Here are the seven things to keep an eye on ahead of the first practice:
The progress of Burks, the Titans’ first-round pick, is the biggest storyline entering training camp.
The former Arkansas star missed the last three open offseason practices and was limited early in the spring. He battled asthma issues and there was speculation he was out of shape.
Team observers will look for Burks to string together full practices. He faces pressure to replace star receiver A.J. Brown, who was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles during the draft after contract negotiations went awry.
Caleb Farley vs. Roger McCreary
The top roster battle to watch will be 2021 first-round pick Caleb Farley vs. second-round rookie Roger McCreary for the starting cornerback spot opposite Kristian Fulton.
Farley is the front runner, but he’s working his way back from a torn ACL, which held his rookie season to three games. He has a history of health issues, with two back surgeries and a torn ACL suffered at Virginia Tech. Farley hasn’t played a full season since 2018.
McCreary, lauded for his man coverage skills, is also expected to compete at nickelback.
The passing attack, which struggled last season (24th in the league last season), is tasked with replacing its best playmaker in Brown and two offensive-line starters to a unit that ranked 26th in pass protection and adjusted sack rate, according to Football Outsiders.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s new top receivers are Burks and veteran Robert Woods, acquired in a March trade with the Rams. But Tannehill’s top target could be free-agent acquisition Austin Hooper, who fits the mold of a No. 1 tight end Tennessee lacked last season. Of the three, Hooper has had the most reps with Tannehill to this point, with Burks and Woods limited during the offseason program.
2021 second-round pick Dillon Radunz, played sparingly as a rookie, is the frontrunner to be the new starting right tackle. The Titans praised Radunz’s growth in the spring, but padded practices and preseason action will show if he can be a viable starter in Year 2.
There’s also uncertainty at left guard. The expected frontrunners are free-agent acquisition Jamarco Jones and Aaron Brewer, that could change if Radunz is in the mix for the spot. The Titans have yet to commit to Radunz playing exclusively right tackle.
On the coaching side, the Titans added former Texans assistant Tim Kelly as a passing game coordinator. While specifics of his role aren't clear, coach Mike Vrabel has said he'll help play caller Todd Downing in a similar way senior defensive assistant Jim Schwartz served as a sounding board to defensive coordinator Shane Bowen last season.
Most intriguing position groups?
Wide receiver, cornerback and offensive line.
At receiver, not only are their questions about replacing Brown, but depth concerns. There’s a big drop off after the top three of Woods, Burks and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.
Cornerback is the most competitive spot on the roster, deep with young talent. The room has four players selected in the top three rounds of the draft: Farley (2021, first round), McCreary (2022, second round), Kristian Fulton (2020, second round) and Elijah Molden (2021, third round).
If Radunz doesn’t become a slam dunk at right tackle, the number of starting offensive-line combinations the Titans will have to try will increase.
The former Liberty star is not expected to see much action during the season, but his play in training camp and the preseason will go a long way to determining whether he could be the Titans’ long-term solution at quarterback. Tennessee could cut Tannehill after 2022 and save $17.8 million against the salary cap.
In the short term, Willis’ play the next several weeks may determine Logan Woodside’s fate. The Titans could keep just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster – Tannehill and Willis – if the rookie flashes enough promise to be the sole backup.
Simmons was present but did not practice during mandatory minicamp last month and was vague as to why. He wouldn't say if it was contract-related, but defensive line coach Terrell Williams also said he wasn’t hurt.
Simmons added that he plans to report and participate in training camp, but it’s unclear if he’ll do so without an extension. The Titans exercised the fifth-year option in his rookie contract – which will pay him $10.753 million fully guaranteed in 2023 – but his 2022 base salary is just $2.2 million, a massive bargain for one of the NFL’s best defensive tackles. Simmons hired an NFLPA-certified agent last month, an indication he's preparing for his big pay day.
If Simmons doesn’t have a new deal by Wednesday, will he hold out ?
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Tennessee Titans 2022 training camp: What to know before 1st practice