NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Titans’ preliminary 53-man roster options no less than two surprises, in addition to a wealth of defensive linemen.
The unlikely inclusions had been each undrafted free brokers — operating again Julius Chestnut from Sacred Coronary heart College and cornerback Tre Avery from Rutgers. Chestnut led the Titans in preseason dashing (26 carries, 101 yards, one landing) whereas Avery contributed eight touchdowns.
There are seven defensive gamers on the beginning roster, however that quantity may change within the coming days as Denico Autry may find yourself on injured reserve (that means he’ll should miss 4 video games). Moreover, the Titans may declare a participant or extra off waivers, probably reducing a defensive lineman to make room.
Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the 53 starters:
Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis
Outlook: Early within the offseason — and maybe early in coaching camp — it appeared just like the Titans can be a three-quarterback staff, with Logan Woodside backing up Tannehill. However Willis confirmed sufficient progress and playmaking potential to earn the bench spot, whereas Woodside’s subpar coaching camp and preseason led to his launch. Woodside seems to be a apply squad lock if he clears waivers. In the meantime, Tannehill — who has began 43 straight regular-season video games for the Titans — will look to bounce again from a disappointing 2021 season.
Operating again (5)
Derrick Henry, Dontrell Hilliard, Hassan Haskins, Julius Chestnut and Tory Carter
Outlook: The large shock right here is unquestionably Chestnut, who beat the chances. He is an enormous man and strikes nicely, however are the Titans actually going to hold 5 backs for lengthy? Henry will as soon as once more be the workhorse after lacking 9 regular-season video games with a damaged leg in 2021. He is wholesome, however should show he is at his conventional super-human ranges. Hilliard has confirmed a pleasant change of tempo that may go into third downs. Haskins, a fourth-round decide final April, did not present a lot whereas operating behind backup quarterbacks throughout the preseason, carrying 27 instances for 69 yards. However he confirmed good palms (team-high eight receptions) and talent to guard the passer.
Large Receiver (5)
Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Treylon Burks, Kyle Philips and Racey McMath
Outlook: There may be plenty of uncertainty on this place. Woods is a confirmed vet, however has but to indicate how nicely he’ll bounce again from ACL surgical procedure. Burks, the staff’s first-round decide final April, has had nice abilities however has additionally been sidelined by accidents, conditioning and bronchial asthma points. After reducing Dez Fitzpatrick, it would not be stunning to see the Titans place a waiver declare on a large receiver.
HARD END (3)
Austin Hooper, Geoff Swaim and Chig Okonkwo
Outlook: Hooper is an improve from the 2021 tight finish, and he ought to have loads of targets. The query is whether or not his numbers will likely be nearer to his closing two seasons in Cleveland (mixed 84 catches, seven touchdowns) or his earlier two Professional-Bowl campaigns in Atlanta (mixed 146 catches, 10 touchdowns). Okonkwo, a fourth-round draft decide final April, is the X-factor right here, a possible participant if he can enhance within the blocking and route-running departments.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
Taylor Lewan, Aaron Brewer, Ben Jones, Nate Davis, Nicholas Petit-Frere, Dillon Radunz, Dennis Daley, Jamarco Jones and Corey Levin
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Outlook: This group should show that they’re nearly as good as final 12 months’s group, which was solely common. Can the advantages of Brewer’s pace and athleticism outweigh his lack of measurement? Is Petit-Frere able to hit the bottom operating as a rookie and the way a lot assistance will the Titans want to offer him? These are the 2 principal questions for rookies. So far as reserves go, it speaks volumes that the Titans felt the necessity to purchase the versatile Daley from Carolina on Monday. Others, together with Radunz, typically appeared shaky throughout coaching camp and the preseason. Just like the extensive receiver spot, this seems like a place group that would see extra modifications within the coming days or even weeks.
DEFENSIVE LINE (7)
Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, Teair Tart, Naquan Jones, DeMarcus Walker, Kevin Sturdy and Da’Shawn Hand
Outlook: This seems like a gaggle that may shrink within the coming days. The Titans needed to hold Autry on the beginning 53-man roster to be eligible for the season, however he may now go on injured reserve after lacking most of camp. And if the Titans make waiver claims at different positions, a defensive lineman may find yourself getting reduce. That stated, this is perhaps probably the most stocked place other than the sting rushers. Autry and Simmons mixed for 17.5 sacks final season, each wreaking havoc in offensive backfields. Tart seems to have had a really robust offseason and coaching camp. Jones supplies one other massive physique in the course of the road, whereas Walker provides inside/exterior versatility.
INSIDE LINEBACKER (4)
Names: Zach Cunningham, David Lengthy, Likelihood Campbell and Dylan Cole (be aware: (Monty Rice should miss no less than the primary 4 video games on the Reserve-PUP record. He doesn’t depend on the 53-man roster.)
Outlook: Starters Cunningham and Lengthy seem to be a great complementary pair, as Cunningham is especially robust towards the run and Lengthy has actually improved in go protection. Rice can be a great third baseman primarily based on his manufacturing whereas wholesome final 12 months as a rookie. However after that it is a bit skinny. Campbell is a rookie and Cole has performed simply 9 video games for the Titans.
EXTERNAL COOPERATION (4)
Harold Landry, Bud Dupree, Rashad Weaver and Ola Adeniyi
Outlook: It might be onerous to discover a higher set of positions on this record than this one, particularly if Dupree returns to the shape he had in 2020 earlier than struggling a torn ACL. Remember that Autry additionally spends plenty of time on the rim in passing conditions. Weaver had an important preseason and he ought to present beneficial rotation assist along with his measurement and size.
Christian Fulton, Roger McCreary, Caleb Farley, Elijah Molden, Ugo Amadi and Tre Avery
Outlook: There’s little doubt in regards to the potential right here, because the Titans have a first-round decide (Farley), two second-round picks (McCreary and Fulton) and a third-round decide (Molden) among the many high 4. However that quartet additionally boasts a mixed 4 years of NFL expertise, a complete that features Farley’s 60-snap rookie season in 2021. One query that have to be answered: What’s Molden’s well being standing, who did not play a single preseason sport and missed a number of practices throughout coaching camp? That is why the addition of Amadi, who primarily performs within the slot, must be a lift. Avery was the large shock, making the staff as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers. Will he final?
Kevin Byard, Amani Hooker, Josh Kalu, Lonnie Johnson and AJ Moore
Outlook: There aren’t any doubts in regards to the rookies, as Byard – a two-time All-Professional – and Hooker kind among the best teams within the sport. However there’s a massive drop in reserves right here. Johnson was added late within the preseason, whereas Kalu and Moore have been identified extra for his or her work on particular groups. Amadi has performed secure just a few instances previously, so he may assist out if wanted.
Randy Bullock, Ryan Stonehouse, Morgan Cox
Outlook: Bullock linked on 5 of 5 makes an attempt within the preseason, which included discipline objectives of 49, 50 and 51 yards. That is a superb signal for somebody who was 9 out of 14 out of 40-plus yards in 2021. However Stonehouse was the actual eye-opener on this group, averaging over 50 yards (gross) on 13 preseason carries and beating out veteran Brett Kern for the job. If he can develop into nearly as good as Kern was at pinning opponents deep, be careful.