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Friday 53: Titans Training Camp Week 1

How is the 53-man roster looking after one week of training camp?

NFL: Tennessee Titans-Training Camp Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The deadline for NFL teams to get rosters trimmed down from 90 to 53 players is September 2nd at 4:00 PM ET. Every Friday between now and then I will release an updated 53-man roster projection based on practice reports (and my own practice observations when possible) in an attempt to keep a pulse on some of the roster battles going on at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

Think of these as a snapshot in time of where the roster is, not necessarily a projection of where they are going to be at the end of camp. For example, you’re going see some stuff like Brice McCain being listed ahead of Adoree Jackson. That doesn’t mean I think McCain is the better player, that just means that he is currently running ahead of Jackson in the cornerback pecking order. Also, it should be noted that we are very early in training camp so there is a lot that can change between now and the start of the season.


Marcus Mariota

Matt Cassel


Alex Tanney

Tyler Ferguson

TRENDING UP: Alex Tanney

TRENDING DOWN: Tyler Ferguson

ANALYSIS: The battle here is between Cassel and Tanney for the backup spot behind Mariota. There is a slim chance that the Titans keep three quarterbacks as they did last year, but with a more competitive roster around them I expect them to find more value in a 9th offensive lineman or a 10th linebacker. Tanney has run out of practice squad eligibility so it is 53 man roster or bust for him this season.

Tanney has drawn positive reviews throughout camp and has always looked good throwing the football. The question is whether the staff values Cassel’s experience and mentorship in the QB room over Tanney’s arm talent and upside. Right now the job is still Cassel’s to lose, but this will be something to watch as we get in to preseason games as both these guys figure to get a ton of work.


DeMarco Murray

Derrick Henry

Jalston Fowler

David Fluellen


Khalfani Muhammad

Joe Bacci

Akeem Judd

TRENDING UP: Derrick Henry

TRENDING DOWN: David Fluellen

ANALYSIS: Right now Fluellen is running ahead of Khalfani Muhammad in the running back drills. However, Muhammad certainly looks like he brings more elements to the table with his special teams contributions and change-of-pace speed so I would expect him to overtake Fluellen at some point in camp for the third back behind Murray and Henry. The only way Fluellen contributes to the 2017 Titans is if Murray or Henry get injured, and even then you can find running backs on the street during the season to plug in as a backup.


Corey Davis

Rishard Matthews

Eric Decker

Taywan Taylor

Harry Douglas

Eric Weems


Tre McBride

Jonathan Krause

Mekale McKay

KeVonn Mabon

Giovanni Pascascio

Darius Jennings

***Tajae Sharpe is currently on the PUP list recovering from foot surgery so I left him out of the 53 at this point as he could end up starting the year on the PUP list which would require him to sit out for the first 6 games of the year.



ANALYSIS: The top four at this position are locked in so the battle is going to come down to the last two spots. As I mentioned above, Tajae Sharpe is out currently with no known timetable for a return. If he starts the season on the PUP list that frees up a roster spot elsewhere. Given the team’s experience with Kevin Dodd’s similar injury as well as the depth they have at the wide receiver position (assuming Corey Davis’ hamstring isn’t a long term injury), don’t expect them to push Sharpe back too quickly. I have still yet to see an expected timetable for his return, but as I wrote in my recap of practice #3 this week, his return doesn’t appear to be imminent.

There are really two competitions going on for those last two spots at wide receiver. First, Eric Weems is competing with other special teams guys for a spot on the roster. Weems is an excellent special teams guy, but he’s not going to add anything at receiver so he has to establish his value as a gunner and returner in order to make the team.

The second competition is for that 5th spot at wide receiver (assuming Sharpe remains out for right now) and that appears to be led by Douglas, McBride, and Krause in that order. Douglas is a veteran who the staff loves, and while he’s not particularly big or fast at this point in his career, he does run crisp routes, catch the ball consistently, and block well in the running game. He gets way too much hate from Titans fans and I’m not sure why.

McBride is a guy who has stood out in camp so far in a good way. He knows he has some work to do to make this roster and looks hungry. He’s a guy who could also push Weems out of a job with his special teams contributions even though I think the Titans have moved on from the idea of him being a return man. Krause is a smaller guy with great speed who has made some big plays in camp already, but Mularkey says he needs to improve his consistency. It’s hard to see him making the roster.


Delanie Walker

Phillip Supernaw

Jonnu Smith


Jace Amaro

Tim Semisch

Jerome Cunningham

TRENDING UP: Tim Semisch


ANALYSIS: I don’t think this is going to be much of a competition. The top 3 are going to make the team barring a major surprise or injury between now and Week 1. I expected Amaro to make more of a push, but he just wasn’t very impressive from what I saw on Monday. There is still a lot of camp to go though so maybe he ends up turning this in to a competition, but for now I think this position is pretty well locked up.


Taylor Lewan

Jack Conklin

Ben Jones

Quinton Spain

Josh Kline

Dennis Kelly

Tim Lelito

Corey Levin


Brad Seaton

Josue Matias

Tyler Marz

Steven Moore

Jake Simonich

Jonah Pirsig

Mark Spelman

TRENDING UP: Corey Levin


ANALYSIS: I’m leaving “trending down” blank on this one because there just isn’t anyone in this group that appears to be headed the wrong way. It continues to be one of the strengths of the team. While I expected some competition for Kline’s spot during the offseason, it doesn’t appear to have materialized. Lelito is pretty much a lock to make the roster, but there hasn’t been any hint at a possible challenge for the starting right guard spot. It seems to me the staff is putting a premium on continuity there and that makes sense. Continuity is important on the offensive line and the Titans group will be very comfortable next to each other this season.

I think Levin is essentially a lock to make the team. He has been taking snaps at center with the 2nd team unit and can play guard as well. The question really becomes whether the team makes room for a 9th offensive lineman which would likely be either Brad Seaton or Josue Matias.


Jurrell Casey

DaQuan Jones

Austin Johnson

Sylvester Williams

Karl Klug

Angelo Blackson

Antwaun Woods


Mehdi Abdesmad

DeAngelo Brown

Jimmy Staten

Cameron Robbins

TRENDING UP: Antwaun Woods

TRENDING DOWN: Angelo Blackson

ANALYSIS: This is another strong unit. Austin Johnson seems ready to push for a starting spot at the beginning of year 2, but he’ll face stiff competition from returning starter DaQuan Jones. Angelo Blackson is a pretty good player, but he’s beginning to find himself in dangerous territory after being passed by Johnson towards the end of last season and the team bringing in Sylvester Williams during the offseason. Blackson, Woods, Abdesmad, and Brown will all be competing for either one or two roster spots. My guess is that the Titans elect to keep 7 here since there is a lot of talent in this group.

I have Woods in right now simply because he just keeps making plays in camp, but how valuable is a pure backup nose tackle? That’s the question. Abdesmad gives them more flexibility and he’ll be in the mix too.


Brian Orakpo

Derrick Morgan

Kevin Dodd

Erik Walden

Aaron Wallace


Josh Carraway

Victor Ochi

Kourtnei Brown



ANALYSIS: Dodd getting very positive reviews from the coaching staff is one of the most promising developments from the first week of camp. The Titans need him to be healthy and productive this season.

Walden, Wallace, and Carraway are going to likely be competing for two spots. Walden seems likely to make it as a veteran backup, leaving Wallace and Carraway to compete for the final spot. Wallace has to be the favorite given his experience from last year, but we will see what Carraway can do. They may be able to sneak him on to the practice squad if he is the odd man out.


Avery Williamson

Wesley Woodyard

Nate Palmer

Daren Bates

Jayon Brown


Justin Staples

TRENDING UP: Daren Bates


ANALYSIS: Williamson and Woodyard are locked in as the starters here for a third straight year. Behind them Palmer, Bates, Brown and Staples are competing for spots. Brown was the darling of OTAs over the summer drawing rave reviews from both coaches and teammates, but he has started out behind both Palmer and Bates in backup linebacker snaps. He clearly projects as the coverage linebacker in the role that Sean Spence occupied last season, but his size and play strength will likely limit him to that role for 2017.

Palmer returns as a good special teamer and the direct backup behind Avery Williamson as the strong side inside linebacker. Bates was a free agent pickup who was known as a special teams ace in Oakland, but he has looked better at linebacker than many expected early in camp and is currently playing ahead of Brown in the backup weak side inside linebacker rotation. All three of these guys seem highly likely to make the roster which would leave Staples as the odd man out here.


Logan Ryan

LeShaun Sims

Brice McCain

Adoree Jackson

Kalan Reed

Demontre Hurst


D’Joun Smith

Curtis Riley

Tye Smith

Jeremy Boykins

Manny Abad

TRENDING UP: Demontre Hurst


ANALYSIS: So far in camp Logan Ryan and LeShaun Sims have been locked in as the starting outside corners with Brice McCain stepping in to the slot when the Titans go to nickel packages. First round pick Adoree Jackson has been working with the second team, but has mostly looked good. His speed and athleticism are unquestionable. It is possible that we see Jackson challenge Sims for the starting spot across from Ryan by the end of camp, but for now that job seems to be Sims’ to lose.

McCain, like Douglas, probably gets too much hate from Titans fans. He struggled at times last season — all corners do — but he and Sims were solid towards the end of the year. McCain is going to have a role on this team as a slot corner.

Behind the top four you have a couple guys who have begun to separate themselves from the pack: Kalan Reed and Demontre Hurst. Both guys — especially Reed — stood out to me when I saw them live at practice on Monday. They were pretty clearly ahead of D’Joun Smith. Both Reed and Hurst have gotten some work at safety as well early in camp which gives them some versatility that could help them make the roster. I think these are your 5th and 6th corners and I think the Titans will be in good shape if that’s the case.


Kevin Byard

Johnathan Cyprien

Da’Norris Searcy

Brynden Trawick


Denzel Johnson

TRENDING UP: Kevin Byard


ANALYSIS: There isn’t much to discuss here. Byard looks and sounds like a guy who is ready to make the leap to a Pro Bowl level player at free safety. Cyprien will start across from him with Searcy acting as the primary backup for both safety spots and getting plenty of snaps when the Titans go to the three safety packages that they used a lot last year. Trawick is another special teams ace who likely won’t see many snaps on defense unless there are injuries.


Brett Kern

Ryan Succop

Beau Brinkley


Jordan Gay