I don’t usually like the idea of projecting the 53-man roster before the final preseason game. There are so many variables that could change between now and the final roster deadline that I am close to 100% certain to be wrong.
Still, when I started thinking of a scenario where the Titans could potentially keep seven wide receivers, I had to consider the numbers at other positions, which led me to a full-scale 53-man roster projection, complete with predictions for who makes the practice squad.
Mike has been providing updates as far as each player’s current standing on the roster with his Friday 53 series. This article will not be quite as in-depth in the analysis department.
NFL teams must trim their rosters from 90 players down to 53 guys no later than 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 3.
Below is my 53-man roster, complete with seven wide receivers...
Quarterback (2): Marcus Mariota, Matt Cassel
Running back (4): DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, David Fluellen, Jalston Fowler
Tight End (3): Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith, Philip Supernaw
Offensive line (9): Taylor Lewan, Quinton Spain, Ben Jones, Josh Kline, Jack Conklin, Dennis Kelly, Corey Levin, Tim Lelito, Tyler Marz
Wide receiver (7): Rishard Matthews, Eric Decker, Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor, Tajae Sharpe, Harry Douglas, Eric Weems
Defensive Line (6): Jurrell Casey, Sylvester Williams, DaQuan Jones, Austin Johnson, Karl Klug, Antwaun Woods
Linebacker (10): Brian Orakpo, Derrick Morgan, Avery Williamson, Wesley Woodyard, Kevin Dodd, Jayon Brown, Erik Walden, Aaron Wallace, Nate Palmer, Darren Bates
Defensive back (9): Logan Ryan, LeShaun Sims, Kevin Byard, Johnathan Cyprien, Adoree’ Jackson, Brice McCain, Kalan Reed, Da’Norris Searcy, Brynden Trawick
Kicker (1): Ryan Succop
Punter (1): Brett Kern
Long-snapper (1): Beau Brinkley
Okay, this is where “predicting” becomes “guessing.” I have no idea how many of each position they’ll want to keep on the practice squad, so this is based more on players themselves rather than any kind of positional distribution.
Each NFL team is allowed to keep up to 10 players on their practice squad. There’s some pretty complex rules about how practice squads work, which you can read about in greater detail here.
- Tre McBride, WR
- DeAngelo Brown, DT
- Khalfani Muhammad, RB
- Josh Carraway, OLB
- Curtis Riley, DB
- Mekale McKay, WR
- Brad Seaton, OT
- Josue Matias, OG
- Jimmy Staten, DT
- Tye Smith, DB
I know we all seem to think that McBride needs to make the team to stick around, but based on everything I’ve found about how practice squads work, McBride should still have eligibility (I’m trying to clear this up and will update the article when it’s confirmed one way or the other).
I struggled to exclude Jonathan Krause, KeVonn Mabon, Jerome Cunningham, and Tim Semisch, as the team seems to really like all four of these guys as bottom-of-the-depth-chart pieces. You could swap any of these four for anyone listed at No. 6 or below on my list above and wouldn’t get any argument from me.
Okay, time to go through the players that are missing from my roster that may have some of you scratching your heads or calling me mean names (that’s not very nice of you, by the way).
Angelo Blackson - Angelo Blackson is far and away the most notable player I left out of the above grouping of 63 players. And Blackson is actually a pretty good defensive end. The problem is, the Titans have so many players that can fill his role. Austin Johnson does what Blackson was drafted to do, but better. The Titans already have four guys that can line up at defensive end. He was picked by the previous regime. In my numbers game to get to seven receivers, I had to make some sacrifices, and Blackson was simply a casualty of a deep and crowded position group.
If the team has no plans to re-sign DaQuan Jones, that could be a reason to stick with Blackson. Otherwise, I think he’ll find a home with a new team that will be very happy to acquire his services.
Alex Tanney - This won’t have anyone scratching their heads, but I’d like to acknowledge the likely end of Tanney’s time in Tennessee. His practice squad eligibility has run out (I’m certain), so sadly, this is probably the end of the road for him in Nashville.
Jace Amaro - Amaro did some good things against Carolina on special teams, but there are plenty of better special teams players already on the roster. Better tight ends, too.
Justin Staples - I went with Nate Palmer. To me, it’s a complete toss-up between him and Staples.
It’s not that crazy to think the team could keep seven receivers, especially considering that one of them is really a special teams specialist.
According to my list, it will come down to Tajae Sharpe, Harry Douglas, Eric Weems, and Angelo Blackson for the last three spots. Any combination of the three that includes Tajae Sharpe would not surprise me. A combination that does not include Tajae Sharpe, well, that would surprise me a great deal (as I wrote about on Monday, and which Mike countered on Tuesday).
I didn’t leave room for a waiver claim, though I would be surprised if every single future member of the 53-man roster was currently with the Titans in camp. However, I’d have to be crazy to try and predict who that player will be. Just know that I think one of the final roster spots will go to a waiver claim.
Where do you disagree with my roster? Let me know in the comments...