Wilson also indicates the Titans are sending a late-round conditional draft pick in exchange for Gillespie. Official details have yet to be revealed, but it’s likely that condition depends on whether or not Gillespie makes the Titans’ initial 53-man roster.
Gillespie represents the second safety/versatile defensive back that Titans General Manager Jon Robinson has acquired in as many days. Robinson claimed Lonnie Johnson Jr. off waivers on Tuesday. Fellow defensive back Elijah Benton was waived in a corresponding move.
Gillespie entered the league with the Raiders last season as the No. 143 selection in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Gillespie was a non-factor for the Raiders as a rookie, having only played 13 defensive snaps during the regular season, per Pro Football Focus.
The regime that drafted Gillespie is no longer in Vegas, and new general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels have quickly shipped him out of town. Ironically enough, Gillespie was allegedly deemed as surplus because he’s losing a positional battle at training camp to former Titans safety Matthias Farley.
Robinson is clearly displeased with his depth at safety behind Kevin Byard and Amani Hooker. Theo Jackson and A.J. Moore are expected to serve as the backups. Moore was a first-wave free agent signing and Jackson was a Day Three selection. The Titans have claimed to be thrilled with both players, but their decision to acquire two safeties less than 24 hours apart doesn’t necessarily reflect that.
The Titans have also experienced some injuries in the defensive backfield as of late. Hooker, Elijah Molden, Roger McCreary and Chris Jackson have all missed practice time within the past few days.
As a draft prospect coming out of Missouri, Gillespie was described as a physical box safety that could earn spot duty in split-safety looks. He played a ton of single-high coverage at Missouri, but his athletic profile doesn’t lean favorably to a similar role at the professional level. Gillespie can also play special teams.
This move puts the Titans at 91 players, which means they’ll have to waive another player after parting with six players on Tuesday. We expect a corresponding move to be announced later on Wednesday.
The Titans hit the field for their first joint practice against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday.