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How Mike Mularkey made his first assessment of Vernon Davis

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey is big on watching people when they don’t think anyone is looking.

He takes signals about players from what they do between practice snaps or, in the case of the combine, how they prepare to run their 40-yard dash.

At Lucas Oil Stadium, and at the RCA Dome before that, college prospects have Steelers scout Mark Gorscak spell out how to run the 40.

“He's very detailed about how to get lined up so you don’t false start and waste everybody’s time,” Mularkey said. “One of the tight ends I was watching had earphones in, so I know there is no way he heard one thing that Marc Gorscak was saying. Of course when he got up there, he false started three times.

"I didn’t know what his name was at the time, I just knew he was tight end No. 5. I wrote down, ‘I do not want tight end No. 5.’ If this is what I’m going to deal with as a coach, this guy is going to be a problem during games on the sideline.

It ended up being Vernon Davis, the former 49er now with Broncos.

“Now Vernon’s turned out to be an unbelievable player, but it didn’t surprise me at the time some things happened, some of the sideline things that took place," Mularkey said. "But he has turned out to be a great player. I was wrong.

"More often I am right.”

Mularkey said he's also often right in forecasting Wonderlic scores.

The Titans coach doesn’t look at scores from the combine when they first become available. When he forms an opinion on a guy who’s a repeat mistake-maker on his college tape, he said invariably the test score is what he expects -- not very good.