Next week teams must cut their rosters from 90 down to 75 players, by Tuesday, the 27th, at 4:00PM ET, and from 75 down to 53 players by Saturday, the 31st, at 4:00PM ET. Teams can start signing veteran players with 4 years or more of service, as soon as they are cut, then at noon on Sunday, the 1st, teams can start signing the players who weren't claimed on waivers after being cut, to their 8 man practice squads.
Someone suggested a few days ago that the Titans churn the bottom of their roster, bringing in younger players with more upside, and it sounded like a great idea to me. A great example of a position where this probably should apply is at OT, where both starters, and the top backup OT Mike Otto, are all 30 years old. The 2 major positions that need improvement are backups at S and SLB, but even though they might not have a big need at other positions, if they can claim a player that would improve their depth, go for it.
The order for waiver claims will be the same as the draft order, where the Titans picked 10th, So, if the Titans really like a player that they believe is on the roster bubble, likely to be cut, but if they feel that player might squeeze onto the roster, or be claimed by another team before he reaches the Titans, they may want to try and a trade for him before the final roster cuts.
These following players, likely to be among the final roster cuts, are mostly based upon their college production, and their pre-draft workouts, because if they had played a lot in the NFL, they likely wouldn't be cut. Most of these players may just be stuck behind top quality players at their positions, or trapped in the wrong system, and are in need of a fresh start.
The Titans may decide to cut Rusty Smith, and just carry 2 QB's, then they may look for a 1st or 2nd year QB for their Practice Squad. You can't really predict who that might be, because they would have to clear waivers before they could be signed. Rusty isn't eligible for the Practice Squad, so if he goes unclaimed, they could sign him off the street if needed during the season.
The Titans top 2 RB's are a lock, but the 3rd RB Johnny Battle can be improved upon. Battle has only had 1 season where he averaged over 3.4 YPC (4.0 YPC with the Chiefs in 2011), and he's 30 years old.
Michael Smith (5'8 1/4", 207, 29 3/8" arms, 9 1/2" hands) - At his 2012 Pro Day, he ran a 4.32-40, a 1.48-10, a 7.15-3 cone drill, and a 4.35-20 yard shuttle, with 23 bench reps, a 40.5" vertical, and a 10'6" broad jump. He was the backup to the Seahawks 2012 4th round pick (#106), RB Robert Turbin at Utah St., but still rushed for 870 yards, on 117 carries, at 7.4 YPC, with 9 TD's, and 16 catches, for 181 yards, an 11.3 yard average, with 2 TD's. Smith was the Buccaneers 2012 7th round pick (#212, the pick after the Titans selected DE Scott Solomon), but was stuck behind their 2nd 1st round pick (#31) RB Doug Martin, who rushed for 1,454 yards, and he was inactive for 15 games. He wasn't used as a RB in their 2nd preseason game, he's 5th on their depth chart, but did have a 63 yard kick return. He could be a great backup for CJ, running almost as fast (4.32 to a 4.24-40), but around 15 pound heavier.
UPDATE: RB Michael Smith has been placed on IR by the Bucs,, with a torn foot ligament.
The Titans have more WR's than they can keep already, so they don't need anyone else.
The Titans top 3 TE's are set, so they have little need for a 4th TE, unless he can also play FB/H-Back as well. The Titans could use a better receiving TE, the best career season total for all 3 is only a 29 catch season, but that probably has to wait until next years draft, but here's 1 who might be of interest, if he becomes available, and they can squeeze him onto their roster.
James Hanna (6'3 3/4", 252, 33 1/8" arms, 9 7/8" hands) - At the 2012 Combine, he ran a 4.49-49, a 1.59-10, a 6.76-3 cone drill, and a 4.11-20 yard shuttle (great times for a TE), with 24 bench reps, a 36" vertical, and a 10"2" broad jump. He was the Cowboys 2012 6th round pick (#186), but he only had 8 catches, for 86 yards, a 10.8 yard average, with no TD's. I strongly doubt he will be cut, though he is listed as their 4th TE on 1 depth chart. He has roughly the same build and speed as Walker, and could benefit from learning under him
The Titans are so loaded on the O-Line that they will probably have to cut 3 or 4 veteran O-Linemen.
OT/OG Nick Mondek (6'5 3/4", 304, 33 3/8" arms, 9 1/4" hands) - He was a workout super star at his 2012 Pro Day, running a 4.84-40, a 1.59-10, a 7.30-3 cone drill, and a 4.55-20 yard shuttle, with 30 bench reps, a 28.5" vertical, and a 9'2" broad jump. He was the Texans 2012 6th round pick (#195), but didn't play much at all, and is currently listed as their 4th LOT on their depth chart. He has a ton of upside, and might be hard for the Titans to pass up, as they need to get younger at their OT depth.
UPDATE: Mondek has been cut by the Texans.
The Titans are pretty set on the D-Line, though they might want to upgrade at RDE after the season, and get a do it all type DE.
DT/NT Nick Williams (6'4 1/2", 309, 34 1/8" arms, 10 1/4" hands) - He had a fantastic Combine workout, running a 4.84-40, a 1.63-10, a 7.55-3 cone drill, and a 4.65-20 yard shuttle, with 28 bench reps, a 33" vertical, and a 9'3" broad jump. He didn't face a high level of competition at Samford (in Northern Alabama), or play a lot until his senior year, he was the Steelers 2013 7th round pick (#223), but still on their roster bubble. He's raw, and needs time to develop.
UPDATE: DT/NT Nick Williams has been placed on IR by the Steelers.
DT Marvin Austin (6'1 5/8", 309, 32 5/8" arms) - Had a great 2011 Combine, running an "official" 4.90-40, "unofficially" a 4.80-40, a 1.64-10, a 7.33-3 cone drill, and a 4.40-20 yard shuttle, with 38 bench reps, a 30.5" vertical, and a 9'4" broad jump. He was the Giants 2011 2nd round pick (#52), though he'd been suspended for his full 2010 college season. He was on IR for his whole rookie season, and only played 8 games in 2012, before going on IR, so He still has practice squad eligibility.
DT/DE Glenn Foster (6'3 3/8", 286) - He had a great 2013 Pro Day, running a 4.78-40, a 1.62-10, a 7.09-3 cone drill, and a 4.45-20 yard shuttle, with 29 bench reps, a 39.5" vertical, and a 10'9" broad jump. Akeem Spence (the Buccaneers 4th round pick, #100) was the top DT on Fosters Illinois team, but he still had 31 tackles, 5.5 TFL's, and 2.5 sacks as a senior. He was a UDFA signing by the Saints, and in the 2nd preseason game, as a 3-4 DE, he had 4 tackles, and 2 of them were sacks. In the first 3 preseason games, Foster has 4 sacks, 3 QB hits, and 1 forced fumble
The Titans need 1 or 2 OLB's, a backup for Akeem Ayers at SLB, and a backup at WLB, because current backup, rookie Zavier Gooden is injured, their top MLB Colin McCarty is also injured.
OLB/DE Eric Martin (6'0 3/4", 237, 32 3/4" arms, 9 7/8" hands) - He had a great 2013 Pro Day, running a 4.53-40, a 1.61-10, a 6.63-3 cone drill, and a 3.97-20 yard shuttle (only 2 WR's and 2 DB's at the Combine had faster 3 cone drills and 20 yard shuttles), with 20 bench reps, a 30.5" vertical, a 10'0" broad jump. He played DE at Nebraska, having 17 TFL's and 8.5 sacks as a senior. He was an UDFA signing by the Saints, and is currently listed on their depth chart as their 4th or 5th OLB. With his outstanding change of direction speed, he should be great in pass coverage, in time.
UPDATE: Eric Martin has been cut by the Saints.
UPDATE #2: Eric Martin was claimed off waivers by the Browns (6th in claims order).
OLB Sammy Brown (6'1 7/8", 242, 33 7/8" arms, 9 1/2" hands) - At his 2012 Pro Day, he ran a 4.63-40 (on a bad hamstring), a 7.13-3 cone drill, and a 4.47-20 yard shuttle, with 20 bench reps, a 37" vertical, and a 10'3" broad jump. He was a JUCO transfer to Houston, who had great stats in his 2 years, in 2010 he had 76 tackles, 20 TFL's, 7.5 sacks, and in 2011 he had 95 tackles, 30 TFL's, 13.5 sacks. One expert even said he was better in pass coverage than he is as a pass rusher. He was an UDFA, who spent most of last season with the Rams, but they've moved him to DE this year, not a good sign for his roster chances.
UPDATE: LB Sammy Brown is one of the Rams final cuts/
OLB Dontay Moch (6'1 3/8", 248, 33" arms) - He had a great 2011 Combine, running an "official" 4.44-40, a 1.57-10, a 7.09-3 cone drill, and a 4.38-20 yard shuttle, with a 42" vertical, and a 10'8" broad jump. His best sack total at Nevada 11.5 came in his soph. year, with his best year coming as a senior, with 64 tackles, 22 TFL's, and 8.5 sacks. He was the Bengals 2011 3rd round pick (#66), but was on IR for his whole rookie season, and much of his 2nd year, only playing in 1 game. He has great natural skills, but questionable understanding.
SLB/DE Louis Nzegwu (6'3 7/8", 254, 33 3/4" arms, 10 1/8" hands) - He had a good 2012 Pro Day, running a 4.54-40, a 1.59-10, a 6.64-3 cone drill, and a 4.21-20 yard shuttle, with 22 bench reps, a 41.5" vertical, and a 10'8" broad jump. He was a UDFA, who bounced around some practice squads last season, and signed with the Panthers this season, who only has 3 tackles in the first 2 preseason games, but all 3 were sacks,
UPDATE: Louis Nzegwu has been cut by the Panthers.
MLB Mario Harvey (5'10 7/8", 257, now listed at 6'0", 264) - He had a great 2011 Pro Day, running a 4.43-40, a 7.13-3 cone drill, and a 4.19-20 yard shuttle, with 27 bench reps, a 32" vertical, and a 9'5" broad jump. He had a great career at West Virginia, with 420 career tackles, and as a senior he had 143 tackles, 17.5 TFL's, and 8.5 sacks. In spite of those numbers, he went undrafted, spending much of his rookie season on the Steelers practice squad, but grabbed a late roster spot with the Colts for the 2012 season. He's currently on the Colts roster bubble, as their 5th ILB.
LB Jamar Chaney (6'0 7/8", 242, 33 1/2" arms, 9 7/8" hands) - He had a great 2010 Combine, running an "official" 4.54-40, "unofficially" a 4.51-40, a 1.54-10, a 6.90-3 cone drill, and a 4.29-20 yard shuttle, with 26 bench reps, a 39" vertical, and a 10'4" broad jump. He had a good 2011 season, with 91 tackles (67 solo and 34 assist), 1 sack, 3 ints, and 8 passes defended, but in the train wreck season of 2012, he was dropped as a starter, recording only 24 tackles (17 solo and 7 assist), 0 sacks, 0 ints, and 1 pass defended. Chaney, who attended Mississippi St., is best at MLB, but as played all LB positions, and on the last year of his rookie contract, with a 2013 salary of only $630,000. He has great speed and athletic ability, but just doesn't fit in the Eagles new 3-4 system, and is predicted to be cut.
UPDATE: LB Jamar Chaney has now been cut by the Eagles.
The Titans are 6 deep at CB, but their 4th Safety spot is uncertain.
S/CB Brandon Hardin (6'2 5/8", 219, 31 3/4" arms, 9 1/4" hands) - He had a very good 2011 Pro Day, running a 4.36-40, a 6.60-3 cone drill, and a 4.03-20 yard shuttle, with 24 bench reps, a 35.5" vertical, and a 10'4" broad jump. He missed all but the last game or 2 of his senior year at Oregon St., but had a great all-star game and Senior Bowl, that lifted him up to being the Bears 2012 3rd round pick (#79). He also was on IR all last season, and is currently listed as their 3rd SS and FS. He may not be cut, so the Titans might want to try a trade for him, if they are comfortable with his injury history.
UPDATE: S/CB Brandon Hardin is one of the Bears final roster cuts
UPDATE:FS Kenny Phillips (6'2 1/4", 217) - At his 2008 Combine, he ran an "official" 4.48-40, 6.97-3 cone drill, and a 4.27-20 yard shuttle, with 19 bench reps, a 32" vertical (34" at his Pro Day), and a 10'1" broad jump. He was the Giants 1st round pick (#31) in the 2008 draft, and has played well, but has several injuries. He currently has a quad injury, and is unlikely to survive the final roster cut. While he might help the Titans, they should at least wait until after the 1st game to sign him, so they wont be on the hook for his full years salary.
UPDATE: FS Kenny Phillips has been cut by the Eagles.
FS/CB Neiko Thorpe (6'1 1/4", 198, 31 3/4" arms, 10 1/8" hands) - He had a great 2012 Pro Day, running a 4.39-40, a 1.55-10, a 7.13-3 cone drill, and a 4.01-20 yard shuttle, with only 4 bench reps, but a 38" vertical, and workout best 11'5" broad jump. He was signed by the Chiefs as an UDFA, and played mostly special teams, with a little bit of CB and FS. He was just cut by the Chiefs, and he could bring some much needed speed to FS for the Titans.
SS Taylor Mays (6'3 1/8", 230, 34" arms, 10 1/4" arms) - He had a great 2010 Combine, running a contested "official" 4.42-40, ("unofficially" 4.24 and 4.34), a 1.45-10, 24 bench reps, a 41" vertical, and a 10'5" broad jump. He was the 49ers 2nd round pick (#49), but was traded to the Bengals the next summer for a 7th round pick. His downfall in the NFL is that he takes poor angles to make tackles, and is currently on the Bengals roster bubble. He might be a good "nickel" Safety, or OLB conversion with the Titans, and his 2013 salary is only $630,000.
These are some players with good upside who have been cut, who might interest other teams, but probably not the Titans, unless it's for the Practice Squad.
WR Tommy Streeter (6'4 7/8", 219, 34 3/4" arms, 9 1/2" hands) - He flashed very good speed at the 2012 Combine, running an "official" 4.40-40, "unofficially" a 4.34-40, Pro Day 6.97-3 cone drill, and a 4.36-20 yard shuttle, with other Combine numbers of 17 bench reps, a 33" vertical, and a 10'5" broad jump. He was the Ravens 6th round pick in 2012, at #198. He was on IR for his whole rookie season, is raw, and needs time to develop on a Practice Squad. His great size/speed ratio will interest a lot of teams, while the Titans might consider signing he to their Practice Squad for next year, in case Kenny Britt leaves as a FA.
WR/RB Sam McGuffie (5'10 1/4", 201, 28 7/8" arms, 9 3/8" hands) - He had a stunning 2013 Pro Day, running a 4.36-40, 1.45-10, 6.57-3 cone, and a 3.93-20 yard shuttle, with 26 bench reps, a 40.5" vertical, and an 11'2" broad jump. He caught 54 passes, for 603 yards, a 10.2 yard average, and 5 TD's, as a senior at Rice in 2012, and also had over 800 career rushing yards (he did have some injures that held his production back). He was signed by the Raiders as a UDFA, but didn't distinguish himself in preseason. His fantastic speed could make him a future threat, and he has good position flexibility for the Practice Squad, by playing both WR and RB. He might be a good Practice Squad signing for the Titans.
WR Da'Rick Rogers (6'2 1/2", 217, 32 3/4" arms, 9 1/2" hands) - He had a very good Combine this year, running an "official" 4.52-40, "unofficially" a 4.44-40, a very slow 1.67-10, a 6.71-3 cone drill, and a 4.06-20 yard shuttle, with 10 bench reps, a 39.5" vertical, and an 11'0" broad jump. He was an UDFA (because of all his off field problems), signed by the Bills, but never stood out in preseason, and was an easy cut. Titans fans might want him on the Practice Squad, but for the sake of his career, he probably needs to get far away from his TN associations.
TE/FB/WR/S/LB/DE/ST Jameson Konz (6'3 1/2", 234) - He had a great 2010 Pro Day, running a 4.38-40, a 6.93-3 cone drill, a 4.25-20 yard shuttle, with a 46" vertical, and a 10'8" broad jump. Konz played a year each at Kent St., as a S, LB, and TE as a senior, and he was like a Swiss Army Knife for the Seahawks, being drafted as a FB, then moved to WR in training camp, but was injured in the 1st regular season game, going on IR. He lost a little bit of weight, to help him at WR, but when he showed up in training camp, they moved him to DE, then he was injured in camp, and spent his 2nd season on IR. he was a final roster cut last season, but cane back to play in 1 game. Konz was just too good for his own good, all the position coaches wanted him, so he couldn't settle into one position to develop, and now he's not eligible for the Practice Squad. If his health is OK, so that he still is close to that 4.38-40, with that 46" vertical, I'd grab him in a heartbeat, then ease him back in on special teams, and eventually play him at OLB. I think he will go unclaimed though.
CB Ras-I Dowling (6'1 3/8", 198, now 210) was the Patriots first pick in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft (#33), but now in his 3rd season, at 25 year old, he's just been cut. He was injured a lot in college, and it's carried over into the NFL, only playing in 9 games, 179 snaps, in 2 years. He had good workouts in 2011, running an "official" Combine 4.46-40, "unofficially" a 4.40-40, a Pro Day 4.36-40, a 1.47-10, a 6.85-3 cone drill, and a 4.26-20 yard shuttle, with 19 bench reps, a 38" vertical, and a 10'8" broad jump. Some team will claim the big CB, but the Titans don't have a real need at CB.
S Tom Zbikowski (5'11 1/4", 200) - He showed good speed at his 2008 Combine, with an "official" 4.44-40, a Pro Day 4.40-40, a strength with 24 bench reps. He was the Ravens 3rd round pick in 2008 (#86), but never became a starter, but is a good special teamer, and took up pro boxing 2 years ago. I doubt the Titans will have any interest, but some teams might.
FS Ray Polk (6'0 3/4", 219, 31 3/8" arms, 9" hands) - He had a good 2013 Pro Day, running a 4.40-40, a 1.59-10, a 7.10-3 cone drill, and a 4.33-20 yard shuttle, with 19 bench reps, a 39" vertical, and a 10'6" broad jump. He's already been cut twice, so I don't think the Titans will be interested (unless it's for the Practice Squad), but some team may.
C/OG Alex Parsons (6'3 1/2", 309, 31 3/4" arms, 10" hands) - He ran well for an O-Lineman at his 2010 Pro Day, with a 4.93-40, a 7.67-3 cone drill, and a 4.55-20 yard shuttle, with 23 bench reps, a 26.5" vertical, and an 8'10" broad jump. He's just bounced around the NFL, the Titans wont be interested, but some team might be.
P/K Quinn Sharp (6'1", 189) - A rookie UDFA out of Oklahoma St.
P Brad Wing (6'3", 205) - A rookie UDFA (due to failed drug test), out of LSU.
K Harvard "Kickalicious" Rugland