Each season it seems like Tennessee Titans fans have to beg the national media to actually watch their games and recognize the unheralded talent on the field.
Heading into 2019 it was Derrick Henry, then it was Jeffery Simmons in 2020, and after that, it was Harold Landry in 2021.
This year, the man on the rise is second-year tight end Chig Okonkwo who looked like one of the most explosive tight ends in the NFL in an offense that refused to use him for the first half of the season.
By the time Okonkwo was actually getting the playing time he deserved, the Tennessee Titans were in the middle of their downward spiral and more people were more interested in talking about Derrick Henry's fumbling problems and the catastrophic injuries.
The good news is, the fantasy football and analytics community has started to catch on, and if he can thrive this season he is going to be a much more popular name by the end of 2023.
With camp behind him and a big season ahead, Tennessee Titans fans will be ecstatic to learn that Okonkwo isn't just sitting back and resting on his budding reputation. Instead, he is sharpening his skillset at Tight End University.
Chig Okonkwo is repping the Tennessee Titans again
The Tennessee Titans posted on their social media accounts that Okonkwo was at the annual tight end summit.
Considering that he went last year with then-teammate Austin Hooper, it makes sense that he would return after his explosive rookie season. It also helps that the event takes place in Nashville thanks to George Kittle who is one of the founders.
It has been interesting to watch the evolution of events like this because it all seemed to start when a group of elite pass rushers decided to hold a summit in the offseason and share their tips and tricks.
Not long after, offensive linemen retaliated by holding a similar event with high-quality linemen and offensive line coaches and specialists from around the country coming in and discussing techniques and what worked for them against specific pass rushers.
Tight ends have always been a blend of offensive linemen and wide receivers, so it makes sense that their inner offensive linemen would lead them to do something similar (especially since they have to block the pass rushers that started this whole chain of events).
Given Mike Vrabel's nature, I can guarantee that Okonkwo is getting a daily speech about run blocking and the importance of the running game. Having a group of tight ends like Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski explaining some nuances of how to get open in the passing game is probably something that he won't get as much of during the regular season.
If nothing else, this is just another reason for Okonkwo to stay in great shape and to be ready for football when it is back in about four weeks. Some people say that this is the most important time of year for players, including the Tennessee Titans head coach. If that is true, then Okonkwo is passing that test with flying colors and that should continue to excite Titans fans.