NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans' top pick from last month's NFL draft was busy with meetings and out of sight from prying eyes as reporters got their glimpse of the team's latest crop of rookies.
A.J. Brown showed off his skills with a one-handed catch to make up for Jeffery Simmons' absence.
Brown turned toward the sideline Saturday and stretched out his right hand for the ball while managing to keep both feet in to complete the catch. Those hands and skills are why the Titans made Brown the No. 51 selection overall in the draft last month.
"I just try to catch everything, you know," Brown said. "If it's out of reach, I just stick a hand up Not Odell (Beckham Jr.) or nothing like that."
The Titans will need as much as possible from Brown and their four other draft picks working in rookie minicamp this weekend. Simmons, the 19th pick overall, is expected to be sidelined for much of this season after tearing his left ACL in February.
Simmons can be seen in photos the Titans shared on social media along with the rest of this year's draft class. However, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound defensive tackle from Mississippi State didn't make an appearance Saturday during the approximately 25 minutes reporters were allowed to watch.
"He can't do much on the field, but he's doing a lot of rehab and he's lifting and he's engaged in the meetings," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. "So when he's ready, we'll get him out there."
Having Simmons around also means head trainer Todd Toriscelli can work out a rehabilitation plan to help the lineman heal as quickly as possible.
While the defense must wait for the first-round pick, drafting Brown and signing Adam Humphries away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency is expected to pay immediate dividends for an offense that ranked 29th in the NFL with 185.9 passing yards per game last season. The Titans also tied for 28th with only 16 touchdown passes, and they were last in the NFL for touchdowns covering 10 or more yards in the air, with six.
Brown is the all-time leading receiver at Ole Miss with 2,984 yards, and he also had 19 touchdown catches and 12 games with at least 100 receiving yards. He studies Jerry Rice, also a Mississippi native, and even got the chance to connect with the Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver and run the infamous hill Rice used for conditioning during his NFL career.
Brown stayed after practice and worked on hand technique against defenders, too, in hopes of being as prepared as possible when the rookies start working with veterans including quarterback Marcus Mariota later this month.
"I'm just trying to come in and work as much as possible, learn as much as possible so he can feel comfortable throwing me the ball," Brown said. "He's a vet, he's done it. So try to get on his level. I'm trying to get in his pocket."
Linebacker D'Andre Walker, the Titans' fifth-round selection at No. 168 overall out of Georgia, got some personal one-on-one instruction from Vrabel. The coach wore a blocking pad on his chest and spent a few minutes discussing hand placement and where to strike when taking on a blocker.
Vrabel said Walker was able to stay focused, something he has noticed during meetings with position coaches. Walker acknowledged he isn't too familiar with Vrabel's background as a linebacker in the NFL, though he has heard from people around him.
"He was a great player," Walker said, "and eventually I hopefully become a great player as well."
Vrabel had a small cut on the right side of his nose after working with players, though he couldn't remember when it happened.
"That's the price of doing business," Vrabel said. "If I'm going to stick my nose in there, sometimes it gets busted up."