3 Titans on roster bubble who helped themselves in preseason opener

The Titans took care of business to open up the three-game preseason slate, defeating the Falcons by the score of 23-3 on Friday night.

For the most part, the presumed starters that did play didn’t see the field all that much, which left more opportunities for players that are fighting for a roster spot to prove themselves to the coaching staff. With the first round of roster cuts coming either today or tomorrow, let’s take a look at three bubble players who made a case for themselves on Friday night.

RB Mekhi Sargent

Of the Titans’ entire 2021 undrafted class, Sargent may have been the player that generated the least amount of buzz among the fanbase. It’s easy to see why that was the case on the surface. The average fan doesn’t always know a ton about UDFA’s, and the Titans are pretty set at the running back position. Derrick Henry will once again be one of the best backs in the league, and Darrynton Evans should serve as a nice change-of-pace option. With veterans like Brian Hill and Jeremy McNichols also in the fold, Sargent’s chances of making the roster looked slim to none just a few days ago.

That thought process may have shifted a bit on Friday night. Neither of the veteran options looked particularly impressive against the Falcons. McNichols and Hill combined to total just 40 yards on 14 carries, which totaled a disappointing 2.8 yards per touch. When it was Sargent’s turn to hit the field, he looked shiftier and more decisive than both Hill and McNichols. To compare numbers, Sargent finished with 61 total yards on 13 touches, which equals a much more impressive 4.7 yards per touch.

Sargent is still facing an uphill battle, but the cards may not be as stacked against him as we once thought.

WR Mason Kinsey

Sargent wasn’t the only one who stood out on offense. In fact, all three players selected for this article featured on that side of the ball (more below). Kinsey also helped himself by making plays in the passing game. He led the team in both receptions (four) and yards (51). It was a solid performance for a player that badly needed to stick out. The Titans have a ton of capable receivers in training camp right now, and carving out a roster spot for yourself at that position isn’t going to be an easy task.

The 5-10, 198-pound Kinsey has shown some good things at training camp over the past few weeks. It was important for him to carry that over into a game-like scenario, and that’s exactly what he did on Friday night. Three of his four receptions moved the chains, including a 15-yard catch on fourth-and-six, a 14-yard catch on a third-and-four, and a 15-yard catch on a third-and-14.

Kinsey is trending in the right direction.

TE Miller Forristall

Forristall is a rookie undrafted free agent that played his college football under Nick Saban Alabama. Friday night was a bit of a homecoming for him, as he’s no stranger to Mercedes-Benz stadium. Forristall played a total of 22 snaps on Friday, which accounted for 33% of the team’s total offensive count. He caught three balls for a total of 20 yards, one of which went for a touchdown. It was Forristall’s first career score.

The battle for the third (and maybe fourth) spot at the tight end position is wide open right now. Forristall is the mix, but so is Luke Stocker, Tommy Hudson, Jared Pinkney and newcomer Deon Yelder. Forristall struggled in camp early, and his chances of making the final roster didn’t look too good just a few weeks ago. A light seemed to have come on for him against the Falcons. If he can string together a few more good showings at both practice and during the remaining two preseason games, he’ll have a chance to make the team.

Author: Justin MeloSenior Writer, Interviewer and Podcaster for Broadway Sports covering the Tennessee Titans and NFL draft. For more than five years, Justin Melo has professionally covered all things NFL draft and Titans for The Draft Network, SB Nation and USA Today. Best known for his Interview Series with NFL draft prospects, Justin has interviewed more than 500 NFL players. Co-host of the Music City Audible podcast alongside Justin Graver (@titansfilmroom).


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