Let me first start by saying that the first few days of July practices mean little in the grand scheme of an NFL season. They do, however; give coaches a baseline, a beginning to their expectations of individuals on the roster. GM's and top staff are already having meetings behind closed doors about who looks the part, and who's a candidate for the chopping block come roster cut-down time.
The Titans players know they are starting from scratch with this new staff. Very little, if anything, is guaranteed as far as roster positions and starting lineups.
With that in mind, who has stood out at Titans camp thus far? And who has similarly failed to impress?
Dexter McCluster, RB
While this one might be fairly obvious, McCluster was brought in to be a rotational weapon for the Tennessee Titans. In the camp's first few days (without pads), McCluster showcased his impressive speed and agility, getting through the crease in a hurry and showing burst out the other side. With the pads on in today's practice, McCluster made fewer waves, but he's no doubt impressed onlookers thus far into camp.
He won't be expected to carry a heavy load which suits his build and resume. That aside, McCluster is running with purpose so far, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed His rotation into the starting lineup should be fun to watch.
Derek Hagan, WR
New Titans coach, Ken Whisenhunt, made mention of his happiness with wideout Derek Hagan, who has been a consistent performer through the camp's first three days, showing good hands and preparedness. Hagan is a journeyman who has seen action in Miami dating back to 2007. Getting snaps and receptions under his belt with both the starting and backup units has proven valuable for Hagan, as he continues to earn praise from coaches and onlookers alike.
Hagan's a scrappy wideout who's had a solid camp thus far, however; a spot on the final Titans roster might still be a bridge too far.
Daimion Stafford, FS
Stafford has been impressing from the safety spot since camp opened. He has nabbed a few interceptions and has been a reliable player on the back end thus far, showing coaches why he was selected last year. Entering his second season, Stafford is looking to solidify a role behind incumbent starter Michael Griffin, and he's done a good job of that so far. With a lack of quality depth behind Griffin (barring George Wilson who can play some FS in a pinch), Stafford is the guy who's expected to step up. After three days, he's been doing a great job of making a good impression on the new coaching staff.
Isaiah Williams, WR
Williams has already bounced around half the league, despite having only a short time in the NFL under his belt. He has dropped far too many passes at camp thus far, and has been disappointing. He'll need to turn it up to avoid being axed in the first roster cut downs.
Tommie Campbell, CB
Campbell has been the victim of an increasingly talented Wide Receiver group so far. Everyone from Marc Mariani to Justin Hunter have been giving him a hard time. The athletic corner has failed to impress up to this point, which is mildly surprising from a guy who was receiving rave reviews in prior camps from the previous staff. Maybe that speaks louder than anything in and of itself.
Obviously there are others who have earned praise and disdain so far. Kamerion Wimbley, Derrick Morgan, Ropati Pitoitua, Bernard Pollard, and Mike Martin have been turning heads on the defensive side of the ball. Jake Locker, Bishop Sankey, and Kendall Wright have been looking very crisp offensively as well. We'll continue to monitor the team's progress over the next few weeks of camp, and see where these coveted roster spots end up falling.