The Tennesee Titans made waves last weekend when they selected rookie quarterback malik willis out of Liberty University in the 2022 NFL Draft. Willis, who to many was the top quarterback in this year’s class, is added to a Titans roster that already has (or had) a starting quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, who didn’t mince words when asked about the addition of Willis to the roster and his role in mentoring the rookie.
"I don't think it's my job to mentor him."
Ryan Tannehill on mentoring Malik Willis 😳 @brgridiron
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 3, 2022
While many took his words as detrimental, one former teammate of Tannehill’s was quick to come to his support after the comments made on Tuesday.
It’s a highly competitive league folks. I’m sure lil homie know that and if he didn’t then he doesn’t belong. Ryan one of the best teammates I’ve been around at any level and he didn’t “mentor” me but I dam sure learned a lot from him.
— Jonnu Smith (@Easymoney_81) May 5, 2022
Jonnu Smith, who was a Titans tight end for the 2019 and 2020 seasons with Tannehill, took to Twitter in support of the 33-year-old veteran by commenting on the competitive nature of the league.
“It’s a competitve league folks. I’m sure lil homie know that and if he didn’t then he doesn’t belong. Ryan one of the best teammates I’ve been around at any level and he didn’t “mentor” me but I dam sure learned a lot from him” Smith said.
While drafting a quarterback in succession is nothing new in the NFL, more recently veterans are seemingly less willing to “mentor” their younger counterparts. Tom Brady caught similar criticism in 2016 when the New England Patriots had Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster, and more recently Aaron Rodgers with the Green Bay Packers adding Jordan Love.
Needless to say, the quarterback situation for the Titans will be one to watch in the coming weeks and months as rookie mini camps and OTAs are set to begin.