Ridgeland's Nicholas on the field with Titans' rookies - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ridgeland's Nicholas on the field with Titans' rookies

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TERRY McCORMICK
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Titans coach Mike Munchak plans to work more with the offensive line this season, and rookie Chance Warmack says he's happy to be learning his craft from a pair of Hall of Fame offensive linemen in Munchak and assistant coach Bruce Matthews.

Warmack won three national championships during his four seasons at Alabama and played well enough Tennessee made him the 10th overall selection in the draft last month. But he said Friday he realizes he has much to learn about being an NFL player and will be taught by two of the game's very best.

"Just picking their brains and asking them questions is helping to make me a better player," he said.

The rookies arrived Thursday night, and the Titans put them on the field Friday for the first time. The group of 22 is headlined by Warmack and second-round pick Justin Hunter, but also features former Ridgeland star Nigel Nicholas.

Nicholas went to Oklahoma State as a tight end but excelled on the defensive line the past two years. He signed an undrafted free agent deal two weeks ago with the team he grew up watching.

He joined the fellow rookies in their first practice indoors thanks to a steady rain.

"It's always great to get the guys in finally, after all that hard work and the draft then knowing that they're going to be here for the next six weeks," Munchak said. "Last night, I spent about 45 minutes with them. I had a nice talk with them about what we expect over this period of time. It's really like an orientation more than anything."

For players like Warmack and Hunter, they will be among the rookies expected to play right away for the Titans. Warmack already has the inside track to start at right guard.

Hunter, picked 34th after the Titans traded up in round two, also is expected to boost a wide receiver corps that features former first-rounders Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright as prominent weapons.

Coming off a 6-10 season with lots of roster changes, Munchak said he expects this year's draft class to contribute right away, especially those at the top.

"I show them the tape every year of some of the stuff that happened last year and tell them that there are a lot of guys that can help us win football games here. The last two years I've been here, rookies have stepped up. Our expectation is that they should come in and help this football team win," he said.

This weekend is mostly a time of learning for the rookies, and Hunter said he came away fairly confident after the first day of work on the practice field.

"I think it went pretty good. Learning the new offense went pretty good. I picked it up pretty easy. I was nervous, because I didn't know what to expect, but as the day went on, my nerves calmed down," he said. "There were a lot of meetings, definitely a lot more than in college. It's definitely a lot faster, and it's zero tolerance when you come here."

Even with his championship experience, Warmack made his share of mistakes too.

"That is the beauty of this game. You make mistakes and you come back and do better the next day. I'll put my head in the playbook tonight and get better," Warmack said.

The rookies will spend Saturday practicing and in meetings. They join the veterans in the offseason program beginning Monday.

Notes: Munchak said the Titans would be interested in bringing in veteran defensive end John Abraham if they can agree to a deal that makes sense both financially and on what role Abraham would play. ... Third-round pick Zaviar Gooden of Missouri was excused for the afternoon practice due to a family commitment. Undrafted free agent linebacker Tom Wort was let go after he failed his physical due to a hamstring injury.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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