Thursday was “get acquainted” day for the Tennessee Titans rookie class of 2009.
High draft picks and college free agents alike assembled together for the first time as Titans, getting fitted for equipment and to take physicals and fill out paperwork.
After that, it was time to begin meetings with the likes of strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson and head coach Jeff Fisher.
A few of the rookies got a little bit of a head start on the “get-to-know-you” tour.
South Carolina rookie tight end Jared Cook happened to be on the same in-bound flight to Nashville as fourth-round linebacker Gerald McRath of Southern Miss and fifth-round running back Javon Ringer of Michigan State.
“I met Javon and Gerald. We all came in on the same plane,” Cook said. “We talked before we got on the plane a little bit. I think we’re just ready to see what’s ahead of us. Hopefully, we can come in and make a definite impact here.”
The Titans are counting on that, especially Cook, whose size (6-5, 246) and raw physical skills are something Tennessee is hoping will translate into impact plays on the field.
For now, Cook is just like his new teammates that he will take the field with on Friday and Saturday — a wide-eyed rookie hoping to make the right first impression.
“It still hasn’t hit me yet,” said of the notion of being an NFL player. “I just want to prove myself as a player and show them what kind of character I have. I want to come out and practice hard, control the things I have control over and do the things I’m asked to do.”
The learning curve will be important for all the rookies, but especially the higher picks, as four of Tennessee’s first five picks in this draft class came out as juniors, with Cook being one, along with Kenny Britt, Sen’Derrick Marks and McRath.
“We’ll spend this time indoctrinating them into the offense, defense and special teams playbooks, and then send them home Saturday with a program to help their conditioning, because right now they’re far behind the veterans in terms of conditioning,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.