With preseason approaching and Tennessee Titans fans eager to see their team, it is important to remember that for the next two months the only real news will be how the rookies are learning and adapting to the NFL.
This is what I expect right now from Dorial Green-Beckham.
I think Dorial Green-Beckham has the chance to be the clear top receiver on this team, but with a year away from football it is hard for me to know how many snaps per game he is ready to play.
I think that the former Mizzou and Oklahoma player has everything it takes to devastate opposing cornerbacks with sheer size, speed and athletic ability. However he has more than that. He was good enough to rack up nearly 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns in his true freshman and sophomore year in college football. That isn't something that many players do, no matter how many stars you have on your scouting report.
Stats: 700 snaps, 60 receptions, 850 yards, 8 touchdowns
I think DGB is poised to become a favorite of Marcus Mariota's, in fact I think he will like Fowler the most in the flats, Delanie Walker on intermediate routes and DGB deep and on screens. Other people will get their share of touches, but those players stand out to me as the biggest mismatches against opposing defenses.
With that in mind, I think DGB starts out as a decoy early in his career forcing defenses to respect him and as he progresses I can see him being used on screen passes, posts, nine-routes, and everything else that he did well at the college level.
As for touchdowns, if you can tell me of a cornerback on the Titans schedule that can cover DGB in the redzone, be my guest. Vontae Davis of the Indianapolis Colts is a good player, but he is giving up five inches in height difference, and he struggled against taller guys last year.
Joe Haden is also good, but again that is a lot of height to give up. Really the only player I would be afraid of putting DGB against is Darrelle Revis, and that is because he has shown that he is the true best corner in the league.
His height in the redzone should be just devastating, and after six or so touchdowns, I imagine they may have to send extra help that way. If that is true, it might give Justin Hunter an opportunity to prove to fans that he can actually be a good redzone threat, but now I am digressing.
The point is, DGB has all the talent to be as good as the top receivers last year. If you look at it that way, this is a conservative estimate especially considering that outside of Eli Manning in New York, this should be a better situation than any of the top rookie WRs had last year.
Maybe this is a pipe dream and I am giving Marcus Mariota too much credit for not taking a snap yet in the NFL, but I look at this team and the upside of being in the second year of this offensive system (that has worked well elsewhere) and feel good about it. Not only that, but for once the Titans have some depth at receiver, running back, offensive line, and quarterback.
Top that off with adding one of the best defensive minds in NFL history to the team in Dick LeBeau, and I don't know why you wouldn't be more optimistic about the team this year than last year.