Malik Willis is the No. 2 quarterback... For now.
This is par for the course. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel called Willis the No. 2 quarterback after Will Levis was drafted and that currently remains the case. We fully expect Willis to start against the Chicago Bears this Saturday. Levis has begun stacking consistent practices together and has received some work with the second-team offense as a result. Levis may continue eating into Willis’ workload, but the former Kentucky standout has more work to do.
Wide receivers as expected
The Titans listed two starting receivers on offense. The depth chart is written in 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends, and two receivers). To nobody’s surprise, they are DeAndre Hopkins and Treylon Burks. Chris Moore and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine are listed behind them. This qualifies as accurate. A slot receiver isn’t listed. We assume it would be Kyle Philips.
Chris Hubbard is listed as the starting right tackle
JaMarco Jones’ release threw a wrench in Tennessee’s plans to survive the Nicholas Petit-Frere suspension. As expected, veteran swing tackle Chris Hubbard is listed as the starting right tackle. Hubbard will face competition throughout the preseason, but he’s the hands-on favorite to claim the job.
An unlikely candidate at RT?
When discussing Hubbard’s competition, we’ve often brought up the names of Justin Murray, Jaelyn Duncan, John Ojukwu, and even Andrew Rupcich. None of those are listed as the backup right tackle, however. That title belongs to Zack Johnson. Of the five candidates mentioned in total, Johnson is the only one who actually played for the Titans last season.
Jack Gibbens is listed ahead of Monty Rice
Many Titans fans expected former third-round pick Monty Rice to start next to Azeez Al-Shaair at inside linebacker. It’s been second-year undrafted free agent Jack Gibbens that’s taken the majority of first-team reps, however. That is reflected on the depth chart, where Gibbens is listed as a starter.
Is Elijah Molden a safety?
Months ago, we reported that Elijah Molden had been deployed as a safety in sub-package defense. Molden has transitioned to more of a hybrid defender role as opposed to a nickel-only corner. Molden is actually listed at safety on the depth chart. Perhaps that’s why the Titans have largely ignored the depth behind Kevin Byard and Amani Hooker.
Caleb Shudak is listed ahead of Trey Wolff
Second-year kicker Caleb Shudak is listed ahead of Trey Wolff in the team’s fierce kicking competition. This isn’t a surprise, as the Titans are likely showing more respect to the sophomore than the rookie. It doesn’t mean Shudak will defeat Wolff. That decision will come at the conclusion of the preseason.
Jadeyn Peevy is playing everywhere
Jayden Peevy has received a lot of love from Vrabel, defensive line coach Terrell Williams, and defensive coordinator Shane Bowen for the strides he’s made this summer. Peevy is pushing Teair Tart for the starting nose tackle job. Once viewed as exclusively a nose tackle, Peeby has become more versatile this summer. He’s listed as Denico Autry’s backup on this depth chart. That insinuates he’ll be playing multiple roles.
Tre Avery is Kristian Fulton’s backup
Kristian Fulton is listed as the No. 1 cornerback. A slash separates Sean Murphy-Bunting and Roger McCreary. It makes sense because these three cornerbacks will play the most. Second-year UDFA Tre Avery is listed as Fulton’s backup. After an impressive rookie season, we do expect Avery to be the primary backup at boundary corner.
Kyle Philips & Julius Chestnut are the returners
Kyle Philips is listed as the starting punt returner, and Julius Chestnut is listed as the kick returner. Mason Kinsey is Philips’ prime challenger. Hassan Haskins and Tyjae Spears are in the mix at kick returner. We expect other players like Reggie Roberson Jr. and Eric Garror to receive opportunities in the preseason as well.
For more on the first unofficial depth chart, listen to today’s Home Run Throwback podcast here.