Jim Wyatt, SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Five practices down, and plenty more to go for the Titans in training camp.
On Tuesday, players are getting a day off in the middle of the grind.
And I’m recognizing the five players who’ve stood out the most to me so far…
Cornerback Malcolm Butler
In my mind, Butler has been the star of camp so far. He’s been a tone-setter at the start of practices, hauling in interceptions and talking trash. Just minutes into the start of Day One, Butler outwrestled receiver Corey Davis for the football in a one-on-one drill, and punted it into the air. Moments earlier he was calling for Davis, and yelling out loud: “Let me show you how I earn my money!” Butler hasn’t been perfect – he’s given up some plays as well. But he has at least three picks so far in camp, and he’s making good on his own words: “A play a day keeps the coach away.”
Left tackle Taylor Lewan
With linebacker Brian Orakpo out, I’ve been watching a lot of rookie edge rusher Harold Landry early in camp – which means I’ve been watching a lot of Lewan. Landry has been lined up across from Lewan a bunch, and the veteran left tackle has been on his game early. Lewan has not only looked good, he’s also been vocal, and he’s been seen giving tips to Landry after plays. And heck, the guy killed the “Boss Hogg” act after getting his new contract, with his white suit, Dukes of Hazzard theme music, and cigar.
Running back Derrick Henry
Henry showed up to training camp a few pounds heavier — and that was by design. He added more muscle to his 6-foot-3 frame, which carries in the 250-pound range. Henry has looked good running the football. He’s been quick to hit the hole. He’s also caught the ball well. On one swing pass a few days ago, he caught a low pass with his fingertips just inches from the ground.
Defensive lineman Jurrell Casey
The defensive line has provided plenty of push in practices, and every play it seems like Casey is busting into the backfield. A three-time Pro Bowler, Casey has been active and very disruptive in run defense and also getting after the quarterback. He looks sturdier than he did after he shed some weight heading into last season, and it’s shown with his play on the field.
Receiver Taywan Taylor
Corey Davis has been good. Darius Jennings has been consistent. Tajae Sharpe looks stronger, and seems to be finding his groove. But second-year receiver Taywan Taylor has really emerged of late, catching passes in the middle of the field, and also deep downfield. He’s made tough catches in tight coverage, and also shown off his blazing speed. Heading into Year 2, it’s looking like he could be a big factor this fall.