Titans’ top draft pick gets personal time with coach Vrabel
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Titans rookie linebacker Rashaan Evans has gotten an up-close view of how Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel works on the practice field.
”It’s intense I would say that,” Evans said Saturday after a rookie minicamp session. ”But I think that’s the good part about playing linebacker for Vrabel. He’s very specific about things that he wants, and I feel that’s what makes great linebackers. And once again, I’m just honored to be able to be coached by him and looking forward to continue to be coached by him.”
The Titans brought their four-man draft class along with 22 undrafted rookies and 21 players here on a tryout basis to Nashville on Thursday for minicamp that wraps up Sunday. Only the four draft picks spoke to reporters Saturday.
Vrabel spent part of the individual period working with the linebackers, a position he played 14 years in the NFL before going into coaching. The first-year Titans coach has said he plans to spend time with linebackers, but he had a specific reason for being with the group. Vrabel wanted to show the linebackers a specific coverage being installed.
”But I try to get around to all the groups,” Vrabel said. ”I try to see what everybody’s doing, just like I try to get in the meeting rooms and see what’s going on and help coach this team and help our assistant coaches reach their guys.”
Evans is the Titans’ top draft pick this year at No. 22 overall out of Alabama , a player Tennessee traded up three spots to grab. The smallest draft class in franchise history also includes outside linebacker Harold Landry taken at No. 41 overall in the second round, fifth-round pick defensive back Dane Cruikshank and quarterback Luke Falk taken in the sixth round.
When the rookies arrived, the Titans handed them a playbook and an iPad with meetings Thursday night before hitting the field Friday. Vrabel wants to see which players can execute what they’ve learned without making the same mistake twice. For some rookies, the playbook is a lot to take in.
”The playbook is very big,” said Cruikshank who played at Arizona. ”That’s not a lie. The playbook is very big, so it’s been an adjustment. But I’m looking forward to it. I love football. This is what I do. This is my profession, and I’m putting everything into it.”
Falk is among the players being asked to do something very different from college at Washington State. The Titans are putting him under center taking snaps after playing predominantly shotgun at Washington State where the former walk-on set school and Pc-12 Conference career records including 14,486 yards passing and 119 touchdown passes.
Asked how many snaps he took under center in college, Falk said 35.
”It’s just a different system,” Falk said. ”I think with repetition and perfect repetition and keep pounding at it every day, eventually I’m going to get it.”
Landry, the Boston College linebacker who had been predicted to be drafted in the first round, said the small rookie class has bonded quickly. He’s looking forward to Monday when the rookies can start working with the veterans in the team’s offseason program.
”I’m here happy to get coached by Coach Vrabel, Coach (Shane) Bowen,” Landry said.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
When former Titans quarterback Vince Young announced Landry as Tennessee’s second round pick at the draft, Young misspoke and called him ”Honor” Landry. Asked about that again, Landry said he definitely received a bunch of texts calling him ”Honor.” ”I’m here, you know it all worked out, so it is what it is,” Landry said. ”It was a fun moment. But I’m here. It’s all good.”
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