Marcus Mariota has a new, dynamic target.
And A.J. Brown gives Titans fans another reason to be optimistic about an offense that last season was among the worst in the league in passing. The Ole Miss product, whom the Titans drafted in the second round (51st overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft, joins a receiving corps that includes Corey Davis, Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor.
Here are five things to know about the Titans’ new wideout:
Prolific at Ole Miss
Titans general manager Jon Robinson continued his streak of drafting wide receivers with a proven track record.
Brown left Ole Miss as the program’s all-time leading wide receiver with 2,984 yards. As a junior this past season, he had 85 catches for 1,320 yards and six touchdowns.
Since Robinson took over as GM in 2016, he’s drafted four wide receivers – Davis, Taylor, Sharpe and Brown – and all four had at least two 1,000-yard seasons in college.
The Titans chose Brown over his teammate at Ole Miss, D.K. Metcalf, whom many analysts had ranked ahead of Brown but who had only 1,228 yards in his collegiate career.
Brown is versatile enough to play inside or outside, he said.
“Whatever Tennessee needs,” the wide receiver said on a conference call. “At Ole Miss, I was a slot guy when D.K. got hurt, so I could do both. I could play inside and outside; it really wasn’t a problem. I can run any route, so, I mean, it wasn’t a problem. Got to have the best people on the field any time. At the next level, I’m trying to be able to be versatile.”
The Titans think he can be.
“Really productive in a strong football conference,” Robinson said. “Has played a couple of different positions. Has played outside receiver, has played inside receiver. He’s got good size. He’s got strong hands, good route-running. And he’s got good play speed. Really felt like he fit what we were looking for in a player.”
And at 6-foot, 226 pounds, he gives the Titans another big-bodied option.
He trained with Jerry Rice
During his pre-draft training regimen, Brown was guided by a pretty good player to model himself after as a wide receiver.
He went through endurance training with Jerry Rice, going through the Hall of Fame wide receiver’s famous Hill workout.
“He was just telling me how he liked to play in the games,” Brown said. “His first quarter was his best. Running the hill and getting in shape, he’s still going like it’s the first quarter. You have to stay ready and train hard for those big moments.”