Titans make final cuts, but 53-man roster is anything but finalized

By John Glennon

Congratulations, at least for now.

That’s the message always delivered to players who make a team’s initial 53-man roster.

But it takes on even greater meaning this year for the Titans, who currently have nine players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Those players don’t count toward the Titans’ active roster. But when they start to return from COVID, some of the players – like quarterback Ryan Tannehill, center Ben Jones, guard Nate Davis, tight end Geoff Swaim and linebacker Harold Landry – are certain to reclaim roster spots at the expense of today’s 53. So be careful about buying the new house just yet.

Which position groups are likely to remain stable? Which are almost certain to change in days and weeks to come? Here’s a position-by-position analysis following the announcement of final cuts:

Position: Quarterback

Number of players on active 53-man roster: Two

Names: Logan Woodside, Matt Barkley

How things may change: With starter Ryan Tannehill on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, the Titans didn’t need to make a determination for the No. 2 spot. But they will soon. Both Woodside and Barkley put up good numbers in the preseason. My guess is that Woodside will eventually get the nod. He has a far longer history in the Titans’ system, and he appears less prone to turnovers than Barkley.

Position: Running back

Number of players on active 53-man roster: Four

Names: Derrick Henry, Darrynton Evans, Mekhi Sargent, Khari Blasingame

How things may change: Congrats to Sargent, a classic training-camp underdog story. The 5-8, 200-pound Sargent, an undrafted free agent out of Iowa, consistently found holes to run through during his many practice reps and preseason snaps. He’s holding down his spot at least temporarily. But what happens when Jeremy McNichols – who posted 204 rushing yards for the Titans last year – comes off the COVID-19 list? Sargent outplayed him during camp, but will McNichols’ pass-blocking ability and experience with the Titans make a difference?

Position: Wide receiver

Number of players on active 53-man roster: Seven

Names: A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, Josh Reynolds, Marcus Johnson, Chester Rogers, Cam Batson, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine

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  1. Good analysis. I really hope they find a way to keep Sargent. His pass blocking skills aren’t good, but he offers what we need to help keep Derrick Henry fresh while keeping defenses honest. If he can translate what he showed in the off-season into actual game performance, the Titans could be even more unpredictable and dynamic, with teams never being sure what’s going to happen.

    Darrynton Evans is a clearly talented RB that would be great to have, but he’s always injured. It sucks that he’s had a lot of bad luck, but if we need a back that can do pass pro, and need a back that can be a change up, to me he becomes the odd man out due to availability issues.

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