Mike Herndon: The Six Most Intriguing Players For The 2023 Titans Exiting OTAs

Mike Herndon: The Six Most Intriguing Players For The 2023 Titans Exiting OTAs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- I was tempted to write more about DeAndre Hopkins this week, but it feels like there is a pretty good chance that Hopkins will take his time with his decision at this point. So instead, I’m giving you the six most intriguing players whose success will most impact the trajectory of the 2023 Tennessee Titans.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) pulls in a touchdown catch during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Philadelphia, Pa. He was injured on the play. Nfl Tennessee Titans At Philadelphia Eagles
© George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

One note on my selection criteria: I’m not listing the most important Titans. That list would start with Ryan Tannehill, but we mostly know what Tannehill is at this point. He’s an above-average NFL starter with a penchant for shrinking in the postseason. If you surround him with good talent and play-calling, he can produce a top-five NFL offense. Surround him with bad protection, weapons, and coaching? He’s not going to save you.

This list is for players that still have a good bit of mystery surrounding what they are at the NFL level but will be asked to play key roles for the Titans this fall.

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Final Thoughts On Titans' Offseason Start With Will Levis And Malik Willis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A lot of the team’s most high-profile veterans, and some a notch below that, were already gone. But the Titans concluded their OTA practices and turned into their long summer vacation Wednesday, with two more weeks for the rookies remaining.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis (7) runs a drill during an OTA practice at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tenn., Wednesday, June 14, 2023.
Malik Willis/ © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Here’s my wrap with collective themes, thoughts and notes from the OTA and minicamp practices the media saw and the conversations we had.

Young quarterbacks: Will Levis had a bad period during which he threw two interceptions, one to

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Titans' Kristian Fulton Thinks He's Got Soft Tissue Issues Figured Out

Kristian FultonNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kristian Fulton stuck with his new trainers in Florida for the first week of OTAs before showing up, and was inside for everything after he arrived at Titans' headquarters.

He stretched on the field with the team Wednesday and that was the first time we saw him, and he spoke after the rest of the team was finished practicing saying he was not hurt, just that the decision was that he do his work inside.

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PK TV: Post Minicamp, All Your Titans' Questions

Paul KuharskyNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- DeAndre Hopkins had a nice lift to a quality box at CMA Fest Sunday night. Other details about his time in Nashville are harder to come by.

The courting of the best free agent on the market is a big development for the Titans, of course, especially given the way they've treated the wide receiver position.

He's the biggest story but not the only one as they are into the final week of OTAs. Wednesday's practice is open and that will be it for the offseason until July 27.

I tried to help you pass some time on Monday afternoon talking about your favorite team. Thanks to those who joined me on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, which is below. Please rewatch if you missed it.

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The Paul Kuharsky Podcast: A Whole Different Drill For The Titans

The Paul Kuharsky PodcastNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Treylon Burks is a totally different guy a year after the Titans drafted him in the first round. He was a confident and in-control receiver on the field at minicamp, and he spoke with the same confidence about his development and his game.

That's a big piece of the new episode of the podcast, which awaits you on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and iHeart, as well as YouTube, which is below.

Other subjects I dive into:

💥 Major defensive energy at minicamp
💥 Kevin Byard’s situation/explanation
💥 A major editing gaffe
💥 How the expectations regarding DeAndre Hopkins keep moving
💥 How Burks turned a new receiver drill inside-out

Jasper's is our sponsor, but the primary slot is open, we're growing fast and there is no better spot for you to connect with smart Titans fans.

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If you like what you hear or see here, you'd really love the rest of the site. Come join the fun.

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All Is Well Between Kevin Byard And The Titans, Or Is It?

Kevin ByardNASHVILLE, Tenn. – All is well between the Titans and Kevin Byard, per Byard after the conclusion of the team’s minicamp on Thursday afternoon.

That’s great news -- if we believe it -- as any bitter feelings from the star safety toward the team as a result of an early offseason request that he take a pay cut could have an ill effect on the Titans that extends beyond the player and his relationship with the franchise.

If we don’t believe it, it’s a good public relations job. 

Either way, I’m puzzled by why a veteran player who’s a quality communicator was so willing to let what he says was incorrect thinking have such life among his fans, fans of the team and beyond for so long.

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DeAndre Hopkins' Visit With Titans Exciting, But He'd Bring Much Risk If SIgned

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans have done good work to get DeAndre Hopkins to Nashville for his first free-agent visit. NFL Network reported it’ll be Sunday, Mike Vrabel stumblingly said it’ll be early next week/ late this week.

It’s a win for Tennessee to get easily the best receiver on the market here, but it’s way early for cartwheels and parades.

Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Kyler Murray (not pictured) as Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) defends during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
DeAndre Hopkins/ © Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

National reports say the market is clearly down for the three-time First-Team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler. He’d be the best receiver on the team if it signed him provided he was healthy, on the field and in synch with Ryan Tannehill.

But he’d hardly arrive danger free. [Unlocked]

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Mike Herndon: What To Expect From The Titans' Defense In 2023

Mike Herndon: What To Expect From The Titans' Defense In 2023

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

NASHVILLE. Tenn. -- It feels like we’ve spent 99.9 percent of the offseason discussing the Titans’ offense, and rightfully so.

After all, that’s the side of the ball that has seen its line completely overhauled, experienced near-constant debate about whether Ryan Tannehill and/or Derrick Henry should be traded, and had a young quarterback drafted for a second straight offseason. Not to mention a change in coordinator, large shake-up to the rest of the offensive staff, and the endless discussion about its lack of reinforcement at wide receiver.

There is a lot to talk about on offense.

Tennessee Titans linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair (2) runs during an OTA practice at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tenn., Wednesday, May 31, 2023.
Azeez Al-Shaair/ © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

By comparison, the Tennessee defense has had a rather boring offseason. The Titans extended Jeffery Simmons with very little drama and figure to have at least seven returning starters beginning the 2023 season in the same spot that they started the 2022 season.

That’s not to say that there have been no changes though.

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