Tennessee Titans: Predicting the 53-man roster before training camp


The Tennessee Titan roster is at its strongest in years. Here is a pre-training camp projection of what the final 53-man roster will look like.

Pro Football Focus ranks the Tennessee Titans‘ roster as third-best in the NFL for the 2017 season. The quality of personnel in Nashville will be felt by players down the depth chart fighting for a chance to become one of the final 53 men.

Training camp gives players the opportunity to win these spots. Here is my prediction of what the final roster will look like on Sept. 2, before the grind of training camp begins.

Quarterback (3)

  • Marcus Mariota
  • Matt Cassel
  • Alex Tanney

The fate of Alex Tanney is one of the biggest questions heading into the 2017 season. He has no practice squad eligibility left, and many think he will need to beat out Matt Cassel to make the final roster. I do not. I believe the Titans coaching staff and front office will be too concerned to take on the risk of carrying two quarterbacks that are both fresh off surgical procedures from recent injuries.

Tanney has gained a lot of respect from teammates and coaches and has shown solid improvement in his time with the Titans. Tanney got all the reps at OTAs with Mariota and Cassel sidelined recovering from surgeries, which could help his case to make the final roster.

The Titans decide to roster Tanney for insurance purposes, and I cannot blame them.

Running Back/Fullback (4)

  • Demarco Murray
  • Derrick Henry
  • Khalfani Muhammad
  • Jalston Fowler (FB)

The decision to keep fullback Jalston Fowler may again rest in the coaching staff’s hands regardless of his performance. Fullbacks are becoming less relevant in today’s NFL. The Titans could decide to keep a fourth tight end to line up as fullback when needed, or perhaps bring Karl Klug back, who saw a few snaps at the position in 2015. But I believe Mike Mularkey is too traditional to make this sort of move, and he will keep his guy Fowler to hold down the fullback position.

Another competition will be between rookie seventh-round pick Khalfani Muhammad and practice squad player David Fluellen. Muhammad’s blazing speed and returning capabilities should win him the last running back spot, but he needs to show some durability in his feathery 5-7 frame.

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Tight End (3)

  • Delanie Walker
  • Jonnu Smith
  • Phillip Supernaw

Here is where the Titans make a real tough decision by letting Jace Amaro go. At 6-6, Amaro is a good-looking tight end with solid pass-catching abilities. In his rookie season with the Jets, he caught 38 passes for 345 yards. However, Amaro’s skill set simply isn’t needed with the addition of Jonnu Smith.

Phillip Supernaw is more trusted and experienced as a run-blocking tight end, but declined in performance a bit last season. Amaro’s best shot at making the roster would be to develop and thrive as a blocker, and beat out Supernaw in this role.

Wide Receiver (6)

  • Corey Davis
  • Rishard Matthews
  • Eric Decker
  • Taywan Taylor
  • Tajae Sharpe
  • Eric Weems

Another tough decision for the coaching staff will be letting go of respected veteran Harry Douglas. The additions of Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor, and Eric Decker put Douglas on the bubble, but what really may be the dealbreaker for him is the signing of Eric Weems. Weems inked a two-year deal this offseason and the Titans are clearly interested in utilizing his returning abilties. Also, cutting Douglas would give the Titans more cap space, about twice more than it would if Weems is shown the door.

Also left off the roster is Tre McBride. McBride really doesn’t have a shot to make the team as receiver, but does bring special teams skills to the table. He could win a spot as gunner on special teams, but will need to really stand out in camp on special teams and the reps he gets at receiver.

Tackles (4)

  • Jack Conklin
  • Taylor Lewan
  • Dennis Kelly
  • Brad Seaton

The 6-8 seventh-round pick out of Villanova, Brad Seaton, makes the roster from the bubble. He beats out recent UDFAs Steven Moore and Tyler Marz for a backup tackle spot. Seaton is a large step down from Dennis Kelly, but his gigantic size gives him enough intrigue to keep around for his rookie year.

Guards/Center (5)

  • Josh Kline
  • Quenton Spain
  • Ben Jones
  • Tim Lelito
  • Corey Levin

By keeping Alex Tanney as a third quarterback, Sebastian Tretola becomes the man on the chopping block. The Titans decide to go with their sixth-round pick Corey Levin out of UT-Chattanooga, who dominated up front in the FCS Southern Conference. Levin will battle the unknown Josue Matias, a 2015 UDFA, who spent all of last season sidelined with a knee injury.

NASHVILLE, TN – DECEMBER 6: Avery Williamson #54 and Jurrell Casey #99 of the Tennessee Titans celebrate during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game at Nissan Stadium on December 6, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN – DECEMBER 6: Avery Williamson #54 and Jurrell Casey #99 of the Tennessee Titans celebrate during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game at Nissan Stadium on December 6, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Defensive Line (6)

  • Jurrel Casey
  • DaQuan Jones
  • Sylvester Williams
  • Angelo Blackson
  • Karl Klug
  • Austin Johnson

The Titans keep six defensive lineman due to the greater depth at linebacker. 2016 UDFAs Mehdi Abdesmad and Antwuan Woods miss out on a seventh defensive line spot. This gives the Titans only two defensive ends on paper, but that’s not a concern thanks to the versatility of Sylvester Williams and Karl Klug, who can line up about anywhere up front.

Inside Linebacker (5)

  • Wesley Woodyard
  • Avery Williamson
  • Jayon Brown
  • Daren Bates
  • Nate Palmer

Daren Bates and Nate Palmer grab roster spots thanks to proven and reliable special teams abilities. I am excited to see what Jayon Brown can bring in training camp. Could he potentially see starting time this season?

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Outside Linebacker (5)

  • Derrick Morgan
  • Brian Orakpo
  • Kevin Dodd
  • Aaron Wallace
  • Josh Carraway

The biggest competition on the outside will be for the second backup spot, between Aaron Wallace and Josh Carraway. I particularly am big on Wallace as I like his strong speed on the edge. He also gained valuable experience in his rookie season last year, playing in over 100 snaps on both defense and special teams. Carraway, another one of the Titans’ seventh-round draft picks, is a guy that I put on the bubble with so many linebackers in front of him. He needs to show his athleticism on both defense and special teams in order to find a roster spot given the depth at this position.

Cornerback (5)

  • Logan Ryan
  • Adoree Jackson
  • LeShaun Sims
  • Brice McCain
  • Kalan Reed

Here is a position that I believe training camp will sort out the most. The top four of this group are locks. However starting roles and playing time amongst Jackson, Sims, and McCain is certainly up in the air.

Sims, a breakout candidate in 2017, is likely the Day 1 starter heading into camp. Jackson will need to live up to all of the hype to take this job from him, which will be no easy task. In dime and nickel coverage, the question is what are the Titans more comfortable with: The 30-year old McCain starting in the slot, or shifting Ryan inside and bringing in Jackson as the outisde corner opposite Sims?

There seems to be some uncertainty of who wins the competion for the fifth corner spot. I think Kalan Reed is the clear favorite to do so. Reed has great size, sub 4.40 speed, and was involved in the defense in the last three games of the season last year. Reed will be pushed by Demontre Hurst the most, as well as D’Joun Smith, with Tye Smith in the mix as well.

Safeties (4)

  • Kevin Byard
  • Jonathan Cyprien
  • Da’Norris Searcy
  • Brynden Trawick

This is a pretty clear-cut group of four. Brynden Trawick was quietly a great signing in the offseason. He can play both safety positions and is a beast on special teams. Kevin Byard is poised to become the starting free safety with much-needed pass coverage skills. New acquisition Cyrprien will start out as strong safety, with Searcy and Trawick competing for second string duty behind the former Jaguar.

Specialists (3)

  • Ryan Succop
  • Brett Kern
  • Beau Brinkley

This trio of specialists rounds out the Titans’ 53-man roster.

Next: Titans: 6 Players on Roster Bubble

Training camp competitions have a way of making some decisions easier and some much harder. Up and down the depth chart, opportunities await the majority of the 90 players headed to camp. Some will be fighting for starting positions, some backup spots, and others will be fighting for a chance to make the Tennesse Titans’ final 53 on Sept. 2.