Titans coaching staff Ryan Tannehill impressed early on with a rookie tight end

Titans coaching staff Ryan Tannehill impressed early on with a rookie tight end

There are several questions surrounding the Tennessee Titans’ offense in 2022. Can 28-year-old Derrick Henry continue his dominance? Will Ryan Tannehill bounce back after his disappointing post-season performance? And of course, who will replace AJ Brown in the reception game? Tennessee added Robert Woods and Treylon Burks, but there’s another freshman who could play a major role in his first NFL season.

In the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Titans selected former Maryland tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo. “Chig” is a 6-foot-3, 238-pound gun that’s not your typical tight end. What he lacks in defense he makes up for as a playmaker. Okonkwo plays big as a tight end but has the YAC skills of a wide receiver. In fact, he ran the fastest 40-yard dash time of any tight end at the NFL combine at 4.52. He’s a player who can hurt linebackers on the flat, and even someone the terps like to use in the running game with reverses.

According to Jim Wyatt of the Titans official website, Okonkwo caught three touchdowns on the first day of Titans minicamp while working in the red zone. His performances certainly caught the eye of Tannehill.

“Chig has done a great job for us,” Tannehill said via the Titans’ official website. “He’s made some big strides this spring. I’m proud of how he came in, learned what to do and we will continue to push him. But just physically, to see his size, his strength and his speed, how he can play through contact, he definitely gives us another weapon.”

Okonkwo brings the versatility desired by creative offensive coordinators. He’s a player who can play the typical tight end, slot, or H-back/fullback type. Tennessee has also signed tight end Austin Hooper on a freelance basis, which could allow offensive coordinator Todd Downing to have a bit of fun with his other new tight end.

“We asked a lot of him,” Downing said of Okonkwo. “We threw a lot at him. I think he handled it well. I think he’s hungry and eager to please. There are obviously some new roles and some tasks that we’ve given him. These will always come with a bit of a learning curve. But I think he’s doing a good job with it.

Brown’s loss is a major blow to this offense, of course, but if Okonkwo can prove he’s a versatile piece who can keep defenses on their toes, the Titans could have a great opportunity to lead the AFC South for a third straight season to win.

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