With Kenny Britt's status in question, the Titans could carry more wide receivers than they did last September when the final 53-man roster was unveiled.
In 2011, five wide receivers made the final roster after training camp. The Titans, however, have always placed emphasis on winning the battle in the trenches. Last fall, Tennessee kept 10 offensive linemen and 10 defensive linemen after final cuts. It's reasonable to expect they could enter the regular season with double-digits at each position group.
Stock Rising: RB Darius Reynaud, DE Pannel Egboh, RG Ryan Durand, DT Zach Clayton. Egboh spent last season on the practice squad but has received reps with the first team throughout training camp. The third-year defensive end is an imposing figure (6-6, 287) and continues to develop a counter move. Egboh is close to becoming a lock. Reynaud and Durand both helped their chances with strong efforts at Seattle. Clayton may have moved ahead of Shaun Smith with a sack and two quarterback hits vs. the Seahawks.
Stock Falling: RB Jamie Harper, TE Brandon Barden, S Markelle Martin, DT Shaun Smith. Barden (hamstring) and Martin (knee) didn't make the trip to Seattle. Harper slides slightly after Reynaud's impressive effort in the opener. Smith appeared mostly with the second team against the Seahawks and may have to make a push to earn a spot on the roster.
Here are our position-by-position projections:
QB -- In: (3) Jake Locker, Matt Hasselbeck, Rusty Smith. Out: Nick Stephens. Analysis: The only question here is whether the Titans decide to keep two quarterbacks and release Smith. Despite appearing in all 16 games last season, Hasselbeck is injury-prone. Though a potential release of Smith could help the Titans' depth at another spot, it might be too risky.
RB -- In: (5) Chris Johnson, Javon Ringer, Reynaud, Harper, Quinn Johnson (FB). Out: Herb Donaldson, Collin Mooney. Analysis: No player on the Titans' roster enhanced his chances of making the team after Week 1 more than Reynaud. The fourth-year running back displayed a burst to the outside on a 21-yard touchdown and showed his elusiveness on an 85-yard punt return for a score. Reynaud's emergence could put Harper on the bubble, but the 233-pound back is the Titans' only power runner. The battle at fullback is tight, but Johnson has more experience.
WR -- In: (5) Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Damian Williams, Lavelle Hawkins, Marc Mariani. Out: Michael Preston, D.J. Woods, James Kirkendoll, Chase Deadder, LaQuinton Evans. Reserve/Suspended List: Britt. Analysis: The final spot may come down to Mariani and Preston. The selection of Wright in April may have made Mariani expendable. But the third-year receiver has impressed the staff with his work ethic and ability to find separation downfield. At 6-5, Preston offers the Titans insurance if Britt is out for an extended period. Mariani may have the edge because of his special-teams capabilities.
TE -- In: (3) Jared Cook, Craig Stevens, Taylor Thompson. Out: Joey Haynos, Cameron Graham, Barden. Analysis: At 6-8, Haynos is one of the tallest players in the league and provides an intriguing option for the Titans in goal-line situations. Offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, however, said he uncovered a diamond in the rough in Thompson. The 6-6, 268-pound rookie tight end is a virtual lock to make the team.
OL -- In: (10) Michael Roos, Steve Hutchinson, Fernando Velasco, Leroy Harris, David Stewart, Kevin Matthews, Mike Otto, Durand, Byron Stingily, Kyle DeVan. Out: Chris Morris, George Bias, Troy Kropog, William Vlachos. Analysis: As a Hall of Fame offensive guard, coach Mike Munchak always has placed a premium on strong offensive line play. Munchak looks for smart, versatile linemen who have the ability to play multiple positions. Durand, Stingily and DeVan could be battling with Morris and Kropog for the final spots on the roster. Both DeVan and Morris can play at center and guard. After the loss of Eugene Amano for the season, it's critical for the Titans to have three centers on the roster.
DL -- In: (10) Kamerion Wimbley, Derrick Morgan, Egboh, Scott Solomon, Jurrell Casey, Sen'Derrick Marks, Karl Klug, Mike Martin, Leger Douzable, Clayton. Out: Malcolm Sheppard, Shaun Smith, Dave Ball, Lamar Divens, Keyunta Dawson, DaJohn Harris. Analysis: The Titans have several linemen who have the ability to alternate between tackle and end. With the selections of Martin and Solomon in the draft, a few notable veterans could be on the outside looking in. Ball's history of concussions could make him a risky inclusion. While Smith is lighter and more mobile this offseason, Martin and Casey are both younger and cost the team less.
LB -- In: (6) Colin McCarthy, Akeem Ayers, Will Witherspoon, Zach Brown, Tim Shaw, Zac Diles. Out: Kevin Malast, Patrick Bailey, Gerald McRath. Analysis: The competition for the final two linebacker spots figures to be intense. With the top four linebackers -- McCarthy, Ayers, Witherspoon and Brown -- seemingly secure, five LBs will likely battle for the remaining spots. Both players will need to excel on special teams and be able to appear at all three linebacker positions to earn a spot on the roster. Shaw is the Titans' special team's ace, and Diles is more athletic than Malast and Bailey. Diles is also less injury-prone than McRath.
DB -- In: (8) Jason McCourty, Alterraun Verner, Tommie Campbell, Michael Griffin, Jordan Babineaux, Robert Johnson, Chris Hawkins, Coty Sensabaugh. Out: Ryan Mouton, Terrence Wheatley, Tracy Wilson, Aaron Francisco, Al Afalava, Christian Scott. PUP: Markelle Martin. Analysis: The top spots for the top five on the list are secure. Johnson has finally overcome a nagging hamstring injury and has swarmed toward the ball throughout camp. Hawkins has a four-inch height advantage over Mouton, whom he may be competing with for the final spot. The Titans could risk losing Sensabaugh if they decide to place the fourth-round pick on the practice squad.
Special Teams -- In: (3) Rob Bironas, Brett Kern and Beau Brinkley. Out: Will Batson. Analysis: Bironas and Kern are among the best at their position around the league. Brinkley, the lone long snapper on the roster, had a poor snap in a missed field goal in the preseason opener. The Titans could move Matthews to long snapper to open another spot, but it's more likely that Brinkley will remain on the roster.
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