Brown Redefines What's Possible for Titans Rookie Receivers

David Boclair

With one catch, A.J. Brown raised two standards for Tennessee Titans rookie wide receivers.

The second-round pick out of Ole Miss became the most productive first-year receiver of the Titans era (1999-present) in terms of yards and touchdowns when he went 91 yards for a score in the second quarter Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

With that one play, he blew past Kenny Britt, who had 701 receiving yards in his rookie season, and broke a tie with Kendall Wright, Dorial Green-Beckham, Justin Hunter and Tyrone Calico, all of who had four touchdown catches in their first NFL campaigns. It was a play-action pass on first down, and Brown caught the ball right at midfield, broke one tackle, outran another defender to the end zone and gave the Titans their first lead en route to a 42-21 victory.

“It was a play we talked about this week and then made an adjustment late in the week,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said of what also was the longest completion of his career. “To go out and execute it and have A.J. not only catch it but to finish it off was huge.”

With three games still to play this season, Brown has 39 catches for 779 yards and six touchdowns after he caught five passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders. It was his third 100-yard receiving effort of the season and his second in the last three weeks.

“A.J. has shown time and time again that he’s dangerous with the ball in his hands,” Tannehill said. “He’s big, strong and physical. … He’s come up big for us several times this season and that doesn’t need to stop anytime soon. I love seeing it.”

A rundown of the top Tennessee Titans rookie wide receivers, based on receiving yards in their rookie seasons: 

Player
Drafted
Year
Yards
Receptions
TDs

A.J. Brown

Second round

2019

779

39

6

Kenny Britt

First round

2009

701

42

3

Kendall Wright

First round

2012

626

64

4

Dorial Green-Beckham

Second round

2015

549

32

4

Tajaé Sharpe

Fifth round

2016

522

41

2

Corey Davis

First round

2017

375

34

0

Brandon Jones

Third round

2005

299

23

2

Roydell Williams

Fourth round

2005

299

21

2

Courtney Roby

Third round

2005

289

21

1

By halftime, which ended in a 21-21 tie, Brown had four receptions for 141 yards and two touchdowns. He added one in the second half.

The long touchdown catch, though, was all he need to separate him from his current teammates on this day. It was all he needed to lead the team in receiving yards for the third straight game and the sixth time this season. Nine other Titans players caught at least one pass at Oakland but none finished with more than 47 receiving yards.

“He’s got great play strength,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “He plays strong through the catch. Ryan gave him a great ball he went up and got on the long one. … There’s going to be contested catches in this league. There’s tight coverage. So, we’ll just keep working.”

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