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Training camp opens this week: here is a look at cornerbacks —
In camp (10): Janoris Jenkins, Kristian Fulton, Caleb Farley, Elijah Molden, Breon Borders, Chris Jackson, Greg Mabin, Chris Jones, Quenton Meeks, Kevin Peterson.
Offseason developments: The Titans signed Jenkins, a 10th year pro who played most recently with the Saints, back in March. Then, in the NFL Draft, the Titans selected Farley in the first round before picking Molden in the third round. Borders was re-signed after being waived. Peterson, who took part in minicamp on a tryout basis, was added to the roster. Jones, most recently with the Vikings, was also signed this offseason, along with Meeks, who has played games for the Chargers and Jaguars. Mabin, a journeyman who spent time with the Titans in 2020, rejoined the team. There were also a lot of departures in this group. The Titans parted ways with veterans Malcolm Butler and Adoree’ Jackson, and the team also waived defensive backs Chris Milton and Kareem Orr. Jackson ended up signing with the Giants, and Butler landed with the Cardinals. Orr, meanwhile, signed with the Rams, and Milton signed with the Giants as well. Desmond King, added last season in a trade, also left in free agency, and he joined the Texans. Lastly, veteran cornerback Kevin Johnson retired after signing with the team back in March.
In the spotlight: Farley. The first-round pick from Virginia Tech was drafted to help change the look – and play – in the secondary, and there’s reason to be excited. This guy plays with swagger, and confidence. Farley is big and physical (6-2, 197), he has long arms, and he’s a hard worker. He’s only been with the team a short time, but he’s already put on muscle, and looks even more stout in his upper body. But Farley also hasn’t taken the field yet as he recovers from his second back surgery, so the countdown is on for his practice field debut. He’ll start camp on the team’s Non-Football Injury list. The Titans have been patient with Farley, and they won’t rush him back. I’m not expecting him to be on the field the first week of camp, but I do suspect we’ll see him at some point in August.
Battle to watch: Situational DBs. The Titans added Jenkins and Farley to play, and the plan is for them to be on the field. But the team needs others in the rotation, and the competition should be fierce. Fulton had a good offseason, and with a year under his belt he’s in a position to earn significant playing time, either inside or out. Molden has great instincts, and he’s smart. He knows how to communicate. Borders should enter camp with some confidence after performing well last season when called upon, and Mabin and Peterson are two veterans who know all about the rigors of camp. Don’t sleep on Jackson, a seventh-round pick out of Marshall in the 2020 draft. Jackson added size this offseason, and he showed quickness and instincts during what was an impressive offseason for him.
Keep an eye on: Jenkins. Nicknamed “Jackrabbit”, Jenkins has 26 interceptions in his nine NFL seasons with the Rams, Giants and Saints. He brings plenty of experience — Jenkins started 14 games in New Orleans last season, and he’s started a total of 128 games in the regular season and four more in the playoffs. Jenkins has played man-to-man and zone in his career, but he was signed by the Titans to play mostly man, and to be physical. While Jenkins didn’t take part in the teams OTAs, he attended minicamp, and he made a great impression. Jenkins is still getting down the terminology in a new defense, but he knows the routes and concepts. He also knows how to be aggressive, and set a tone. He should be fun to watch in camp, and this season.