Written by: Joseph Yun
As the NFL offseason slowly meanders to a close and makes way for training camps, it’s time to take a look at what could be the Tennessee Titans final 53 man roster and 12 man practice squad. Who are the locks to make the team? Which undervalued and unheralded players can make some noise during the dog days of summer to surprisingly make the roster? Keep in mind that this exercise is sans Jadaveon Clowney as his free agency is yet to play out to conclusion (The Titans have been a rumored destination).
- Not much surprise here as Tannehill locked in a big-money extension after leading the Titans to an AFC Championship appearance last season. The interesting battle will be for the backup spot as Logan Woodside enters as the favorite due to experience and COVID19 related issues shuttering team facilities hampering McDonald. Cole McDonald will attempt to push him but he ultimately settles as the third quarterback until he learns the system. The team has kept only two quarterbacks in the past but will keep three in 2020.
Running Back (4)
- With the first two spots accounted for with a franchise-tagged Derrick Henry and third-round rookie Darrynton Evans, the spot to watch for is the third back. It will be a close one but I’m projecting Dawkins as the winner due to system familiarity and more potential than free-agent signee Senorise Perry, Shaun Wilson, and UDFA signee Cameron Scarlett. Khari Blasingame makes the roster after a successful 2019 campaign as the nominal “fullback”.
Wide Receiver (6)
- Six receivers? We all know about the triumvirate that tops the depth chart so the back end will be a contest that will loom large. One could argue that Raymond is the leading candidate to lock down WR4 duties because of his familiarity with QB1 and his athleticism. I chose Raymond over Cameron Batson because both have similar measurements and skillsets but Batson was injured last season. The fifth and sixth spots won’t be anything to write home about as several receivers will battle it out. Kyle Williams and UDFA signing Mason Kinsey make it in over the likes of Nick Westbrook and Kristian Wilkerson. I wouldn’t be surprised if a low cost highly regarded veteran came in during camp to compete for a spot.
Tight End (3)
- Smith inherits the throne after the release of beloved veteran Delanie Walker. Smith broke out last season and is cemented at TE1. Both Pruitt and Firkser return to assume their backup duties and to spell Smith on occasion. The rationale behind only three tight ends: Blasingame is needed for the run game and he could technically play TE if needed.
Offensive Tackle (5)
- Not much else here to talk about except for the right tackle competition between first-round selection Wilson and incumbent Kelly (who got the job after Jack Conklin left in free agency). Ideally, Wilson wins the job out of camp and Kelly reverts back to his swing tackle role but with COVID19 inducing a shutdown of team facilities, it likely won’t happen. What will be interesting is the swing tackle role between Sambrailo and David Quessenberry. Sambrailo makes the team as a guy who can help shore up the lack of depth at guard along with his tackle duties.
- Having only three true guards is a little on the light side but room for tackles had to be made. Gennesy is an intriguing player that impressed a lot of people in his short stint with the XFL’s Houston Renegades. Saffold and Davis aren’t going anywhere.
- Ben Jones signed an extension this offseason to extend his stay as the anchor of the line. The team seems to be very in love with Jamil Douglas’ versatility to play both guard and center so he lands as the backup center.
Defensive End (3)
- Simmons will be relied upon heavily with perennial All-Pro candidate Jurrell Casey gone to Denver. He had a good rookie season despite tearing his ACL during the draft process. The depth at defensive end isn’t great so I expect the team to look at some cheap free agents to bolster it. Crawford is a depth piece and gives the starters a blow when they need it. Bledsoe is a younger guy that came on in what little reps he had.
Defensive Tackle / Nose Tackle (3)
- Jones is reliable if not really solid piece at the defensive tackle position. He really has developed into an asset the past couple of seasons. Murchinson comes in with a bit of fanfare as a fifth-round rookie. Mack was yet another UDFA gem that Jon Robinson found in his limited playing time. The back end of the depth chart will be a fierce competition with Joey Ivie IV and Kobe Smith looking to make runs at a roster spot.
Outside Linebacker (5)
- Landry, Correa, and Beasley are the three locks to make the roster whether its production (Landry and Correa) or contract (Beasley). Walker is likely to make it based on his pre-injury hype and potential. Roberson won out over UDFA rookie Khaylan Kearse-Thomas because of system familiarity and production when called upon. The equation does indeed change if Clowney (or any other EDGE option) signs with Tennessee.
Inside Linebacker (4)
David Long, Jr
- Dzubnar makes it in as the Daren Bates special team ace role over the constantly on and off the roster Nigel Harris.. Ironically enough, he was plucked from the same team as Bates was (Chargers). Expect Mike Vrabel and co to experiment some with moving guys from inside and outside linebacker to make up for the lack of depth.
- The signing of long time veteran Jonathan Joseph bumps off special teams dude Josh Kalu here. Tye Smith sticks on the roster due to the staff being enamored with his play over the past several years. The competition for the fifth and potentially sixth corner spot will be one of the fiercest in years.
- The safety room largely is in stasis with both starters earning long term big-dollar deals with their quality of play over the past couple of years. Cruikshank and Hooker are valued members of special teams and are versatile enough to play cornerback in a pinch.
Special Teams: (3)
K Greg Joseph
P Brett Kern
LS Beau Brinkley
- Greg Joseph will have to fend off UDFA signee Tucker McCann for kicker duties after signing a pretty decent kicker contract. Punt Gawd Brett Kern and long snapper Beau Brinkley are in no danger of losing their jobs, obviously.
RB Cameron Scarlett
RB Shaun Wilson
WR Nick Westbrook
WR Kristian Wilkerson
OL Anthony McKinney
OL Aaron Brewer
DL Joey Ivie IV
DL Kobe Smith
DL Teair Tart
LB Cale Garrett
LB Nigel Harris
DB Chris Jackson
- With the team projected to carry three quarterbacks, it opens a spot on the practice squad for someone to sneak in. Teams are now allowed 12 PS players due to a rule change from the original 10. Seventh-round rookie makes the practice squad due to his versatility. Five offensive and defensive linemen here to make up for the lack of depth in the senior team. Two running backs just in case. Cale Garrett is one of the more heralded UDFA signings in the 2020 class so this is kind of a redshirt year for him to heal up. Harris has had a longstanding relationship with the team so he makes it.
Total on offense: 26
Total on defense: 24
Total on special teams: 3