The Tennessee Titans are roughly one month away from reporting for training camp on July 26. Position battles will occur all throughout the roster, both for starting positions, and back-end roster spots. We’ve compiled our first 53-man roster projection as we await training camp to begin.
Quarterback (3): Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis and Logan Woodside
Analysis: I expect the Titans to carry three quarterbacks this season. Willis is simply too raw to be called upon in case Tannehill suffers an injury. They could always release Woodside and sign him back to the practice squad while preserving an extra roster spot, but then they’d risk losing Woodside altogether.
Running Back (5): Derrick Henry, Hassan Haskins, Dontrell Hilliard, Trenton Cannon and Tory Carter
Analysis: Henry, Haskins and Hilliard are no-brainers. I believe Cannon will be their kickoff returner, hence the roster spot. Cannon averaged an impressive 29.8 yards per kickoff return as a member of the Carolina Panthers in 2020. I’ve grouped Carter with the running backs. He’ll be the team’s starting fullback.
Wide Receiver (6): Robert Woods, Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook, Kyle Philips, Josh Malone and Racey McMath
This is a fluid situation with several players jockeying for positioning. Undrafted free agent Reggie Roberson out of SMU could certainly earn a roster spot as a kick/punt returner. Mason Kinsey is also in the mix due to his abilities on special teams. Dez Fitzpatrick is apparently much improved. Fitzpatrick and Malone, who impressed at OTAs, may be battling for one spot. I’m leaning Malone. McMath could earn a spot due to his experience as a special teams gunner.
Tight End (3): Austin Hooper, Geoff Swaim and Chigoziem Okonkwo
Analysis: Keeping three quarterbacks and five running backs with result in a numbers crunch elsewhere. That could occur at tight end, where the Titans have previously rostered four options. Hooper, Swaim and Okonkwo are plenty versatile, eliminating the requirement to keep four.
Offensive Lineman (8): Taylor Lewan, JaMarco Jones, Ben Jones, Nate Davis, Dillon Radunz, Aaron Brewer, Nicholas Petit-Frere and Xavier Newman-Johnson
Analysis: Seven spots are essentially guaranteed (Lewan, Ja. Jones, B. Jones, Davis, Radunz, Brewer and Petit-Frere). Several players are battling for the final one or two spots. The Titans don’t possess great depth here. Newman-Johnson is an undrafted free agent out of Baylor that can play all three interior positions. The Titans could add another body here via free agency. I also wonder if they can get away with keeping just eight lineman due to the versatility of Ja. Jones, Brewer and Radunz. If they keep nine, Christian DiLauro could back-up both left and right tackle as extra insurance to Petit-Frere
Total on Offense: 25
Defensive Line (6): Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, Teair Tart, Naquan Jones, Larrell Murchison, DeMarcus Walker
Analysis: This group is incredibly deep and versatile. Murchison and Walker will face competition from a trio of undrafted free agents: Haskell Garrett, Jayden Peevy and Sam Okuayinonu. Murchison could be in danger.
Outside Linebacker/EDGE (4): Harold Landry, Bud Dupree, Ola Adeniyi and Rashad Weaver
Analysis: Dupree and Landry should be workhorses in 2022, with both accounting for 85-percent-plus defensive snaps, which negates the need to keep five or six defenders. Adeniyi is a quality backup and special teams mainstay. Weaver is a second-year defender that could take a significant step forward.
Inside Linebacker (5): David Long Jr, Zach Cunningham, Monty Rice, Chance Campbell and Dylan Cole
Analysis: Long and Cunningham are your starters. Campbell is a rookie that’s almost guaranteed a roster spot. Cole earned my 53rd and final spot due to his special teams abilities. Joe Jones and rookie undrafted free agent Jack Gibbens could pose a threat, however.
Cornerback (6): Kristian Fulton, Caleb Farley, Elijah Molden, Roger McCreary, Buster Skrine, Chris Jackson
Analysis: I feel strongly that these will be your six cornerbacks. Skrine and Jackson performed admirably when thrust into starring roles last season. Greg Mabin and Tre Swilling are on the outside looking in.
Safeties (4): Kevin Byard, Amani Hooker, A.J. Moore and Theo Jackson
Analysis: Byard and Hooker are your starters. Moore replaces Dane Cruikshank. Jackson has impressed all throughout rookie minicamp and organized team activities.
Total on Defense: 25
Specialists (3): Randy Bullock, Brett Kern and Morgan Cox
Analysis: An injury to UDFA K Caleb Shudak may prevent him from pushing Bullock. UDFA P Ryan Stonehouse is an unlikely threat to Kern’s security. Cox is an excellent long snapper and the Titans didn’t bring in any competition.
Stay tuned to MCM.