Titans think Naquan Jones took “great strides” after being thrown in fire as a rookie

When defensive lineman Naquan Jones joined the Titans last season, there weren’t high hopes about the role he’d play on the team’s defense.

Jones went undrafted out of Michigan State and failed to make the 53-man roster out of training camp. Jones showed enough to land on the practice squad and he proved to have some staying power once he was called up to the active roster.

Jones played in 13 games and made five starts after being promoted. He had 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks, which left defensive coordinator Shane Bowen and the rest of the coaching staff impressed by the growth he showed over a short period of time.

“I think he has done a great job,” Bowen said, via the team’s website. “He took a lot of great strides last season. He got thrown into the fire there a little bit, but I thought he showed tremendous growth throughout the season last year and he is becoming more of a pro. He is maturing, and he is kind of figuring out what it takes to be a pro. There’s a little more seriousness to him right now. So I am excited about the direction he is on right now.”

Jones should have a role alongside Jeffery Simmons, Teair Tart, and Denico Autry out of the gate this season and similar strides in Year 2 could open the door to an even bigger role up front than he had as a rookie.