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5 things to watch at Titans mandatory minicamp

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Tennessee Titans Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans are beginning their mandatory minicamp on Tuesday June 14. The three-day camp will run through Thursday June 16. The three-day event will mark the first time the entire team will take the practice field together ahead of the 2022 regular season, and will feature veterans, draft picks and free agent acquisitions.

Here are five storylines to follow over the next few days as the Titans build the foundation for the future prior to the start of Training Camp:

1) Ryan Tannehill’s road to redemption

Last season ended on a sour note for Titans starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill threw three interceptions in a divisional round home playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Tannehill has shouldered the blame for that performance throughout the offseason, and redemption has been a consistent theme while speaking with the media. The Titans drafted a new quarterback in Malik Willis, but the former Liberty standout isn’t expected to threaten Tannehill’s starting job in 2022. Tannehill will spend the three-day period further acclimating to a new-look band of offensive weapons that includes veteran tight end Austin Hooper, and rookie receivers Treylon Burks and Kyle Philips. 2022 qualifies as a huge season for Tannehill, and his efforts to re-establish himself as Tennessee’s long-term starter begins now.

2) Treylon Burks’ progression

First-round receiver Treylon Burks has experienced a difficult start to his professional career. Burks was unable to finish his first rookie minicamp practice. On the second day of Tennessee’s organized team activities (OTAs), Burks once again exited and returned to practice on multiple occasions. Titans receivers coach Rob Moore recently revealed that Burks suffers from asthma. The former Arkansas standout is preparing to partake in his first mandatory minicamp with the team after the Titans traded away superstar receiver A.J. Brown in exchange for the pick they ultimately selected Burks with. It’ll be worth paying close attention to Burks’ development as he spends more time around Tannehill and the veteran receivers.

3) Continued Defensive Dominance

Titans General Manager Jon Robinson spent last offseason revamping Tennessee’s defensive personnel following pathetic performances in 2021. It paid off. The Titans’ defense rebounded by ranking inside the top-10 of multiple regular-season categories, including rushing yards allowed per contest (84.6/game, second place), points allowed per game (20.8/game, sixth place), and sacks (43 quarterback takedowns, tied for ninth place). That sort of dominance is expected to continue in 2022 because the Titans return 10 of 11 starters. The lone replacement is occurring at the second boundary cornerback spot opposite Kristian Fulton following Jackrabbit Jenkins’ offseason release. A transitioning offense will be counting on strong defensive performances in 2022.

4) Defensive line depth

Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry are the two unquestioned starters on Tennessee’s defensive line (with Harold Landry and Bud Dupree dominating the flanks) but several other spots are up for grabs. Teair Tart and Naquan Jones are likely safe bets to make the final 53-man roster after both players flashed throughout 2021. Several intriguing and promising question marks lay behind them. A trio of undrafted free agents have a chance to impress defensive line coach Terrell Williams. Those players are Jayden Peevy, Sam Okuayinonu and Haskell Garrett. Third-year player Larrell Murchison is also in the mix, but must enjoy a productive summer if he wants to hold onto his spot. There’s a lot of young talent jockeying for position (and playing time) here.

5) Tight end room

The Titans have made sweeping changes at tight end this offseason. The aforementioned Hooper spearheads a new-look group that also features rookie tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo. The Titans allowed last year’s starter Anthony Firkser to walk in free agency. Firkser reunited with Arthur Smith in Atlanta. Fellow tight end MyCole Pruitt remains an unrestricted free agent, and isn’t expected to return to Tennessee in 2022. Geoff Swaim remains in place after re-signing with Tennessee via yet another one-year deal, but Swaim’s snaps may be at risk should Okonkwo acclimate to Tennessee’s football culture in an efficient manner. Former undrafted free agents Briley Moore and Tommy Hudson are also decent bets to make the final roster.