Graver and I both did 53 man roster previews this week and neither of us expect the team to keep 3 QBs at this point. Part of that has to do with Alex Tanney’s performance against the Jets, but it also has to do with a real numbers crunch happening at other positions. This Titans team is just more talented across the board than teams of years past and it makes it tough to keep a spot for a QB3 on the 53-man roster.
Tanney is out of practice squad eligibility, and while the Titans do have a 4th QB on the roster in rookie UDFA Tyler Ferguson, the team doesn’t seem to have a ton of interest in him right now based on the fact that he’s gotten a whopping 4 snaps — 2 of which were kneels — in the first 2 preseason games. Ferguson wasn’t a highly touted QB, even among the UDFAs, as the former backup from Western Kentucky has very little experience to speak of despite looking the part, physically, of an NFL QB.
It is tough to land top priority UDFA QBs when you have one of the best young QBs in the NFL on your roster (first world problems). But the Titans will have a few more options to choose from after cuts are made on September 2nd. So if the Titans decide not to keep Ferguson, these seem like some of the most viable options on the market.
Kevin Hogan (Browns)
Hogan was a 5th round pick by the Chiefs in 2016 after a good college career at Stanford, but was released at the end of camp last year before signing on in Cleveland and eventually ending up on the active roster. Not only did he get on the active roster, but he ended up getting some snaps during the regular season going 14 of 26 for 104 yards and 2 INTs. He did more damage on the ground running 8 times for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Hogan seems like he would be a good fit in the Tennessee QB room as a guy who is known to be smart and mobile. He may be available since the Browns seem likely to keep Kizer, Osweiler, and Kessler at this point which would make Hogan on the practice squad as QB4. He could do worse than ending up on the Tennessee practice squad with a chance to challenge for a backup spot in 2018.
Jeff Driskel (Bengals)
This is among my favorite options, but it seems pretty unlikely right now as the Bengals may be leaning towards keeping him on the 53-man roster after a strong preseason performance to this point including this highlight reel run against the Bucs.
The former Florida and Louisiana Tech QB is a very good athlete with good size at 6’-4" tall and over 230 pounds. If the Bengals decide to stick with just 2 QBs (Andy Dalton and A.J. McCarron) on the roster, Driskel would be a hot commodity. He seems to like playing in Cincinnati though so I’m not sure he will able to be lured away.
Alek Torgersen (Falcons)
He is another interesting guy. Currently operating as the QB4 for the Falcons behind Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, and Matt Simms (seriously... all Matts), Torgersen was an undrafted rookie from the 2017 draft class out of Penn. He’s another smart guy who offers good size at 6’-3" tall and 230 pounds and a good arm.
He comes from a spread offense at Penn and likely will need time to adapt to the NFL style of offense. The good news is that if he came here he could learn from a guy who has made that transition look easy.
Taysom Hill (Packers)
Taysom Hill is another guy who is a great athlete. I focused on athletic QBs when making this list because ideally you would like your long term backup for Mariota to share a similar skill set and be able to run the same plays in the offense. Hill has 4.44 speed and has flashed it during the preseason.
Hill is currently battling Joe Callahan for the QB3 spot with the Packers. The loser of that battle would be an interesting option here for the Titans. Hill is a little on the older side for a rookie at 27 after going on a 3 year LDS church mission before starting his college career at BYU, but that wouldn’t concern me at this spot. In fact, a little extra maturity might be nice.
Also worth noting that as a Longhorns fan I am physically incapable of typing "Taysom Hill" without getting a twitch and muttering derogatory things about Manny Diaz.
Kyle Sloter (Broncos)
The Broncos have already come out and said they will only keep 2 QBs on their 53-man roster so it seems the plan will be to sneak Sloter on to the practice squad. He played both QB and WR for Northern Colorado, but has impressed in Broncos camp and the preseason throwing the football.
He is a good athlete and is considered somewhat raw as a QB but his ceiling may be the highest of this group thanks to his live arm and ability to make accurate throws off platform. The Broncos will likely try to retain him on their practice squad and I would guess that is where he ends up, but if he is interested in a change of scenery, I hear Nashville is great during the fall.
Realistically there just aren’t a ton of good options out there. When you have guys like Blake Bortles and Brock Osweiler still getting shots at starting jobs in this league, you know it is going to be tough to find a hidden gem buried in the depth chart at QB. I would love to see the Titans try to land one of these guys on the practice squad, let them learn the system and have a real chance at beating out Cassel in 2018.
The other option is to stick with Ferguson for a year and then look at drafting a quarterback in 2018 so we can start the Patriots/Packers cycle of developing young QBs as backups, getting close to the end of their rookie deals, and then trading them away for more than they’re worth to some desperate team and starting over again.