As the Titans head into free agency next week, they are counting on a big jump from a healthy Davis as a bonus addition. The 2017 fifth overall pick was expected to become the Titans' No. 1 receiver as a rookie, but he missed nearly the entire offseason and preseason due to injuries and finished the season with 34 catches for 375 yards.
"I had ups and downs this year," Davis said at the conclusion of the Titans' season. "Definitely looking forward to this [spring]. We're going to get a lot of work in. I am going to get better."
The Titans still have high hopes that Davis will become that No. 1 receiver who would be huge for quarterback Marcus Mariota. We saw Davis' potential multiple times last season, including in the Titans' season-ending divisional playoff loss to the Patriots, in which Davis caught his first two NFL touchdowns.
"Corey was kind of bit by the injury bug a little bit there and then kind of came on late and had some really good snaps for us," Titans general manager Jon Robinson said last week at the NFL combine. "There’s a lot that goes into the receiver position: alignments, assignments, execution, coverage reading and other stuff."
Receiver is typically one of the hardest positions to adjust from college football to the NFL. Davis will have a new coaching staff to learn from when he returns for offseason workouts on April 9.
Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur has spoken at length about making route combinations simpler for receivers, which should benefit Davis, and scheming to get them open. Another important relationship for Davis will be with new receivers coach Rob Moore.
"The key for Corey Davis is getting himself healthy so he can show the talent that he has. Once he gets that, everything else will take care of itself," said Moore, an 11-year NFL receiver who has coached the Raiders and Bills wideouts. "It comes down to discipline, focus and doing the little intangible things he’ll need to be the player he wants to be."
Davis, 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, pinpointed several areas he plans to work on this offseason, including route-running, getting out of his breaks, hands and speed. Getting a better chemistry with Mariota will be essential, too.
Mariota completed just 34 of 64 passes attempted toward Davis in the regular season, with no touchdowns, three interceptions and a 5.86 yards per attempt average. Mariota's 51.2 passer rating when throwing at Davis was the lowest among all Titans offensive players with at least five targets. His 53.1 completion percentage was second-lowest.
"It's about having a good route discipline," said Moore, who describes himself as a teacher, not a screamer. "When you look at Corey -- big guy with a lot of talent -- he has speed, size, all the measurables. It’s a matter of him getting his body right and performing on Sunday."
Titans players are extremely high on Davis and his long-term future. They took turns praising his work ethic and ceiling as the season ended, then left tackle Taylor Lewan selected Davis as his prediction for 2018 Titans breakout player.
Davis' 2018 offseason won't be filled with draft and contract off-the-field stresses combined with ankle and hamstring injuries adding to on-field stresses. It will be filled with a lot of time with Mariota and working on tuning his skills to the NFL game.