JC Latham [608x342]
JC Latham [608x342] (Credit: AP Photo/George Walker IV)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As a storm approached, general manager Ran Carthon and a few Tennessee Titans coaches happened to look out the window of the team facility to see first-round pick JC Latham out on the practice field. Latham was alone, hitting the sled.

Carthon had to go tell Latham he shouldn't be out there because of the incoming bad weather.

Latham's work ethic has helped him find success, including becoming the No. 7 overall pick in the draft. His source of motivation?

"Back in high school I watched a video on Kobe Bryant," Latham said. "He felt if he worked out twice a day, in a year's span he can get two years' worth of work in a one-year span. I just took that to heart. If I get my work on my own outside of practice, I'll get better twice as fast. That's something I've always adopted."

Latham has spent many hours alone on the field after Titans' practices during OTAs and minicamp. The post practice work often consisted of hitting the sled and practicing his pass sets.

He wanted take advantage of every opportunity to hone his technique.

"He's built differently from mental aspect from most first-rounders I've been around," offensive line coach Bill Callahan said. "He'll always do the extra. He's out here every day doing things to improve is craft. It's enjoyable as a coach. You yearn for players like that. He's obsessive about getting everything correct."

Latham immediately became the Titans starting left tackle after playing on the right side at Alabama. Despite being earmarked as the next in a long line of franchise greats on the left side -- Brad Hopkins, Michael Roos and Taylor Lewan -- Latham isn't above the rookie hazing requirements. He gladly carried the veteran linemen's helmets inside after practice and made donut runs before coming to the facility in the morning.

"As an individual, you love to prove yourself," Latham said. "Some people would expect guys in my position to be entitled, and I want to work against that narrative in every way. I want to show every day that I'm here to serve my guys no matter where I am or who I am."

None of that matters if Latham can't adequately protect the blind side for quarterback Will Levis. Overall, the process has gotten off to a good start.

Latham has taken the reps with the first team throughout OTAs and minicamp and has shown daily improvement.

"Everything I've seen so far has been really pretty dang good for a guy making that transition for the first time playing left side in a while," Titans coach Brian Callahan said. "A lot more will be revealed as we get going, but everything would indicate so far that he's up to the task. There's not anything that would have been alarming at this point that he couldn't make the transition."

There's only so much that can be accomplished when working without the pads and having contact periods. For Latham, now is the time to get his steps down and relearn everything he did in college on the opposite side. Latham said he's also getting to work on better hand usage and body posture.

An introduction to specialty blocking sleds, something developed by Callahan, became a way for Latham to work on his game daily. The sleds are known as "Climb Sleds" and are designed to better mimic the ways a defensive lineman reacts when getting blocked. They got their name because they only move when linemen properly use what's known as the "climb technique," which engages the pad with an uppercut strike and driving it back.

It's hard to imagine Latham, a 6-foot-6, 342-pound lineman, struggling to move any object out of his way. But when Latham first took the field, the 380-pound obstacles gave him trouble. The first couple of times resulted in a standstill. Then, Latham mastered the proper technique and consistently moved the sleds that Bill Callahan affectionately named "Olga" and "Bertha" from one point to the other.

Everything hasn't gone perfectly for Latham. He recalled a time when he overset to the outside and one of the edge defenders beat him by taking an inside angle. It was an early lesson on how defensive players will take  full advantage when bad technique is used on any given play.

"Making the transition from right to left," Latham said. "You're learning a whole different style of technique but from a legendary coach. It's just day by day, you take it with a grain of salt, how to get better in every aspect of the game."

There will be more to learn for Latham when the pads come on for training camp next month.