A.J. Brown played very well for the Tennessee Titans in his first two seasons, but he’s yet to get the chance to reach his full potential.
That’s an opportunity he should finally get in 2021.
With WR Corey Davis, WR Adam Humphries and TE Jonnu Smith no longer in the fold, the Titans are seemingly starving for quality receiving options.
The additions of WR Josh Reynolds in free agency and WR Dez Fitzpatrick in the 2021 NFL Draft should soften the blow of those losses to some extent, but it’s really going to be up to Brown to make up for the Titans’ losses in the passing game.
The Titans will almost be forced to drastically increase Brown’s workload in 2021, which should yield really good results for the team.
Highest yards per route ever recorded by a WR in their first two seasons:
🔹A.J. Brown – 2.66
🔹Antonio Brown – 2.65
🔹Odell Beckham Jr. – 2.57 pic.twitter.com/Tsqc6ArCFr
— PFF (@PFF) May 19, 2021
Brown’s been a quality player so far in his career, but his opportunities have been somewhat limited due to the talent around him in the passing game.
The Pro Bowler caught 122 passes for just over 2,100 combined yards during his first two seasons in the NFL. While those numbers are respectable, they aren’t superstar quality, and Brown can be a superstar-quality player.
However, it’s not Brown’s fault that his production over his first two seasons wasn’t eye-popping. The Titans’ offense had an abundance of weapons in the passing game, and QB Ryan Tannehill spread the ball around pretty evenly between Brown, Davis and Smith.
That will almost certainly change in 2021, as the losses of Davis and Smith will put Brown squarely in the drivers’ seat of the Titans’ passing game. Rather than simply being a cog in the system, Brown will have the passing game run through him in 2021.
Based on what Brown accomplished with limited opportunities in 2019 and 2020, it’s fair to expect that he’ll rise to the occasion and morph into a truly dominant No. 1 wide receiver.
The receivers who always enter the conversation when there’s a discussion of the NFL’s best—like Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins and Mike Evans—all have one thing in common aside from talent: they get plenty of targets.
With the workload of a top-tier receiver, Brown should become just that for the Titans. That would go a long way toward alleviating the offense’s major free agency losses.
Cover image: Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today