Sims working to win a starting cornerback job with Titans

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) LeShaun Sims never talks trash and is almost as quiet off the football field. The Tennessee Titans' fifth-round pick in 2016 out of Southern Utah is letting his play and work ethic speak for him.

And he is doing well enough he might wind up winning the starting cornerback job opposite veteran Logan Ryan ahead of first-round draft pick Adoree Jackson.

''He has come in here and impressed a lot of people with the way he does things, but he does not talk,'' Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. ''He's very quiet. He's very quiet. Don't let that speak for what kind of football player he is.''

The secondary is where the Titans renovated their roster the most this offseason, letting veteran Jason McCourty go in April . Perrish Cox didn't even finish out last season before being let go. The Titans signed Ryan to a three-year deal in March after he won a Super Bowl with New England and signed safety Johnathan Cyprien.

They also drafted Jackson with their second selection in the first round, using the 18th pick overall on the cornerback from Southern California.

But the 6-foot, 203-pound Sims, who has started the first two preseason games for the Titans (1-1), has taken advantage of having a season in coordinator Dick LeBeau's defense.

Sims played in 13 games last season and started the final two, and he also tied for second with two interceptions. No interception last season may have been bigger than his pick in the end zone in a 19-17 win Dec. 18 at Kansas City. He also won the team award for the Titans' best offseason performer among the defensive backs and perimeter players.

''Last year was kind of not really knowing, kind of wide-eyed,'' Sims said. ''I feel a little more calm this year.''

Based on draft pedigree, the assumption has been that Jackson would earn a starting role at some point as a rookie. Yet, Sims - who intercepted eight passes while at Southern Utah to become the 157th pick overall in 2016 - remains ahead of Jackson on the unofficial depth chart going into Sunday's game with Chicago (1-1).

Jackson had a nice open-field tackle in last week's 34-27 win over Carolina , and Mularkey said the 5-foot-11 rookie is still competing for a job. Ability and performance, not draft status, will decide who starts Sept. 10 against Oakland.

''There's no more when they're picked, it's about competing,'' Mularkey said.

Veteran Brice McCain is backing up Ryan and worked through the preseason as the Titans' extra defensive back in passing situations. Jackson, who ran the 100 meters in college, has the speed that could allow him to move inside when needed. The 2016 Jim Thorpe winner as the nation's top defensive back, Jackson had six interceptions at Southern Cal.

Jackson's biggest impact early likely will be on special teams where he had a punt return for a touchdown wiped out last weekend by a penalty. The rookie credits teammates with helping him learn as quick as possible.

''I'm just sucking everything in, and the guy are doing a great job helping me build and get better,'' Jackson said.

Notes: WR Eric Decker (ankle) did not practice Thursday and is likely to miss a second straight game Sunday. ... S Da'Norris Searcy did not practice due to personal reasons.


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