Previewing the Titans’ “final” 53-man roster and depth chart

After five weeks of training camp and preseason games, it’s time for the Titans to cut some good players, as I predicted two months ago. It’s also a time for the Titans to cut some young prospects with a future, as Tom wrote about when he predicted (before the draft) the Titans wouldn’t have enough room to keep all their draft picks. Then the Titans drafted an extra player to this year’s class, further exacerbating the problem.
One draft pick they are keeping is DT Sen’Derrick Marks, who, based on his training camp and preseason performance, doesn’t deserve to be kept. The Titans need to keep four DTs in the rotation and Marks’ status as a second-round pick means the Titans will probably have to keep five, which really sticks in my craw. I’ll rant more about that in a couple of days. For now, I’ve got that costing somebody, probably Jason McCourty, a job.
I’m one of those who believe that the Titans’ “final” roster may be so for only 24 hours. Like all other teams, the Titans will be checking the waiver wire to see who’s been cut and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them claim a safety, receiver, nickelback or corner. I’m not expecting them to get lucky enough to find a good corner, like they did a few years ago when Buffalo cut Eric King, but you never can tell.

Drexel is planning to write about that, so stay tuned.
Now, here’s my prediction for the not so final 53, presented here as both a depth chart and roster. For depth chart purposes, I’ve got three players listed twice here, Mark Jones as both a receiver and returner, Ken Amato as a snapper and linebacker, and Vince Fuller as both a nickel and free safety. Don’t worry, I only counted them only once apiece towards the roster.
QB – Collins, Young, Ramsey
For more on keeping two or three QBs, check out this article.
RB – Johnson, White, Ringer, Ganther
I’m making the assumption that Ganther’s injury last night isn’t serious. Henry finally ran hard but it’s now his third year. Why didn’t he show any of that in the last two years and why wait until facing a second and third-string defense in the final preseason contest? Too little, too late.
FB – Hall
WR – Gage, Washington, Britt, Edison, Jones (also KR/PR)
There are only five receivers here, not six, as the Titans normally keep, and that’s mainly due to Jared Cook. He’ll not only take playing time away from a WR, he’s also taking a roster spot. Jones makes the roster for his return abilities and is included here as well, although I don’t expect to see him used much as a WR. If I’m wrong about just one position group, it’s probably this one, because Lavelle Hawkins probably makes the team as well. Whose roster spot does that take? Patrick Ramsey’s?
TE – Scaife, Crumpler, Cook, Stevens
I expect Stevens to be inactive every week when the first three are healthy but he’s in the Titans’ long-term plans and therefore has a roster spot.
LT – Roos, Otto
LG – Amano
C – Mawae, Harris
RG – Scott
RT – Stewart, Kropog
I’ve been keeping an eye on the interior line competition among the reserves behind Leroy Harris. When Matt Lehr was brought in, I thought it was to possibly upgrade the competition, but he was the first man cut. In the end, Fernando Velasco was clearly the winner of that competition, over Durand and Murphy, but I couldn’t find a roster spot for him. Part of that is because of Kropog, who, like Daniel Loper, is a swingman who can move inside to play guard if needed.
LDE – Kearse, Ford, Hayes
LDT – Haye, Jones
RDT – Brown, Vickerson, Marks
RDE – Vanden Bosch, Ball
Vickerson thoroughly outperformed Marks throughout training camp and in the preseason games, as I mentioned above. As the fourth DT in the rotation, I had to keep Vickerson on the roster, which cost CB Jason McCourty a roster spot here. Marks will join Stevens in wearing street clothes every week.
SLB – Thornton, McRath, Amato (also LS)
MLB – Tulloch, Allred
WLB – Bulluck, Keglar
The big surprise to some people may be Colin Allred. He’s not as good a MLB as Ryan Fowler but he can play all three LB positions and is much better than Fowler on special teams, which earns him a roster spot. Fowler will be picked up by some team needing another MLB and Josh Stamer could be claimed by someone to play special teams.
LCB – Harper, Williams
RCB – Finnegan, Faggins
SS – Hope, Nickey
FS – Griffin, Fuller
NB – Fuller, Mouton
I believe the coaches would like to keep McCourty but he’s fifth among the corners (not including the nickels). The wildcard here is Mouton and his injury. If he won’t be available for a while, the Titans may need to put him on PUP. If that happens, I believe the Titans have to seriously consider keeping Tanard Davis until Mouton is ready to play. Or perhaps you simply keep Mouton on the 53-man but not the 45-man gameday active roster. Davis could easily be replaced here by a waiver wire pickup.
K – Bironas
P – Hentrich
LS – Amato
KR/PR – Jones
Finally, not that it matters much, but ….

Practice squad – Velasco, Durand, Hawkins, Morris, Schommer, Tuff Harris, Birdine, King
If Ramsey doesn’t make the roster, look for the Titans to pick up a young QB here, like they’ve done in recent years with Matt Mauck and Ingle Martin. 

That’s what I believe the Titans will do. Your turn, guys. Tell me where I’m wrong. Who would you add to that roster and who does he replace?

Note: After attending every open practice in training camp and watching every preseason game (two home games live, three away games on TV) I feel very comfortable in having a good, strong handle on the depth chart, the who’s ahead of who in the pecking order, at each position. What I’m not quite as sure about is the Titans’ outlook on position vs position in formulating their final 53. For example, if they have to keep an extra DT, at what position group do they cut someone else? Or another example, if an additional special teams player is needed for kick coverage, how much value is that given vs the value of depth at a position group?

14 Responses to “Previewing the Titans’ “final” 53-man roster and depth chart”

  1. Jamie Says:

    Well, I think you’re wrong about Mark Jones…

  2. Andrew Strickert Says:

    He’s probably not the only one I’m wrong about, Jamie.
    Who takes his roster spot? Does he return kicks and punts or do others do that?
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. TT Says:

    Yeah, with Mark Jones cut, I think Ringer will clearly return kickoffs, but who’s supposed to handle punts? I guess they keep Tanard Davis to do that and then maybe hand off to Mouton when he’s healthy?
    Andrew, who did you see as being the #2 punt returner behind Mark Jones?

  4. Garland Says:

    Petey Faggins didn’t make the cut.

  5. Andrew Strickert Says:

    Update: according to Jim Wyatt, the Titans have cut Jones, Faggins, Velasco, Paul Williams, Cramer, Boiman, Stamer, Schommer, Tuff Harris, Morris, Mulligan, Trapasso and Murphy. It’s a little surprising to me that Fisher would cut a veteran corner who isn’t any worse than Williams or McCourty. Must be a youth movement. McCourty just got a new lease on life.
    TT, with Jones cut, there are several options at PR. Griffin and Finnegan can, but probably won’t be used. Mouton will be the guy when he gets healthy. Until then, they’ll probably go with Britt.
    More cuts still to come.

  6. Will Says:

    Add Mitch King (no surprise), Matthew Mulligan, and A.J. Trapasso to the list of cuts.
    I live in Texas and watch the Texans quite often, so don’t get me started on Faggins.
    I wonder if Lavelle Hawkins can return punts, or will he be shown the door on Saturday?

  7. Morgan Says:

    Maybe now kenny Britt will get his chance at PR. He said he’s been tryin to convince the coaches that he can take the punishment, but they are still learey about it.
    When the draft was on i was extremely disappointed that the titans pass on Evander Hood, but we ended up with Britt because of it, that calmed the nerves a bit, but Marks has been stinkin it up as you said. That being said though the titans have a good track record for drafting players and DT is a position you dont see imediate production from.

  8. TT Says:

    I don’t know… I have my doubts that Fisher would put a rookie with virtually no experience returning punts (i.e. Britt) on the national stage for his first game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I can guarantee at least one muff by an inexperienced rookie in that environment. And especially with Washington out for a while, an injury to Britt while he’s out returning would be even further devastating to the receiver core.
    My guess is Fisher will put Finnegan out there and tell him to be smart with his returns (run out of bounds rather than take any hits if possible) until Mouton is back by week 2 or 3 to take over punt returns.

  9. Jamie Says:

    Hmm, can’t say I’ve been too surprised by anything yet (except Mark Jones – definitely thought he was sticking around after his performance last night and the non-signing of a new WR).
    Paul Williams, Casey Cramer, Phillip Morris, Jason Murphy, Nick Schommer, Fernando Velasco, Mitch King, Lekkerkerkerkerker, Rodney Ferguson, Mulligan, and Trapasso were goners.
    Thought Stamer or Boiman might hang on (maybe the latter was just nostalgic thinking on my part).
    Faggins was terrible, but that’s never stopped the Titans before with some of their corners. And he did have a nice pass defended last night. But not surprised to see him go. Pretty much the same goes for Tanard, who I liked more probably because he played less.
    I guess Tuff Harris surprised me a little, but just because I (along with pretty much everyone else, I think) like him. But it seemed pretty clear that we didn’t have a spot for him, and I’m guessing he’ll hang around on the practice squad. Feisty guy who I’d like to see develop more.
    That leaves 5 more cuts, right?
    If not Henry, then Ganther. If not Fowler, then Allred. If not Durand, then Craig Stevens. Just don’t think they have space for Ramsey or Birdine.

  10. Ken Says:

    Where was it reported that Ferguson was cut?

  11. Morgan Says:

    TT they have already been trying Britt on PR’s.
    Check out this article in the Nashvillecitypaper, Titans special teams coach said he looked good and natural. The risk of injury on PR can be fairly high, so i personally would rather see somebody else do it.
    “I averaged like two-and-a-half touchdowns a game my junior year, and my senior year, they didn’t kick it to me,” Britt said.
    He has experience returning punts, just not in his senior year.

  12. Tom Gower Says:

    Edison says he was told he’d make the 53-man. I have them at 56 with the following players on the bubble:
    DE Larry Birdine, DT Kevin Vickerson, LB Colin Allred, LB Ryan Fowler (though I really don’t think he’s a candidate), QB Patrick Ramsey, RB Chris Henry, WR Lavelle Hawkins

  13. JERRY Says:

    I would cut henry, ganther, and birdine. I could see cutting hawkins if they sign a receiver.

  14. Ken Says:

    Trade Fowler to Philly ( who have current need & lost to the Titans in signing him) (maybe for Reggie Brown?) then cut Birdine & Henry…done!

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