We’re approximately two months away from the Tennessee Titans “finalizing” their initial 53-man roster on August 29th. Now feels like an appropriate time to conduct our first projection. A never-too-early projection feels like an opportune moment to examine the overall profile of the current 90-man roster heading into training camp.
This was a grim exercise in all honesty. Depth is lacking at various position groups. A lack of back-end talent allowed me to keep an abundance of players at quarterback, running back and tight end. General manager Ran Carthon should consider adding veteran competition to several positions.
Let’s jump into the roster with my projected 53 as of today.
Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis, Will Levis (3)
The Titans won’t have to “choose” between Will Levis and Malik Willis this offseason. They’ve rarely rostered three quarterbacks throughout Mike Vrabel’s tenure, but now’s the opportune time to change that. They lack talent to deny an opportunity to keep three signal callers. Willis has flashed some much-needed growth throughout the summer. Training camp and preseason will be key to monitoring Willis’ actual growth, but I believe he’ll do enough to stick.
Tannehill and Levis are guaranteed roster locks. The new rule allowing a team to keep a third quarterback active on game day should also increase Willis’ chances. I don’t foresee Willis being traded or released this summer.
Derrick Henry, Tyjae Spears, Hassan Haskins, Jonathan Ward (4)
Hassan Haskins is guaranteed a roster spot because he’s an excellent special teams player. Jonathan Ward is my first mini surprise. Jim Wyatt recently told me that Ward was a “standout performer” at organized team activities (OTAs). Fans may remember Ward for making a game-changing play against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17.
Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Kyle Philips, Chris Moore, Colton Dowell, Jacob Copeland (6)
The Titans are obviously counting on Treylon Burks and Kyle Philips to take steps forward. We’ll see if DeAndre Hopkins gets added to this group. I think Chris Moore can be an underrated veteran contributor. Colton Dowell should make the roster due to the draft-pick capital invested in him.
I’m starting to feel like Racey McMath and Mason Kinsey are out of time. I went with Jacob Copeland over a slew of inexperienced competitors (Kearis Jackson, Tre’Shaun Harrison, Reggie Roberson Jr. + more) due to his abilities as a special teams returner. Copeland made some plays at OTAs.
Chigoziem Okonkwo, Trevon Wesco, Josh Whyle, Kevin Rader (4)
Chigoziem Okonkwo should have an excellent sophomore season. Trevon Wesco is the new Geoff Swaim in a critical blocking-first role. Josh Whyle is an intriguing rookie. Kevin Rader impressed the coaching staff last season. Unless this roster improves elsewhere, I believe Rader has an opportunity to stick as a fourth tight end. Rader earned my 53rd and final spot.
Andre Dillard, Peter Skoronski, Aaron Brewer, Daniel Brunskill, Corey Levin, Jaelyn Duncan, JaMarco Jones, John Ojukwu, Jordan Roos (9)
Physically Unable to Perform: Dillon Radunz
Suspended: Nicholas Petit-Frere
The Nicholas Petit-Frere suspension changes everything. Carthon should consider signing veteran free-agent tackle George Fant. I have UDFA tackle John Ojukwu making the roster as a result of the Petit-Frere suspension. As of now, Corey Levin is their best reserve linemen. Dillon Radunz will likely start the regular season on the PUP after suffering a late-year torn ACL. JaMarco Jones’ versatility should keep him around. Jordan Roos claimed my final spot.
TOTAL KEPT ON OFFENSE: 26
Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, Tear Tart, Shakel Brown, Jaleel Johnson (5)
The top three are obvious. This group lacks backend depth. Jaleel Johnson is a veteran with plenty of NFL experience under his belt. It’s tough to sort through the final options. Jayden Peevy, Tyler Shelvin, NaQuan Jones, T.K. McLendon Jr. and Curtis Brooks all have a shot. I chose Shakel Brown, who I expect to impress throughout the summer.
Harold Landry, Arden Key, Rashad Weaver, Thomas Rush (4)
Another position group that lacks depth. Autry’s versatility allows them to go a little lighter here. Thomas Rush received the biggest signing bonus of any undrafted free agent. He’ll compete alongside Caleb Murphy and Sam Okuayinonu, both of whom I like. Rush has more special teams upside however.
Azeez Al-Shaair, Monty Rice, Jack Gibbens, Luke Gifford, Ben Niemann (5)
Luke Gifford and Ben Niemann are special teams aces. I don’t have Chance Campbell sticking, although I’m intrigued to monitor his progress throughout training camp and the preseason. I can see Jack Gibbens pushing Monty Rice for the starting job next to Azeez Al-Shaair.
Kristian Fulton, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Roger McCreary, Caleb Farley, Tre Avery, Chris Jackson (6)
Kristian Fulton, Roger McCreary and Sean Murphy-Bunting will be the team’s top three cornerbacks. Releasing Caleb Farley would cost the Titans approximately $2 million against the 2023 cap, so I don’t see that happening. Tre Avery played well enough as an undrafted free agent to maintain a roster spot. Chris Jackson claimed one of my final spots. Jackson is versatile and can play special teams.
Kevin Byard, Amani Hooker, Elijah Molden, Tyreque Jones (4)
Whether Elijah Molden is listed at safety at cornerback, he’s a do-it-all defensive back with an undefined role. Depth is a serious issue at safety. I like Boise State’s Tyreque Jones to make the team. Carthon should add depth by pursuing a reunion with free-agent safety Joshua Kalu.
TOTAL KEPT ON DEFENSE: 24
Trey Wolff (K), Ryan Stonehouse (P), Morgan Cox (LS)
I’m currently backing Trey Wolff to defeat Caleb Shudak in the team’s kicking competition. Ryan Stonehouse established himself as one of the league’s best punters as a rookie. Morgan Cox returns as an elite long snapper.