Underrated Players With A Chance To Contribute In 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 11: Lavelle Hawkins #87 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball against the New Orleans Saints at LP Field on December 11, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Saints defeated the Titans 22-17. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

There are quite a few interesting competitions taking place in this years camp, Locker vs Hasselbeck , Brown vs Witherspoon; but lets take a look at a few not talked about players looking to contribute this season.

Gerald McRath, LB

Gerald, drafted in 2009, was thought to be the eventual replacement for Keith Bulluck as he burst onto the scene with an impressive rookie season where he boasted 32 tackles and one interception. His high-energy-play and leadership qualities were all expected to carry McRath into the starting lineup. Instead, he fell off the radar despite posting a career high 44 tackles in 2010. His inability to defend the pass led to his fall out of the starting lineup. In year four, McRath expects to compete with Witherspoon and Zach Brown for the the Will linebacker position. His youth and a full offseason may lead to an impressive preseason, which would be necessary as he looks to prove he can still be the guy.

Robert Johnson, S

Going into year three, Johnson has not yet contributed as he been active for only three games. With the safety position thin, Johnson will look to provide not only depth, but competition behind an inconsistent Michael Griffin who is entering his final season with the team.

Jamie Harper, RB

Harper was thought to bring the "Smash" back to the Titans offense as he offered a change of pace to the speedy Chris Johnson. Instead, Harper looked more like 2009 Lendale White as he was often hesitant to run through defenders, and instead looked to bounce most runs to the outside. In year two, Harper will need to run forward if wants to be a factor for the backup position with Javon Ringer.

Rusty Smith, QB (of da future)

After playing in two games and starting one in 2010, Smith will try and continue his progress as he vies for the eventual backup QB position when Hasselbeck leaves. In the rare, but possible(See Texans 2011), case where both Locker and Hasselbeck go down, the Titans will turn to Rusty to lead the team to greatness. Smith possesses both the confidence and dinosaur-like instincts necessary to be successful in the NFL and hopes to make plays if given the opportunity.

Lavelle Hawkins, WR

The Hawk, fresh off a new contract, is the teams only true slot receiver next to Wright. Wright will be learning his first playbook ever and could take time to catch on, leaving Hawk the best option in the slot as the team looks to air it out more this season. Hawkins, coming off a career best 47 receptions and one touchdown, has the backing of his coaching staff and has the chance to build off his 2011 season in not only receiving yards but on special teams as he competes with Mariani for return duties. Caw Caw!

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