We are now just 8 days away from roster cut down day in the NFL and the 53-man roster seems to be starting to come in to focus. Some players have solidified spots on the roster with their strong play in preseason and practice, but others still have a ways to go. Here is my latest take on the guys who will end up making the Titans 53-man roster and practice squad on September 2nd.
One thing I noticed when filling this out was that the Titans have a ton of guys that I would consider special teams specialists and not all of them are probably needed. I have most of those guys making this roster below, but it is quite possible that one out of Trawick, Bates, and Weems ends up getting left out. I think Weems is the most irreplaceable of that trio as a gunner, but it is hard to get all of those guys active on gameday if everyone is healthy anyway.
The deadline for NFL teams to get rosters trimmed down from 90 to 53 players is September 2nd at 4:00 PM ET.
ANALYSIS: Cassel got his first work of the preseason last week against the Panthers and looked good. His passes still look like whiffleball pitches (especially compared to Mariota’s), but he is smart with the football and still seems to be able to find the open man. Tanney bounced back from his awful game against the Jets and played decent as well, but Cassel’s grip on the backup QB spot seems pretty secure right now.
Tyler Ferguson has barely gotten any work in the preseason which tells me that he’s not even very likely to see the practice squad. I would imagine that Jon Robinson will be scouring the QB cut list on September 2nd to try to find a practice squad player to add since Tanney is out of eligibility.
RUNNING BACK (4)
TRENDING UP: David Fluellen
TRENDING DOWN: Khalfani Muhammad
ANALYSIS: David Fluellen had another strong performance against the Panthers and seems like the runaway favorite to make the roster as RB3 at this point. Judd and Muhammad are likely battling for a potential practice squad spot at this point.
There has been at least a little chatter about whether or not Jalston Fowler will end up making the roster and I think he does. I get the thought though. Jonnu Smith has been lining up in the backfield from time to time during preseason and has looked pretty good doing it. If he could double as a fullback, that frees up another roster spot. After all, Fowler was only on the field for 17.9% of the Titans offensive snaps in 2016. However, I think Fowler is versatile enough that he can offer some value on both special teams and as a pass catcher when needed. It wouldn’t shock me to see him get left off for a 4th tight end though.
WIDE RECEIVER (6)
ANALYSIS: “Hey wait, aren’t you that guy that hates Tajae Sharpe?” No, I don’t hate Sharpe, I just think he’s been overrated by many Titans fans based on him being a 5th round rookie who got on the field last year. I have maintained that I think Sharpe ends up making this team, but I don’t think it is a lock.
With Sharpe coming off PUP this week, the push at the wide receiver spot is officially on. Some feel like there is a chance that the Titans keep 7 wide receivers here in order to get both Sharpe and Douglas on the roster, but I still struggle to see them keeping 7 WRs and only 3 TEs given their use of tight ends in the offense. It still wouldn’t shock me if Harry Douglas gets that 5th spot over Sharpe though. This is the most intriguing position to watch heading in to cuts next weekend.
TIGHT END (4)
ANALYSIS: Amaro has seemingly been coming on a little bit over the past couple weeks and I think he sneaks on to the roster. As I mentioned above, this team loves its tight ends and keeping Amaro gives them some additional depth and flexibility there. Mularkey singled him out this week for picking up 2 special teams tackles against the Panthers and improving his blocking. I think they want him to grab a roster spot.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
ANALYSIS: I think 8 is going to be the number here and I think that last spot comes down to Marz versus Levin, with Marz having a lead right now. Levin is the perfect practice squad candidate as a guy who has good long term upside, but probably adds nothing to the 53-man roster. The question becomes whether another team tries to steal him away if they try to stash him there.
DEFENSIVE LINE (7)
ANALYSIS: Mehdi Abdesmad was a pretty surprising cut when it came time for the Titans to make room for Tajae Sharpe coming off the PUP. I had him off the 53-man roster, but I thought he was much closer to 54 than he was to 90.
The nose tackle pecking order seems very much in the air currently with Antwaun Woods and Sylvester Williams rotating with the 1s and UDFA DeAngelo Brown earned praise from Mularkey last week and a hint that we may seem him rotating in higher in the depth chart this week. They aren’t keeping 3 nose tackles, but you get the feeling that two of them make the 53 and one goes to the practice squad. Williams is versatile enough to play some defensive end in a pinch and given his contract, I don’t think he is a cut consideration. Woods is the clear favorite to be the 2nd guy, but Brown could still make a push. He was one of the highest profile UDFA’s brought in by the team this year.
The other question here surrounds Angelo Blackson. Graver had him on the outside looking in with his 53-man roster prediction this week, but I still think he makes it. He’s another versatile guy who played a little nose tackle at times last year in addition to being a solid rotational defensive end. He’s definitely one to watch though as his spot is very much on the edge of the roster.
ANALYSIS: This group feels pretty set in stone right now. Aaron Wallace has been outstanding during preseason and seems like a lock to make the roster now. Carraway has been very good as well, but it’s hard to justify keeping 6 guys here. He seems destined for the practice squad most likely.
INSIDE LINEBACKER (5)
ANALYSIS: I know some prefer Staples, but I just think Palmer and Bates offer more on special teams. Palmer is probably the better backup linebacker as well.
ANALYSIS: I removed one corner spot to make room for Amaro on offense (this also balances the spots between the defense and the offense more evenly). Hurst is the odd man out here. He had been having a good camp before an injury slowed his momentum. Hurst was practicing this week so maybe we will get a chance to see what he can do tomorrow. It is hard to see him knocking off one of the top 5 corners so he will need to convince the coaches to keep 6 to make the team most likely.
ANALYSIS: I think Trawick makes the roster for special teams, but it is clear they don’t really want to play him on defense given the low number of snaps he has seen there during the preseason. Riley is a tough cut as he is a pretty good, versatile guy who contributes on special teams and can play corner in a pinch. He’s a guy that will be pushing for an extra spot.
PRACTICE SQUAD (10)
Khalfani Muhammad, RB
Tre McBride, WR
Corey Levin, G/C
Brad Seaton, T
Josh Carraway, EDGE
DeAngelo Brown, NT
Jimmy Staten, DE
Tye Smith, CB
Curtis Riley, CB/S