The Tennessee Titans concluded their preaseason last night in the way of a 19-15 win over the Chicago Bears. While the starters didn’t play at all and joked around on the sideline wearing baseball caps, the game gave us a great opportunity to check out some players who had a decent shot of making the Titans’ 53 man roster.
You have the small, explosive backs in Jeremy McNichols and Dayln Dawkins. Your young and improving wideouts in Kalif Raymond and Cody Hollister.
Even ex-3rd round pick Taywan Taylor was considered to be on the bubble, but it appears he barely squeaked on to the roster.
There are so many storylines regarding roster spots on this already stacked Titans roster. Including one that could leave some guys who deserved to make it, looking from the outside just because numbers are stacked against them.
But instead of leaving you to think about these yourself, I’ve done the job for you.
QB(2)- Marcus Mariota, Ryan Tannehill
The first 2 should come as no surprise. Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill have been pegged 1-2 on the depth chart even since Tannehill became a Titan in March. That however didn’t stop national media from creating drama and trying to make out a QB competition between the 2.
Local media squashed this, but the headlines still kept rolling out. Luckily, it was all put to an end officially when Jon Robinson confirmed last night, that Marcus Mariota IS the starter.
Logan Woodside has been great for the Titans all preseason, but it’s simply a game where other positions on the roster need more bodies. He will be a practice squad candidate, that is if he makes it through waivers.
RB/FB(3)- Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis, David Fluellen
Derrick Henry missed most of camp and all of the preseason due to a calf strain he suffered on the 1st day of camp. While he was flirting with playing the last couple of weeks, it didn’t add up to anything.
Dion Lewis has been taking the usual 1st team snaps in Henry’s absence. But he too hasn’t played much in the preseason. All in an effort to keep him fresh and ready to go for when the Titans open up their 2019 season in Cleveland.
Jeremy McNichols though, has been the talk of the running backs for the last couple of weeks. Due to his repeated success on the field, he’s been pegged as a potential stay on this Titans roster. But again, just with Woodside, he’s caught in a numbers game here.
He is a great candidate for the practice squad.
WR(6)- Corey Davis, AJ Brown, Adam Humphries, Tajae Sharpe, Taywan Taylor, Darius Jennings
The top 4 comprises of guys you expected to be on the roster by this time. Corey Davis and AJ Brown will line up on the outside primarily. Adam Humphries will be in the sot. Tajae Sharpe will line up on the outside primarily when he gets his snaps.
The other 2 were somewhat roster mysteries as camp got into it’s final gear. Taywan Taylor had an awful 1st preseason game against the Eagles. To make matters worse for him, training camp darling Kalif Raymond put on a show, making many question if Taylor’s roster spot was in jeopardy.
The Western Kentucky product did come back in practice and practiced really well, but still had a drop the next game against New England. He was expected to play last night, but didn’t play at all.
Which signaled his spot on the roster being secure.
Kalif Raymond and Cody Hollister were the big name wideouts grinding for a roster spot. Raymond has been in the better position than Hollister, but Hollister has made some great plays as well.
Both however don’t seem like guys who will make the roster at this point. Hollister could find his way on to the practice squad. But due to Raymond already being in the league for 3 seasons, he will be on the chopping block.
Raymond could be left on if the Titans go with 7 wideouts, but that is very unlikely.
TE(4)- Delanie Walker, Jonnue Smith, Anthony Firkser, MyCole Pruitt
No surprises with the first 3 guys in this projection. The real attention comes with the 4th spot, occupied by MyCole Pruitt. Pruitt’s roster spot was in question after Luke Stocker departed to the Atlanta Falcons. Stocker was the H-back for the Titans last season, lining up as a fullback and as an extra TE at times.
Pruitt isn’t as good of a blocker as Stocker, which signaled some sort of roster hope for 6th year man Ryan Hewitt.
Hewitt is a better blocker than Pruitt, which could’ve given Hewitt a roster spot, But that apparently won’t be happening.
OL(10)- Dennis Kelly, Roger Saffold, Corey Levin, Ben Jones, Jack Conklin, Nate Davis, Jamil Douglas, Kevin Pamphile, Aaron Stinnie, Austin Pasztor
Taylor Lewan will be left off this list due to his 4 game suspension.
The talk of this position group has been RG and how the competition has unfolded there. Kevin Pamphile, Nate Davis, Jamil Douglas, and even Aaron Stinnie have seen 1st team reps there. None however have taken the opportunity and made the best of it.
Corey Levin could be the opening day starter at center for the Titans. Bumping Ben Jones out to guard with Levin at center just might complete the Titans’ offensive line. This combination has been used before, so no unfamiliarity there.
That won’t be the case though as Mike Vrabel confirmed that Kevin Pamphile will be the starting RG.
Aaron Stinnie, Jamil Douglas, and Austin Pasztor make it due to the Titans needing a hefty supply of linemen. Just like how the Titans do with their TEs.
Also due to Lewan’s suspension, the Titans would be left with only 2 tackles on the roster without Pasztor.
DL(6)- Jurrell Casey, DaQuan Jones, Austin Johnson, Brent Urban, Isaiah Mack, Matt Dickerson
Jurell Casey slides in at 3 technique, 5 technique, wherever you can put him he’s going to play well. DaQuan Jones is moved to nose tackle to maximize his dominance as a run defender. Austin Johnson hasn’t been his best, but I believe the Titans will hold on to him for now.
Brent Urban, the newly signed interior defensive lineman, has had his own roster spot come into question, but he sneaks on due to depth reasons. Matt Dickerson was signed on as a rookie last season and played well when given the snaps. He’ll stick as a reserve lineman.
Rookie defensive tackle Isaiah Mack has been the feel good story so far. He came in as a UDFA and played lights out in camp and in the preseason. He didn’t play a single snap last night, which boded very well for his chances to stick on the Titans roster.
Jeffery Simmons, the other rookie defensive tackle, will start out on PUP and is expected to miss the 2019 season as he recovers from a torn ACL.
Mike Vrabel says that Simmons can’t be ruled out on making the 53 man roster though.
ILB(5)- Rashaan Evans, Jayon Brown, Wesley Woodyard, Daren Bates, David Long Jr.
Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown are penciled in as the 2 starting inside linebackers for the Titans. Evans, a 2018 1st round pick, didn’t have the best start of his rookie season, but finished the season very strong. Jayon Brown arguably was the Titans’ most improved player last year. That season has him starting at ILB for the Titans.
Wesley Woodyard is still a very serviceable inside linebacker, but he isn’t suited for pass coverage and will have a role of more of a run defender.
Daren Bates returns to be a linebacker getting snaps out of emergency, but will still play on special teams.
David Long, the 2019 6th round pick, has flashed a good bit in camp and in the preseason, He’s still small and needs to fill out a bit more, but he makes this roster.
OLB(5)- Harold Landry, Cameron Wake, Sharif Finch, Reggie Gilbert, Kamalei Correa
Harold Landry and Cameron Wake will get the majority of the snaps for the Titans at OLB. Don’t count out Sharif Finch getting a good bit of the snaps as well. The Titans like what they have in the ex-UDFA and hope to see him carry out success.
Reggie Gilbert was brought in via trade a couple days ago by the Titans. He will slide in at OLB 4 and will give much needed depth to this position group.
Kamalei Correa was on the bubble throughout camp, but UDFA Derick Roberson didn’t do enough to push him out of a roster spot.
CB(5)- Malcom Butler, Logan Ryan, Adoree Jackson, Tye Smith, LeShaun Sims
Malcom Buter, Logan Ryan, and Adoree Jackson are locked in as the top 3 CBs on this roster. Adoree Jackson is one to look out for though, as he needs to step up his play and be more consistent this season.
Tye Smith is back after missing all of last season because of a shoulder injury. LeShaun Sims is back at CB5 and will contribute on special teams.
S(4)- Kevin Byard, Kenny Vaccaro, Amani Hooker, Dane Cruikshank
Kevin Byard is still the most underrated player in the NFL today. Amassing a dozen interceptions over the last 2 seasons, plus big tackle numbers to prove he’s great in run support, Byard is still heavily disrespected around the league.
Kenny Vaccaro returns after capitalizing on his 1 year prove it deal with the Titans last season. Both of these guys’ play styles mirror very well off each other.
Amani Hooker was a 4th round draft choice out of Iowa, who’s played some decent football throughout camp and the preseason.
Dane Cruikshank returns as a special teams ace and maybe an extra safety in sub packages.
ST(3)- Ryan Succop, Brett Kern, Beau Brinkley
These 3 have been together for 5 years. Crazy huh?