Kenny Britt was back home in Bayonne, N.J., on Monday afternoon, his introduction to Nashville, Tenn., and to the Tennessee Titans complete. It was hard to tell who impressed the other most — Britt or the Titans.
“Oh, yeah, it was definitely a good start,” said Britt about his two-day rookie camp last weekend where he flew high for passes and showed the Titans just what they grabbed with the 30th pick of the draft. “I’ve got to get used to the playbook and get to know my teammates, and I feel that will come. I met a lot of great people.”
And they, in turn, met a confident, talented, personable receiver.
Britt wore No. 88 at Rutgers. Not available at his new home, so, he settled for No. 18.
“The number doesn’t make the player — the player makes the number,” he said.
This is a player whose number the Titans plan on calling. A lot. He has already been described by Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher as “the player who has been missing in our passing game.”
That says a lot.
Consider that the Titans have only used a first-round pick on a receiver three times in franchise history. Consider that the last one was Kevin Dyson in 1998. Dyson would figure in two of the most significant plays in franchise history: He scored on the Music City Miracle lateral in that 2000 playoff victory over Buffalo, then soon afterward fell inches shy of scoring on a potential game-tying pass on the last play in Tennessee’s Super Bowl XXXIV loss to St. Louis.
Britt seems capable of making that kind of impact.
He seems destined to be a player that makes things happen for the Titans offense.
Maybe it is the size (6-foot-3, 218 pounds). Or the background (14 100-yard receiving games at Rutgers with what NFL scouts call so-so quarterbacks). Or his noticeable physical, competitive nature at the position.
An NFL personnel executive from an AFC team said about Britt: “You are talking about a lot of ability there, a lot of size, he runs well, quick off the ball, good upside. Physically impressive. We didn’t think his hands were so great.”
The Giants did not believe Britt was as good as North Carolina receiver Hakeem Nicks. That is why Nicks was drafted by the Giants one spot before the Titans took Britt.
“I thought about that,” Britt said. “It would have been something to keep the Jersey thing going. But I do believe things happen for a reason. I’ve got a great chance in Tennessee.”
He has a chance to help the Titans offense produce more passing yards and more points. Tennessee was a 13-3 team in 2008 that lost in the playoffs at home to Baltimore. The Titans averaged only 176.2 passing yards per game, which ranked 27th in the NFL last season. The Titans ranked 14th in scoring offense during the regular season. In the postseason, the Titans ranked 11th among the 12 teams, scoring just 10 points in that divisional playoff loss to the Ravens.
As good as their defense has long been, the Titans have made recent moves to become more athletic and explosive on offense. That is what selecting speed back Chris Johnson in the first round of last year’s draft was about. It is what snatching receiver Nate Washington from Pittsburgh this offseason was about. It is why they drafted one of the fastest and strongest tight ends in this draft, Jared Cook, who showed in drills over the weekend that he has even better hands than advertised.
And it is definitely what Britt’s addition is all about.
“He picked things up quickly,” Fisher said of Britt. “He showed he is an accomplished route runner. Very competitive. Happy to be there. He’s got the chance to play sooner rather than later. I know in our OTA today (Monday), our quarterbacks were showed a couple of catches that Kenny made in the rookie camp — needless to say, they were excited.
“We’re still going to hand the ball off. We’ve got a pretty special offensive line. But we’re always trying to improve our weapons. When it’s time to create some one-on-ones and pick up and go, we’re better equipped.”