Who will those 53 men be? It's rather easy to predict 45 or so of them every year, but who knows who will win or lose the remainder of the roster spots? Although it's early, I'll take my first shot at the 53-man roster now, after the break.
|Pos||LY||TY||Makes roster||Will compete||Camp fodder|
|RB||3||3||Johnson, Ringer, Harper||Donaldson||Reynaud|
|WR||5||6||Britt, Washington, Wright, Hawkins, Williams, Mariani||Kirkendoll, Preston||Aguilar, Deadder, Evans, Murdock, Woods|
|TE||3||3||Stevens, Cook, Thompson||D.Graham||Barden, C.Graham|
|OL||9||9||Roos, Hutchinson, Amano, Harris, Stewart, Velasco, Otto, Stingily, Matthews||DeVan, Durand, Kropog, Vlachos||Bias, Burden|
|DE||5||5||Wimbley, Morgan, Ball, Sheppard, Solomon||Dawson, Douzable, Egboh|
|DT||5||5||Casey, Klug, Marks, Martin, Smith||Clayton, Divens, Harris|
|LB||7||7||Ayers, McCarthy, Brown, Witherspoon, Shaw, Bailey, McRath||Diles||Malast, Watkins|
|CB||5||5||McCourty, Verner, Sensabaugh, Campbell, Mouton||Hawkins, Wheatley||Wilburn|
|S||4||4||Babineaux, Griffin, Martin, Johnson||Afalava||Scott|
In the above chart, for reference I included the number of players at each position on opening day last year (LY) for comparison with my projections for this year (TY). Surprisingly, to me anyway, the number of players at all positions but two are the same as the opening day roster of last year.
I don't expect the Titans to keep 3 QBs again this year, which means goodbye to Rusty Smith.
In an upset pick, I'm going with rookie UDFA Collin Mooney over Quinn Johnson.
I doubt if Mariani is in the plans to get many reps as a WR but I've got him making the team again as a return specialist. However, his spot isn't secure by any means - Damian Williams was an accomplished returner in college and probably would have been the Titans' return specialist as a rookie if not for a pulled hamstring, which opened the door for Mariani. There has also been some speculation that first-round draft pick Kendall Wright might be used as a returner. If the Titans need an extra roster spot somewhere, such as for a third QB, the sixth receiver (Mariani) seems like a likely place to get it from.
I can also see the Titans keeping only six linebackers, with either Witherspoon or McRath failing to make the final cut. If that does happen, though, that extra spot should be used elsewhere on defense, probably in the secondary.
Ball, Sheppard and Solomon will have some competition at DE from Douzable and Egboh. I may change my mind on this projection in August.
Ken Amato is finally gone and the Titans will have to choose between Jake Ingram and rookie UDFA Beau Brinkley as their snapper. I give Ingram the early edge based on experience.
Of course, I expect the Titans to try to sign a few veteran free agents, particularly safety, so I won't be a bit surprised for someone not currently on the Titans roster to be there after the final cutdown to 53 men.
Sometime during or after training camp, and before September 2, I'll make a final prediction for the roster.
I don't see them keeping 6 WR. Good TE can create a size/speed mismatch (faster than LB, bigger than DB) with the defense, but the Titans have always been slow on those types of developments in the sport.
I agree with most of your roster...very glad to not see a roster spot wasted on Rusty Smith...I do think Hawkins makes corner of Mouton (he has never done anything on the field except screw up and since he was not drafted by this group I do not see him sticking around to justify a third round pick on him...thanks Jeff Fisher). Also, I agree with you that it is possible that Sheppard, who is not an impact player, does not make the roster and I think it is likely. I think Douzable gets it. Jim wyatt had a fluff peice on Egboh, but he is likely a practice squad guy. I also believe Marks or Smith could be goners and I hope it is Marks. Smith appears committed to an improved season (supposedly he has lost over 20 pounds) and Marks is simply not an impact player. Da'john Harris was listed as a mid round pick before his heart condition scared off teams and prevented him from working out at the combine and he probably has the top potential of the guys competing. If he earns a spot he should have it over Marks, who has shown in the past three years to have little impact on games.