NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kevin Dodd’s held his current job for 458 days.

For some players in the NFL that’s a career. For a second-round pick who missed seven games as a rookie because of a stress fracture that required two surgeries, it’s not a lot.

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Really, I promise.

Impatient fans have backed off a bit as the Titans have gone three days into camp and Dodd is back on the field.

But the offseason was filled with unreasonable pronouncements – "Dodd’s a dud" – and demands – the Titans should be done with him.

He’s handled it with a great deal of grace. He appears to have the personality to endure it, unless he’s really good at putting up a front.

“It’s so easy for people to just write someone off,” he said. “High pick, not being able to do what you do from an injury. I’m excited to be out there. I’m just going to continue to get better every play and get back to it.

“I’m definitely not done. I’ve got a lot of work to do.”

 

To be fair to Dodd, Mike Mularkey’s message-sending helped set the public tone. The coach doesn’t tiptoe around stuff, and he indicated when Dodd went on IR on Dec. 6 it was more mental than physical.

Back during minicamp Dodd revealed to me there was a second surgery on the troublesome foot – which tells us it was, in fact, plenty physical.

The Titans said the first surgery, on May 26, 2016, was preventative. Doctors inserted a screw in his foot. He had surgery again in January and was out for the offseason, though coach Mike Mularkey fully expected Dodd to be ready to go as camp opened, and he was.

Outside linebacker depth is an issue for the Titans, especially if Dodd doesn’t pan out. The brought in veteran Erik Walden right before camp. He had 11 sacks a year ago in Indianapolis, but the Titans arch-rivals let him walk. Two seventh-round picks are also in the mix behind Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan Second year-man Aaron Wallace and rookie Josh Carraway.

“There are going to be naysayers, but you’ve got to ignore the noise, like coach Mularkey says,” Dodd said. “I try my best to ignore the noise. Just keep my head down and grind.”

Maybe Dodd is what defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau envisioned when he endorsed the pick with the 33rd pick, the first of the second round. Maybe he isn’t.

But the rush to hot-take judgment, the eagerness to pronounce him done, those are premature.

We don’t want to wait and see, which tends to put us at odds with team builders like Mularkey and John Robinson and a guy like Dodd, who would have given anything for his foot to have been whole for all 458 days.

Let’s be smart here, like we want the Titans to be smart.

Let’s watch a healthy Dodd work and adjust the timetable.

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