AFC South: Joel Filiani

On the radar: Marc Mariani

May, 27, 2010
5/27/10
1:01
PM ET
NFC On the Radar: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A player, coach or issue that should be on your radar as training camp approaches.

Marc Mariani comes into the league as a seventh-round draft pick from a less-than glamorous Montana program.

[+] EnlargeMar Mariani
AP Photo/Mark HumphreyMarc Mariani has looked impressive in early offseason workouts.
The Titans are locked in at the top of their receiver depth chart with Kenny Britt, Justin Gage and Nate Washington. Damian Williams, a third-round pick from USC, figured to rank fourth in line while working as the punt returner.

Lavelle Hawkins and Paul Williams could well have run out of time. If they figured to be battling for a potential fifth spot, their lives are now further complicated by Mariani.

Hawkins and Williams have had trust issues -- as in offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger can’t trust them always to do the right thing and be in the right place. Mariani seems to be a fast learner who’s already pretty comfortable, confident and smooth as a route runner and pass-catcher.

A guy that far down the depth chart at a position has to offer something on special teams. Hawkins and Williams don’t offer anything above average, while Mariani could be the guy to field kickoffs for a team that was disturbingly poor on kick and punt returns a year ago.

I think Mariani came in as a coaching staff favorite and already has confirmed to them that he deserves the rating. Still, any early enthusiasm over a middle- or late-round receiver has to be tempered in Tennessee by memories of names like Eddie Berlin, Jake Schifino, Darrell Hill, Jonathan Orr and Joel Filani.

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