Tajae Sharpe has lined up with fellow receiver Rishard Matthews catching passes from Marcus Mariota. Sharpe had worked his way up through the team’s OTAs, and the only player drafted from UMass has stayed with the first-team the first two days of the Titans’ three-day minicamp.
Mularkey’s goal in playing Sharpe with the first-team offense isn’t providing extra incentive. That’s only the by-product.
“I think if you’re any kind of competitor, that would be a push, something to get me going,” Mularkey said. “But he’s just been the most consistent, and we’re letting guys that have been the most consistent get more reps.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey is trying anything and everything to improve his wide receivers’ performance in 2016. In May, he told them all how awful they were. Now he has relegated would be superstar Dorial Green-Beckham to the second-team offense in favor of fifth-round rookie Tajae Sharpe. It’s easy to dismiss this move as offseason shenanigans, but Sharpe deserves a closer look first.
Jon Moore noted in September that “[i]n terms of age-adjusted production, Tajae Sharpe has been about as elite as could be.” And Sharpe’s final collegiate season was true to form, as he gained 43 percent of UMass’s receiving yards. Indeed, Sharpe’s college production dwarfs Green-Beckham’s:
Of course, Green-Beckham physically dwarfs the slender Sharpe. But collegiate production is the best metric for predicting NFL success, and Sharpe’s production puts him in the “most likely to succeed” category. That’s why Rocksteady calls Sharpe the generic brand Tyler Boyd. And because he was a young senior — turning 21 in December — he crushed the Phenom Index.
Film analysts were less bullish on Sharpe. Matt Waldman is a fan, but he cautions that Sharpe is a “fine example of a technician whose upside might be limited by his physical skill” and suggests that Sharpe’s best fit is as the deep threat secondary option in a passing game. The Titans don’t have an obvious candidate to be Batman to Sharpe’s Robin. And if they did, it would be Green-Beckham. But maybe that guy for now is Delanie Walker, who was pretty effective as Marcus Mariota‘s top target in 2015 (courtesy of the AYA App):
Though I’ve already jettisoned Green-Beckham from my dynasty rosters, Sharpe had nothing to do with it. And I think Green-Beckham is far more likely to be the more valuable fantasy football player. But at their respective prices, I’m inclined to bet on the hyper-productive rookie than the hyper-athletic sophomore.