The Tennessee Titans had an interesting 2021 NFL Draft to say the least. Jon Robinson selected cornerback Caleb Farley with his first-round pick -- who has injury issues and is already missing on-field work at rookie minicamp -- then passed on the opportunity to take some of the top wide receivers in the class and drafted Rashad Weaver -- who is already dealing with some off-field issues. One of the most interesting picks the Titans made last month, however, was wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, as he may be facing the most pressure in Year 1.
The Louisville product has good size at 6-foot-2, 208 pounds and caught 43 passes for 833 yards and three touchdowns last season. Fitzpatrick averaged 19.4 yards per catch in 2020, and also has the ability to make adjustments when the ball is in the air. Additionally, he led all Senior Bowl players in receiving with six catches for 90 yards. Fitzpatrick is a prospect with potential, but how and where the Titans selected him was maybe not ideal.
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Tennessee waited until its fifth pick to take a wide receiver, which was a serious area of need, and then potentially reached in taking Fitzpatrick at No. 109 overall. CBS Sports NFL Draft Writer Ryan Wilson had the Titans selecting Fitzpatrick nearly 100 picks later in the sixth round in his seven-round mock draft, and Tennessee gave up a fifth-round pick and a seventh-round pick to move up to select him. Fitzpatrick understands the kind of pressure that has been put on him, but he's ready to surpass expectations.
"I told the GM and the head coach on the phone when they drafted me: I am going to live up to all the expectations that they think I can do," Fitzpatrick said, via the Titans official website. "I am going to work my tail off to prove everybody right, and prove the Titans right and everybody else wrong of why they drafted me."
This offseason was not kind to the Titans' offense, as Mike Vrabel lost both wide receiver Corey Davis and tight end Jonnu Smith in free agency. Tennessee did sign Josh Reynolds, but the role of No. 2 wide receiver opposite of A.J. Brown is wide open. In fact, every wide receiver spot under Brown is open, as the Titans have a bunch of young players fighting for snaps.
Fitzpatrick is one of those candidates that appears to have the best chance to see the field early, and he will attempt to pick up the slack for an offense looking to make a Super Bowl run this year.
"The only thing I am worried about (now) is learning my playbook, and earning the respect of my teammates and my coaches," said Fitzpatrick. "As long as I do those things, everything else will take care of itself. I am just trying to learn how to be a Titan, learn my playbook, and everything else will fall into place."