Britt enhances odds of rookie success

Tennessee Titans Minicamphttp://cdn.pis.picapp.com/IamProd/PicAppPIS/JavaScript/PisV4.jsRookie wide receiver Kenny Britt has signed with the Tennessee Titans.

Britt, selected in the first round by the Titans, is expected to upgrade the receiving corp, generally regarded as the weakest part of the team.

Britt missed two days of camp. Is this a big deal?

I think so, and NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt agrees. Here’s a quote from Brandt in a recent SportingNews.com article:

“Any player who misses more than three days of camp is taking a serious risk. What rookies see at OTAs and minicamps doesn’t compare to what they see at training camp. Everything is accelerated 100 percent. Historically, rookie holdouts have a hard time playing well and they often suffer injuries after they show up.”

The article mentions Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell as one example of a highly-skilled player whose progress as a professional has been stunted in part by his long rookie-season holdout.

Some of you may remember Andre Ware. The Heisman-trophy winning quarterback was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1990. The Lions hoped he would be a significant upgrade over starter Rodney Peete. Ware missed a month of training camp before signing a contract.

Guess how many games Ware started in four seasons with the Lions?

Six.

Granted, Kenny Britt is not a quarterback. However, wide receiver has been one of the toughest positions for a rookie to make a significant impact.

Teams have been reluctant to draft receivers in the first round for good reason. I supported the Titans decision to draft a receiver this season. But Britt was not drafted to offer depth to an accomplished group of receivers.

The Titans need Britt to contribute in 2009, and it’s a good thing Kenny Britt will be on the practice field soon.

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