One of the reasons the Titans have been so bad over the last few seasons is because of their wide receivers. Over the last few years, the Titans have acquired receivers that were very raw, meaning that the player had a lot of potential and needed time, coaching, and experience to reach their peak potential. However, the problem with acquiring these players means that they usually won’t be star contributors their first few seasons. Along with Dorial Green-Beckham and Justin Hunter from part 1 of the series, Kendall Wright and Rishard Matthews fit this bill.
You can check out part one here.
The NFL’s Forgotten Six: The Tennessee Titans Wide Receivers, Part 2
Of the receivers currently on the Titans roster, Kendall Wright is most likely the most talented. Wright was selected in the first round of the 2012 Draft by the Titans. Wright is a prototypical slot receiver in today’s NFL. He has top tier speed, solid hands, and is a pretty good route runner.
The first three and a half years of his NFL career, he looked like he was something special. He had a solid rookie season and became a 1,000 yard receiver a year later. His third NFL season wasn’t to shabby either. Looking at these first three seasons, one would think that Wright had met and surpassed his potential.
Then the back half of the 2015 season hit. Wright battled a knee injury during the season and only appeared in ten games. The injury possibly ended one of Wright’s best seasons as a pro. This is where the problems have continued for Wright. He has had injury problems through this offseason, including his latest hamstring injury, which is worse than originally thought.
The bottom line is that Wright’s potential will not be met unless he can avoid injuries. This is the part of his game where he is raw. He needs to find a way to avoid injuries, whether it’s doing additional training, stretching, ice baths, etc. He can take a lesson or two from Marcus Mariota, who worked in the offseason to strengthen his knees to avoid knee injuries that cost him some of his rookie year. If Wright is able to find a way to stay on the field, he has a chance to be a Pro Bowl caliber receiver.
Rishard Matthews is one of the new members of the Titans receiving corps. The Titans signed him in free agency this last off-season. He was originally drafted in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins.
All along, scouts pretty much knew that Matthews was going to be a project. He was, and still is, strictly a possession receiver, meaning he can consistently catch the ball and get a modest chunk of yards every reception. He is not going to outrun anyone or be making huge one on one plays all the time.
In his early days as a Dolphin, they could sense that he could be a steal for them. He proved to be very reliable and made plays that were there for the taking. The Dolphins thought in a few years he could definitely reach his potential. Unfortunately, they thought wrong. Matthews was not the constant possession receiver they were looking for. He turned out to be only a number three receiver at best for the Dolphins, had off the field issues, and had an injury that stopped his progress. The Dolphins didn’t re-sign him after last season.
No doubt, the Titans took a chance on him this offseason. He has shown spurts of what he can be, but something has always held him up, whether it was injuries or lack of consistency. The Titans are looking pretty smart at the moment, considering he looks like he is one of their top two receivers. During camp, he has finally started to look like the possession receiver the Dolphins dreamed off.
Check out Part 3 of the Series on August 16th.