The Tennessee Titans play their first 2023 preseason contest against the Chicago Bears this weekend. This feels like an opportune moment to publish our latest 53-man roster projection. The Titans are less than one month away (August 29th) from finalizing their initial 53-man roster.
A lot has happened in recent weeks. DeAndre Hopkins was added via unrestricted free agency. Nicholas Petit-Frere was suspended, JaMarco Jones was released, and Chris Hubbard was signed. All of these moves have impacted the overall makeup of the current 90-man squad.
Let’s jump into the roster with my projected 53 as of today.
Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis, Will Levis (3)
The Titans don’t have to “choose” between Will Levis and Malik Willis. They’ve rarely rostered three quarterbacks throughout Mike Vrabel’s tenure, but now’s the opportune time to change that. Willis has flashed some much-needed growth throughout the summer, showing better decisiveness and accuracy. Levis has begun stringing together some consistency in practice. The preseason will be exciting.
Derrick Henry, Tyjae Spears, Jonathan Ward (3)
I still think Hassan Haskins gets released as his legal situation continues playing out. Jim Wyatt recently told me that Ward was a “standout performer” at organized team activities (OTAs). Haskins obviously remains in the mix, as does Julius Chestnut, who can return kicks.
DeAndre Hopkins, Treylon Burks, Chris Moore, Kyle Philips, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Reggie Roberson Jr. (6)
The addition of Hopkins has transformed this group’s overall ceiling. Burks appears poised to break out. Philips and Moore are locks. I believe special teams and familiarity will save Westbrook-Ikhine.
Competition for the sixth (and projected) final spot is fierce. Colton Dowell is a draft pick, but hasn’t done much at camp. Kearis Jackson, Racey McMath, Gavin Holmes, Mason Kinsey, and Tre’Shaun Harrison are some of the other names in the mix. The most impressive candidate has been Reggie Roberson Jr. The former SMU standout has caught several touchdowns throughout recent practices.
Chigo Okonkwo, Trevon Wesco, Josh Whyle, Alize Mack (4)
Chig Okonkwo should have an excellent sophomore season. Trevon Wesco is the new Geoff Swaim in a critical blocking-first role. An injury limited Josh Whyle’s early participation, but he’s healthier now. Alize Mack has been a surprising performer at camp. He could secure a pass-catching role.
Andre Dillard, Peter Skoronski, Aaron Brewer, Daniel Brunskill, Chris Hubbard, Corey Levin, Jaelyn Duncan, John Ojukwu, Xavier Newman-Johnson (9)
Physically Unable to Perform: Dillon Radunz
Suspended: Nicholas Petit-Frere
This group has experienced an abundance of change. Veteran Chris Hubbard is the in-house favorite to start in Petit-Frere’s place in the wake of JaMarco Jones’ release. I also have Jaelyn Duncan and John Ojukwu making the roster as reserve tackles, but the Titans could look for more experience on the market.
Dillon Radunz will likely start the regular season on the PUP after suffering a late-year torn ACL. I had Xavier Newman-Johnson and Jordan Roos battling for the ninth and final spot. I went with Newman-Johnson’s upside, but Corey Levin is their best reserve interior linemen.
TOTAL KEPT ON OFFENSE: 25
Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, Teair Tart, Jayden Peevy, Shakel Brown (5)
Second-year undrafted free agnet Jayden Peevy has been the talk of camp, earning praise from Vrabel, defensive coordinator Shane Bowen, and defensive line coach Terrell Williams. Peevy is solidifying his spot on the 53-man roster. Tyler Shelvin, NaQuan Jones, Shakel Brown, and T.K. McLendon Jr. are battling for a spot. None of these options have impressed much at camp.
Harold Landry, Arden Key, Rashad Weaver, Sam Okuayinonu, Otis Reese IV (5)
Denico Autry’s versatility allows the Titans to go lighter if desired. Harold Landry and Arden Key should be the starters. Rookie undrafted free agents Caleb Murphy and Thomas Rush should land on the practice squad. Special teams prowess could help Otis Reese claim a spot.
Azeez Al-Shaair, Jack Gibbens, Monty Rice, Luke Gifford, Ben Niemann (5)
Jack Gibbens currently has the inside track to start next to Azeez Al-Shaair. Luke Gifford and Ben Niemann are special teams aces. I don’t have Chance Campbell sticking, although I’m intrigued to monitor his progress throughout the preseason.
Kristian Fulton, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Roger McCreary, Elijah Molden, Caleb Farley, Tre Avery (6)
Kristian Fulton, Roger McCreary and Sean Murphy-Bunting will be the team’s top three cornerbacks. Releasing Caleb Farley would cost the Titans approximately $2 million against the 2023 cap, so I don’t see that happening. Tre Avery played well enough as an undrafted free agent to maintain a roster spot. I’m excited to see how Elijah Molden gets back into the mix after a wasted sophomore season.
Kevin Byard, Amani Hooker, Shyheim Carter, A.J. Moore Jr. (4)
Shyheim Carter had an interception in practice. The team recently pursued a reunion with A.J. Moore, who was signed in free agency. Moore was with the team last year before landing on season-ending IR. I’d still like to see Joshua Kalu get added to this roster.
TOTAL KEPT ON DEFENSE: 25
Trey Wolff (K), Ryan Stonehouse (P), Morgan Cox (LS) (3)
I’m currently backing Trey Wolff to defeat Caleb Shudak in the team’s kicking competition, although it’s been close. Ryan Stonehouse established himself as one of the league’s best punters as a rookie. Morgan Cox returns as an elite long snapper.