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VOL. 42 | NO. 35 | Friday, August 31, 2018

How the Titans' roster will likely shake out

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We’ll take a little different tack this week, since, for one, the preseason finale with the Minnesota Vikings will have already been played when this is published, and the season opener with the Miami Dolphins doesn’t take place until Sept. 9.

But there is something very important that will take place between those games – namely the roster cut to 53 players.

There likely will be a player or two added who was not in the Titans camp via waivers, trade or signing.

But we will go with the players who have been in camp as we take a shot at picking the Titans’ 53-man roster.

Quarterback (2):

Marcus Mariota, Blaine Gabbert

Third-stringer Luke Falk could probably use some seasoning, so the guess here is he lands on the practice squad.

Running back (3):

Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis, David Fluellen

The Titans didn’t have a fullback in camp, so that opens a spot to keep an extra running back. It could give the Titans cause to keep a fourth running back in undrafted Akrum Wadley. But for now, three running backs and another on the practice squad should work because only three will be active on game days.

Tight end (4):

Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith, Luke Stocker, Anthony Firkser

Firkser is the surprise here, but the Titans kept four tight ends last year and claim they will use two tight-end sets often, despite the change in offensive philosophy. Of the long shots, Firkser has easily shown the most in camp.

Wide receivers (6):

Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews, Taywan Taylor, Tajae Sharpe, Nick Williams, Darius Jennings.

The first four are set, and Williams showed enough in the slot and on special teams to have the spot the Titans probably thought would have been Michael Campararo’s. Jennings’ production has tailed off lately, but he impressed coaches with his effort and play and was being used as a special teams gunner in preseason. Deontay Burnett and Devin Ross also deserve consideration, but probably need some practice squad seasoning before they are ready.

Offensive line (8):

Taylor Lewan, Quinton Spain, Ben Jones, Josh Kline, Jack Conklin, Dennis Kelly, Kevin Pamphile, Corey Levin

The Titans might be tempted to carry nine players here, with Conklin likely not being ready to start the season as he works back from knee surgery. But to help at other positions, they probably go with the customary eight, with Levin edging out free agent signee Xavier Su’a-Filo for the last spot.

Defensive line (6):

Jurrell Casey, DaQuan Jones, Austin Johnson, Bennie Logan, David King, Julius Warmsley

Warmsley is the surprise, earning praise from Vrabel at various times. Matt Dickerson is another lineman who has been active and could possibly unseat Logan if the Titans want to go younger and cheaper on the d-line.

Outside linebacker (6):

Derrick Morgan, Brian Orakpo, Aaron Wallace, Harold Landry, Josh Carraway, Sharif Finch

Morgan, Orakpo and Landry are dealing with injuries, which might open the door for Carraway and Finch, an undrafted rookie, to stick on the 53-man roster, at least initially.

Inside linebacker (5):

Wesley Woodyard, Will Compton, Rashaan Evans, Jayon Brown, Daron Bates

Evans is the wild-card here. He has missed virtually all of camp and preseason due to injury. That leaves only four healthy guys perhaps for the opener, though Wallace can fill in on the inside if needed.

Cornerback (5):

Malcolm Butler, Adoree’ Jackson, Logan Ryan, LeShaun Sims, Kenneth Durden

The top four here are etched in stone. With season-ending injuries to Tye Smith and Kalen Reed, long shots like Durden or Demontre Hurst might make it based on need and being the most productive of the backups in camp.

Safety (5):

Kevin Byard, Kenny Vaccaro, Dane Cruikshank, Kendrick Lewis, Brynden Trawick

Injuries have hit here too, with Johanathan Cyprien suffering a torn ACL early in camp, prompting the signing of Vaccaro. Cruikshank and Lewis have missed time with injuries as well, leaving the depth here very questionable.

Specialists (3):

Punter Brett Kern, kicker Ryan Succop, long snapper Beau Brinkley

No changes here as this trio is as steady as any in the league.

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