The Titans completed their first 16-man practice squad this morning by signing linebacker Malik Jefferson and wide receiver Cameron Batson.
Batson and Jefferson join the other 14 players below, though this group is likely to be frequently churned throughout the season as injuries and performances change perspectives on certain players/positions.
- OLB Jamal Davis
- OLB Wyatt Ray
- TE Tommy Hudson
- OL Brandon Kemp
- K Tucker McCann
- RB Jeremy McNichols
- S Chris Miller
- CB Kareem Orr
- OL David Quessenberry
- QB Trevor Siemian
- DL Kobe Smith
- DL Teair Tart
- CB Tye Smith
- WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine
Batson is a familiar name to Titans fans. The undrafted receiver out of Texas Tech made the team out of camp in 2018 and contributed a little bit as a special teams player and rotational receiver. Last season the 5′-8″, 175-pounder appeared destined for the roster spot that Kalif Raymond ended up filling before Batson suffered a season-ending injury during training camp.
He made the initial 53-man roster on Saturday, but was released to make room for Jadeveon Clowney. The Titans were hoping to get him back on the practice squad when he was released and they managed to do that with this move.
The other addition is an interesting one. Malik Jefferson was the Bengals third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft after a productive college career in Austin. As a fellow Texas alum, I watched a lot of Jefferson during his days as a Longhorn.
The first thing that jumps out about him is his athleticism. He’s an explosive, quick-twitch athlete who plays with his hair on fire at all times.
The thing that held Jefferson back from becoming a superstar in college was always his recognition and instincts. He simply was too slow to react at times to what was unfolding in front of him and he was prone to taking poor angles.
Then there were the injury issues. He missed games in each of his three seasons at Texas and then had his rookie year in Cincinnati end early due to a foot issue. He was waived at the end of training camp heading into his second year with the Bengals, spent a brief stint with the Browns, and then landed on the Chargers practice squad late last year. That is where he spent camp this year, but was once again let go during the cut down to 53 on Saturday.
Getting cut three times within your first three years as a former third-round pick isn’t a great sign, but there is one piece of this signing that could lend a shred of optimism for Jefferson’s future. The position coach he will be working under in Tennessee, Titans inside linebackers coach Jim Haslett, was his original position coach in Cincinnati.
You’d certainly expect that Haslett gave his stamp of approval before the Titans made this move, and maybe the veteran coach thinks he can get something out of his talented former pupil. If he thought Jefferson was a lost cause, he wouldn’t be here.
Jefferson ticks a lot of boxes for attributes that we know the Titans look for. He’s a great attitude/football character guy, he’s a high-effort thumper, and he’s position versatile, offering some ability to rush the passer — as evidenced by his 13 career sacks at Texas — in addition to his primary off-ball linebacker duties.
It’s probably foolish to get over-excited about a practice squad player, especially one that has been given up on several times recently, but an uber-athletic linebacker reuniting with a veteran position coach who believes in him seems like a good use of a practice squad spot to me.