Healthy Corey Davis leaving no doubt he's Titans' No. 1 receiver

Receiver Corey Davis has been a standout in practice and is learning multiple positions so the Titans can move him around the formation. "It's good, because defenses can't really pick up what we are doing," he said. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis entered this year's training camp with a variety of goals that he wrote down and attached to a mirror in his room.

The No. 1 goal is to stay healthy.

The No. 5 overall draft pick from 2017 finished his rookie season with 34 receptions for 375 yards and no touchdowns in the regular season after a sore hamstring kept him from getting on track.

"Davis is a freak of nature. He's like 6-foot-3; he can run all the routes. He has a big catch radius." Bucs WR Mike Evans on Titans second-year wideout Corey Davis

"He had some health issues in the past, but I think those are behind him," wide receivers coach Rob Moore said. "The young man is really talented. As long as he's out there on the field, he's going to get multiple opportunities to make plays."

Davis is determined to be the leader of Tennessee's wide receivers, and despite his struggles, he finished his rookie year on a positive note with five receptions for 63 yards and two touchdowns against the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Hoping to build on that finish, Davis spends time before practice working on his releases and immediately heads to the Jugs machine to catch extra balls after practice.

"You lead by example. I am eager to go out there and help out this team. It's time to get things going," Davis said. "I want to be the leader. I feel the need to step up as one for the receivers. That's the pressure I kind of take on and put on myself. I want to make sure I am on a certain level where I am in a position to lead them."

Davis' effort to lead has been evident since the start of training camp. He is the first one up as the receivers go through drills with their positional coach, and he has been a standout during practice.

Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur is moving Davis across the formation, having him work at the No. 2 or No. 3 position in some three-receiver sets in addition to playing on the outside. For now, Taywan Taylor is the No. 2 receiver and Nick Williams is No. 3, though Rishard Matthews -- who agreed to a one-year extension Wednesday -- is expected to work his way back into the rotation.

For Davis, learning all the positions will allow LaFleur to get him in more favorable matchups, such as going against another team's nickel cornerback. That type of scheming is done for many of the league's top receivers -- the ones who regularly face double-teams and exotic coverages.

Though Davis had a frustrating rookie season, the Titans view him as an elite talent, and they aren't alone.

One player who doesn't think it will take too long for Davis to get his first regular-season touchdown is Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl receiver Mike Evans.

"Davis is a freak of nature," Evans said after watching Davis during joint practices. "He's like 6-foot-3; he can run all the routes. He has a big catch radius."

Moving Davis around the formation is a sign of respect from LaFleur, and Davis understands the advantages of lining up in various spots.

"It's good, because defenses can't really pick up what we are doing," Davis said.

Davis is taking on the added assignments like a veteran. Head coach Mike Vrabel admires how Davis is digesting the playbook in addition to his leadership role in the wide receiver room.

"I think Corey [Davis] is trying to really focus hard on leading that group and helping our offense and be a productive player," Vrabel said. "He studies; he's always lined up correctly. It doesn't seem like Rob [Moore] or Matt [LaFleur] are correcting him about lining up correctly, so you know he's studying. I think he continues to develop and progress. His confidence is only going to increase."

Davis and quarterback Marcus Mariota didn't get to work together as much as they hoped last season, but Davis' ability to get open has made it easy for Mariota to feed him the ball. Their timing is improving and they have connected frequently during practice -- especially on play-action passes.

"Corey does a great job of finding open windows. I think it's progressing," Mariota said. "That's why you do camp -- you are out here to build that chemistry for the season."

Mariota is able to throw the ball to a particular spot before Davis makes his break because he trusts him to be where he's supposed to be. If they continue to get their timing down, this season could be a big one for the young duo.