had rated highest on their board.

Peter Skoronski was always going to start, but the other five rookie selections all looked like backups with the upside of maybe being role players as rookies. While fans are probably going to be disappointed by the contributions of this class, it shouldn't come as a shock.

Just to be clear, that doesn't mean that this class is bad. There is a good chance that Peter Skoronski, Will Levis, Tyjae Spears, Josh Whyle, and potentially Jaelyn Duncan are all starting in 2024.

In five years when we look back on the class, it could turn out like the Tennessee Titans NFL draft class from 2017 that had Corey Davis, Adoree Jackson, Jonnu Smith, Jayon Brown, and Corey Levin. That group produced 4-5 above-average starters that allowed the Titans to build a successful team around that group, but no Pro Bowl/All-Pro caliber players.