On paper, vets see the Titans' receivers among their best group yet in the NFL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — DeAndre Hopkins is a three-time All-Pro wide receiver who built a strong connection with a rookie quarterback last season.

Calvin Ridley turned his big season into a nice, new contract. And there's also Tyler Boyd, a proven slot threat who knows new Tennessee coach Brian Callahan' s offense from working together the past five seasons with Callahan offensive coordinator in Cincincinnati.

“This is one of the best wide receiving groups I've had a chance to play with on paper,” Hopkins said.

Ridley agrees: “We're going to be good.”

The Titans certainly have done everything possible to give Will Levis plenty of options in the passing game for his first season in Callahan's offense and second in the NFL.

Then there's Treylon Burks.

The 18th pick overall in 2022 who has all of one touchdown catch and is better known as the other half of Tennessee’s draft night trade sending A.J. Brown to Philadelphia. Burks also is the guy his fellow receivers see poised for a breakout season.

Ridley calls the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Burks a freak who is going to be a stud.

“What I see, he’s like Julio (Jones), A.J. Brown. He’s like T.O. (Terrell Owens)," Ridley said of Burks. "Dude that big, that fast, man? I mean, he’s a stud man. You don’t got to worry about him. He just got to learn to slow the game down. He’s going to be all right.”

On paper, this group has the potential to be the best and deepest batch of wide receivers this franchise has had since leaving Texas in 1997 for Tennessee. Hopkins, Ridley and Burks all are first-round draft picks.

Hopkins has seven 1,000-yard receiving seasons, including 2023 with his first TD catch coming once Levis took over as the starter. Ridley had his second last year with Jacksonville with 76 catches for 1,016 yards after sitting out a season suspended. He also has averaged 13.5 yards per catch in his career.

Boyd, the 55th pick overall in 2016, has 6,000 yards receiving in his eight seasons with 31 career TDs. Working from the slot much of his career, he averages 11.7 yards per catch.

“As long as we can all feed off each other and just complement each other, I think that’s what’s going to take us to that level, you know?” Boyd said. “Because we all know we all can play. You know, it’s just how do we complement each other?”

Burks sees the talent around him. Since arriving in Tennessee, he has dealt with asthma, concussions and a knee injury limiting him to 22 games. Burks has shown flashes of his athletic ability and has averaged 13.6 yards per catch. He said he's not stressed and sees the veterans pushing him to be his best.

“I’m real confident," Burks said. "I’m having fun, and healthy. And I know I can’t be more blessed.”

With the trio ahead of him, the Titans used Burks as a gunner running downfield on punt coverage Tuesday in the first of their three-day mandatory minicamp. Callahan said anyone not starting has to help elsewhere and credited Burks with having a “fantastic” attitude and approach to special teams.

Callahan says the veteran receivers have no problem talking with Levis about routes and adjustments. That will be key to helping Tennessee improve an offense that managed 180.4 yards passing and ranked 29th in the NFL last season.

"Those guys have great feel and understand football as good as anybody,” Callahan said. “And so, it falls less on Will to make corrections as those guys having conversations, which I think is a huge benefit for a young quarterback to have those guys.”

NOTES: Callahan got to tell the Titans about his father and offensive line assistant Bill sharing an award Tuesday from the Pro Football Writers of America for his lifetime achievement as an assistant coach. The only problem? His father didn’t hear him at first, busy breaking down a play with someone else. ... Callahan said all Titans are at this minicamp. That includes two-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, CB L’Jarius Sneed and rookie DL T’Vondre Sweat. Callahan said Sneed will be managed throughout camp and into the season. Sweat could be back next week as the Titans wrap up their offseason program. The Titans announced Tuesday they signed Sweat, making him the last of their seven draft picks under contract.