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Malik Willis

Malik Willis definitely has a rocket for an arm, Treylon Burks has little margin for error, and rookies will be rookies.

Those are just a few insights taken away from the Tennessee Titans rookie minicamp at Saint Thomas Sports Park over the weekend. In first looks of the Titans 2022 draft class and 17 undrafted free agents, Willis and Burks definitely commanded most of the attention, but a few other players had standout performances.

Here are a few observations from rookie minicamp:

Tannehill’s remarks about mentoring Malik Willis were not a big deal

It seems as if Tannehill can’t say or do anything these days without immediately being raked over the coals. When Tannehill nonchalantly told reporters it wasn’t his job to mentor rookie third-round pick Malik Willis a week ago, he indirectly started a media firestorm.

However, Willis himself, and Titans head coach Mike Vrabel both reiterated that neither of them took issue with Tannehill said, putting to bed something that probably shouldn’t have been such a big deal in the first place.

“It was never anything negative,” Willis said. “Ryan’s a good dude. Like I said, he had us over to the house, man. Everything’s cool.”

Added Vrabel: “I thought Ryan handled that very well. I know Ryan is a great teammate. Everybody here knows he’s a great teammate. [Mentoring] is not his job. His job is to prepare to help us win a bunch of games and be a great teammate and help out. And I know that he’s going to do that. So (his comments) were not any sort of issue for me."

While talented, Willis has a long way to go

He showed solid accuracy during 7-on-7 drills and displayed his strong arm that earned rave reviews from draft scouts. But he did struggle with a few exchanges under center and he overthrew his receiver a couple times as well. On Saturday, Willis was picked off by rookie sixth-round pick Theo Jackson who jumped a route and returned it for a pick-6.

Willis did show some nice touch on a few passes during the team drills, connecting with Burks, fifth-round picks Chig Okonkwo and Kyle Philips plus Mason Kinsey on a couple solid routes. He completed some nice deep passes with accuracy and also showed off his wheels a little, using his mobility on a few plays where he had to scramble.

“It got better in 7-on-7 and that’s all we’re looking for — making improvements and having a great attitude and being coachable and willing to learn,” Vrabel said. “…There’s going to be the quarterback-center exchange (problems), the calls in the huddle that get called backwards and get called the wrong. The right guard is going to go to the right when he’s supposed to go to the left and he’s going to run into the tackle and the play is not going to look very good. We’ve been through it, and I showed (Willis) examples of it last year. I said, ‘this is going to happen today. As much as we don’t want it to happen, it’s going to happen. We have to regroup.’ And I think he did that.”

Treylon Burks will be, and already is, under a microscope

Burks, who didn’t speak to the media Friday or Saturday, participated in a limited capacity on Friday after seemingly battling fatigue. He left drills twice — the first time he got some ice on the sidelines to lower his body temperature and the second time he went to the locker room and didn’t return, prompting plenty of overreaction among both fans and media.

“I listen to [trainer] Todd [Toriscelli], and we defer to Todd,” Vrabel said of Burks leaving practice twice. “So, we have to get these guys in here and teach them our program. … I think it’s hard to recreate with a trainer how we do things. We see that with guys that have come back and started with our offseason program and guys a few weeks in. It’s just different. I know they’re working, and they think that they are trying to get in shape, but that’s just not the case.”

On Saturday, Burks appeared to have a better go of it, hauling in a few receptions from Willis and looking less gassed. He did drop a ball directly in front of him while battling second-round pick Roger McCreary and made a few other mistakes expected of rookies.

Titans got tremendous value with Kyle Philips pick

Philips was definitely the standout player of the two-day minicamp. He showed great athleticism and agility, working in and out of his breaks quickly and making a couple of aww-inspiring catches. He had a solid day on Saturday as well and showed good promise as a shifty weapon for second-year offensive coordinator Todd Downing.

He caught everything thrown his way, but he relied a little too much on catching with his body. Titans team reporter Jim Wyatt wrote that Tennessee’s coaches were speaking to Philips on the sidelines about catching with his hands more. That could be the only downside he showed over the weekend.

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_