By Kyle Payne
NASHVILLE, TN, May 1, 2004 -- Titans top draft pick Ben Troupe hopes to join a new generation of tight ends in the NFL.
No longer is the position considered that of a glorified offensive lineman like it was 15 years ago. Players such as Denver’s Shannon Sharpe, Kansas City’s Tony Gonzalez, and Troupe’s predecessor, Frank Wycheck, changed the way the position was played. They were recently followed by Baltimore’s Todd Heap, and New York’s Jeremy Shockey, among others.
Troupe feels he can fit that mold.
“I want to be that guy that you have to ask yourself, ‘is that #86 just a tight end?’ I hope to be a player who can go above and beyond what I am asked to do,” the rookie from the University of Florida said following Saturday’s rookie camp at Baptist Sports Park.
With the retirement of Frank Wycheck, Troupe will be counted on immediately, along with returning tight ends Erron Kinney and Shad Meier.
“We brought him in here to fill a depth need,” head coach Jeff Fisher said. “He can get open and outrun people, so I think that’s where he’ll be most effective.”
Troupe’s ability to run with the ball after the catch, like he showed last season with the Florida Gators, coupled with his 6-foot-4, 262-pound frame, could make his transition into the NFL easier. But becoming close with his new Titans playbook will play a large factor in his progression during his rookie season.
“We will have to see how fast he can learn,” offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger said. “He’s big, fast and has pretty good hands, so we will just have to see what he can handle.”
Troupe sprints downfield on a pass pattern during Friday's rookie minicamp at Baptist Sports Park.
Troupe’s attributes will allow him to not only line up in the traditional tight end position alongside the offensive line, but also in the backfield and split outside like a wide receiver.
“I hope to be a player who can create a lot of mismatches,” Troupe said. “I want to make the defense switch up personnel and not really be just that guy with his hand on the ground.”
Heimerdinger cautions against becoming too excited with any rookies, but he knows that the Titans’ top pick can add a wrinkle to his offense.
“We will experiment with him,” Heimerdinger said. “We will have to see how disciplined he is in running routes. But if you make plays and do it right, we will find a way to get you the ball.”
Getting the ball is what’s on Troupe’s mind, and after that happens he is confident that he will make his mark on the league.
“I think I am going to show teammates, coaches and the rest of the NFL that I am a player to be reckoned with,” he said.
What Play Maker thinks is that the Titans found a perfect te to replace Wycheck as he was our 3rd all time in receving yrds all time, and I believe Troupe fits in the Mold with Heap,Shocky,Winslow, & Gonzo.