With the 5th pick of the 2017 NFL draft, the Tennessee Titans selected an explosive and big-bodied wide receiver in Corey Davis. Everybody who followed the 2017 NFL draft and/or the 2016 NCAA football season knows his statistics, such as the FBS record 5,278 yards receiving and less-known 27 games with 100 yards or more. At this point in the off-season true fans have already looked at his highlights, such as the Odell-esque TD reception against Northern Illinois’ 6’1″ cornerback Damarius Brinson, Jr. I wanted to take a different approach when looking at how successful Davis could potentially be in his first season with the Titans.
One aspect of the Titans’ recent moves which have not been praised, or given much attention, are their moves in the coaching staff. One recent hiring, Frisman Jackson, is going to be directly responsible for the advancement and maturation of Corey Davis’ game as the Wide Receivers Coach. Coach Jackson may not have much of a pedigree in the NFL since this is his first season in the league as a coach (he briefly played in the league for the Browns as a WR from 2002-06), however a look at his influence back at Temple shows he may have a larger impact on the Titans’ 2017 top 5 selection than the regular fan is aware of, let’s take a look.
Going back to 2012 with Northern Illinois, it seems as though Coach Jackson has had a positive influence on receiving corps as well as individual receiver success. In 2011 (prior to Coach Jackson’s arrival), Nortern Illinois’ Martel Moore had 47 receptions for 752 yards and 7 TDs. After his arrival, Moore’s production dramatically increased to 75 receptions, 1083 yards and 13 TDs. Coach was then hired by NC State as the team was transitioning from having a stellar college QB Mike Glennon in 2012.
Unfortunately, NC State had issues at the QB position in 2013 which led to gaudy TD numbers at the WR position. In 2014, the NC State receivers bounced back (assisted with consistency at the QB position) increasing their TD total from 14 to 24, however they did decrease in total yards and receptions.
Following the 2014 season which saw Temple receivers amount to 214 receptions, 2408 yards, averaging 11.3 per reception and connecting for 13 TDs, Coach Jackson was hired and made an immediate impact. In 2015, Temple receivers had 250 receptions, 3038 yards, averaging 12.2 and finishing with 20 TDs. In 2016, Temple receivers increased their production once more with 3324 yards, an average of 14.3 and having 22 TDs with the total receptions decreasing to 232.
Now, WR production and the WR coach is not necessarily directly correlated since there are so many factors to consider (competition level and QB play being of high relevance here), but it can not be denied that Coach Jackson has had a positive impact on receivers in the NCAA wherever he has gone. His previous experience in the NFL only adds to his ability to relate to and help progress current NFL WRs and should quell any question as to whether he would be able to coach at the NFL level.
Another coach to keep in mind is the Offensive Coordinator, Terry Robiskie. Coach Robiskie was previously the WR coach for the Atlanta Falcons (2008-2015) and it goes without saying that the receivers in Atlanta have been ballin’ for awhile now. Atlanta has this receiver named JULIOOOO with measurables similar to Davis and a similar ability to go up and get those 50/50 balls.
With Delanie Walker still demanding attention on the interior of the field, Davis is going to have some room on the outside to show off some of his crazy cuts and quick 0-60 acceleration out of those cuts. If Rishard Matthews and/or Tajae Sharpe can consistently demand attention, Davis is going to receive 1-on-1 coverage and according to Matt Harmon’s “Reception Perception“, “Davis posted a 79.6 percent success rate when facing man coverage… That’s a score that falls in the 94th percentile among the prospects charted over the last two years, bested only by Sterling Shepard’s incredible 82.8 percent mark from the 2016 draft class.”
Corey Davis has the right mentorship around him to succeed and has most definitely been setup for success. I fully expect to see Mr. Davis in the end zone a bunch this year. Think of the first 4 weeks Davis starts the season as an appetizer of what’s to come, since the Titans’ schedule is gruesome. After they face the Texans on Oct 1 we should reach our main course, with Davis eating up defenses faster than Joey Chestnut.