Under-the-Radar Receiver Shows Up In Virtual Offseason

Coach Mike Vrabel points to Rashard Davis as a player to watch during the preseason.
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One of the more intriguing positions to watch when the Titans open training camp will be wide receiver.

The top three spots are set in stone, of course, as A.J. Brown returns after a tremendous rookie season, Corey Davis enters the fourth and final year of his rookie contract, and Adam Humphries begins his second season with the club.

But what about the positions behind those big three, especially now that Tajaé Sharpe has moved on to Minnesota?

The Titans got some production last season from Kalif Raymond, who caught nine passes for 170 yards and a touchdown during the regular season. There were also encouraging glimpses of Cody Hollister, who made a couple of receptions in five games. In addition, the Titans signed a handful of undrafted free-agent wide receivers.

But it was another name that came to the forefront this week, when Titans coach Mike Vrabel was asked about players who'd impressed him during the team's virtual offseason work.

“One name that’s probably not going to jump off of the depth chart (in terms of name recognition) is Rashard Davis,” Vrabel said. “A young receiver that we had last year that played some for us, made a couple big catches down the stretch. I think he’s really put a lot into it.”

The 5-9, 175-pound Davis has only one career catch – it came last year with the Titans – but he does have some experience on the résumé, having spent time with Philadelphia, Oakland and Kansas City before Tennessee signed him to the practice squad last November.

Davis also has some impressive punt-return numbers in his background, which could serve him well considering the Titans don't have a clearly defined punt returner at this point. During his senior season of 2016 at James Madison University, Davis brought back 15 punts for 426 yards – a ridiculous average of 28.4 yards per return – and added four touchdowns. Each of the four touchdown returns went for at least 72 yards, helping Davis earn FCS All-America honors.

A total of five players returned punts for the Titans in 2019. Humphries led the way with 12, followed by Raymond (four), Adoreé Jackson (three), Davis (two) and LeShaun Sims (one). The Titans averaged 7.7 yards per punt return last year, tied for 12th-best in the NFL.