Last year the Tennessee Titans rookie pass catchers had a lot of buzz heading into training camp, but this year it has been radio silence.
While Treylon Burks was struggling with asthma, there was always optimism that once his cardio was in order he would be ready to make an impact. Despite Burks taking a minute to get his footing, Chig Okonkwo and Kyle Philips were consistently among the best performers in OTAs and minicamps.
This year, the rookies have barely been heard from. Now a part of that is due to how much the Tennessee Titans invested in them. Instead of a 1st round pick, a 4th-round pick, and a 5th-round pick, the Titans invested a 7th-round pick in Colton Dowell and signed Kearis Jackson, Jacob Copeland, Gavin Holmes, and Tre'Shaun Harrison as UDFAs.
With the exception of Dowell, the Tennessee Titans shouldn't have any reservations about moving on from any of these rookies if they don't feel like they are ready to make an impact.
After the 2023 NFL Supplemental Draft came and went today, there are two new options on the table for the Tennessee Titans.
Why these rookies could be fits with the Tennessee Titans
Of the two receivers, Malachi Wideman is the boom-or-bust prospect that could really turn out to be a starter on an NFL offense.
Deion Sanders was asked about Wideman's potential to play in the NFL and he said this,
"“Oh my God, Malachi, that kid probably should be in the darn NBA. Let’s just get this straight. And that’s what I told the gentleman who called me, one of the scouts, I said go watch his basketball tape from high school and then call me back. He said oh my God. I said yeah, that’s the type of athlete he is. But life has to match up to the smart, tough, fast, disciplined, it has to match up with who he’s trying to be.”"- Deion Sanders, Wideman's former HC
There is doubt that Wideman has freakish measurables and that his physical tools translate to the field. It is apparent from reading that article that the question with him is going to be his maturity and his ability to really buckle down and do what pros do.
Mike Vrabel doesn't have a tolerance for people who can't be professionals, but if Deion Sanders is going to be a built-in resource, Vrabel might be willing to take a swing on him now that it won't cost him a pick to do it. He wouldn't start for the Titans, but he might earn touches in the red zone and earn a chance at a starting spot after his first season.
While Wideman is the boom-or-bust candidate, Purdue's Milton Wright is the person with the best chance to stick on the roster as a special teams player with long-term upside as a utility player.
Neither player is small, but even though both players are around 190-200 lb., Wideman is stretch out over a 6'5 frame and Wright is a shade under 6'2. Wright's build is much more conducive to a 17-game season as a special teams contributor and his tape is better than his testing, which admittedly wasn't great.
The Tennessee Titans have given their current crop of young pass catchers a chance and if they aren't seeing anything positive out of that group then they need to make some calls and see if they see anything worth developing in these two rookie receivers.
It won't cost them anything and it won't have any impact on their ability to sign DeAndre Hopkins, but it would certainly help improve their WR depth and it would give Will Levis and Malik Willis more viable weapons to throw to in the preseason.