Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/Editor, TitansOnline.com
In time, the Titans hope linebackers Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry will be a disruptive duo on fields across the NFL, including Nissan Stadium. In the meantime, they want to establish themselves around fellow rookies, and veterans.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Playmakers, and tone-setters.
In time, the Titans hope linebackers Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry will be a disruptive duo on fields across the NFL, including Nissan Stadium. They’ll have to wait a few months for the chance to wreak havoc.
But already, the team’s first two picks from the 2018 NFL Draft class have a chance to do the latter, especially among the team’s rookies.
It started with rookie minicamp over the weekend.
“I think the tone that they can set is leadership right now,” Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said of Evans, and Landry. “I think for them to go out there and set a tone physically would not be what we are looking for. I think what we are looking for is that these guys come in and act like pros from the get-go, and they know what they are supposed to do, they communicate with the guys next to them and they finish and they compete and they set a great example for the guys on the field.
“And obviously when we get to July and August and training camp, we are going to expect them to play physical when we get the pads on.”
Evans, a first-round pick by the Titans out of the University of Alabama, was a playmaker in college. During his final collegiate season he racked up 54 tackles, six sacks and 13 tackles for a loss. He finished his collegiate career with 15 sacks.
Evans was also a team captain while leading the Crimson Tide to another national championship.
He’s a guy who likes to set a tone.
“For me, I think as soon as you get out there on the field, that is the No.1 thing — to get the juices flowing for everybody, so everyone knows how everybody needs to work,” Evans said. “For me, I just try to add as much energy as I can and try to be a guy that everybody can look to and know that he is going to be a guy that can finish.”
Evans also knows he has to know what he’s doing, so he can he back up what he’s preaching.
“It all falls upon me, how fast I develop an understanding of the defense will be upon me,” he said. “I feel like I am making strides. I know I am not the best linebacker that I can be right now, but I am definitely working toward that.”
Landry, the team’s second-round pick, was a team leader himself at Boston College, and a disruptive force.
Landry finished his college career with 26 sacks, including 16.5 in 2016.
Over the weekend, Evans and Landry stood out among the 47 players on the field, a group that included four draft picks, 22 undrafted free agents, and 21 players who were on the field taking part on a tryout basis.
But beginning this week, they’ll be surrounded by veterans in the offseason program, trying to establish themselves. They’ll be watching others as they adjust to the speed, and life in the NFL.
“We definitely want to be the guys that when we come out here, even when the veterans get here, guys can look at us and say, ‘They know what they are doing. They came prepared, they are handling themselves like pros,’” Landry said. “That’s what I want to be.”
Evans and Landry, along with draft picks Dane Cruikshankand quarterback Luke Falkwill forever be linked as members of the team’s 2018 NFL Draft class.
All of them said over the weekend they’re already creating a bond with the rest of the rookies.
The Titans are looking forward to seeing how it all develops.
Evans and Landry knew each other even before arriving in Nashville. Prior to the start of Saturday’s workout, they chatted on the field before the action got under way.
They plan to push each other along the way, while pushing those around them.
“I’m happy to be able to work with a guy like this,” Evans said of Landry. “He’s a guy who finishes and does all the right things. He’s a guy that makes me better.”