It will be an uphill battle for all of the Tennessee Titans’ undrafted free agents, especially those on the offensive side of the ball as they seek to find a home on the roster.
But, the wide receivers have more cause for optimism than most others.
The Titans have three locks to make the roster at wide receiver – Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. However, the competition for the other slots appears to be wide open.
Michael Preston may have an advantage because of his limited experience and Marc Mariani will certainly get a long look, but coach Ken Whisenhunt made it clear that the undrafted wide receivers will get plenty of opportunity.
The Titans have six undrafted wide receivers on their rookie minicamp roster and another two are currently in tryouts.
As for four who could get into the mix for roster spots:
Jaz Reynolds, Oklahoma. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound Reynolds, who has a vertical jump of 35 inches, definitely passes the eye test. His speed is decent, as he ran a 4.57 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.
Reynolds had a big 2011 season for the Sooners, posting 41 catches for an average of 17.4 yards along with five touchdowns, however he was suspended for the entire 2012 season after violating team rules. During his final year, he totaled just 14 catches and one touchdown.
Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State. If the 5-10, 178-pound Stewart – who declared for the draft as a junior – was just a little bigger or faster, you can bet he would have been selected.
During his sophomore year, he posted 101 catches for a total of 1,210 yards along with seven touchdowns, however during his junior year, he posted just 60 catches for a total of 707 yards along with three touchdowns. Both seasons weren’t too shabby, but more was expected of him as a junior.
He ran a 4.63 40-yard dash, but his slight frame might not hold up to a lot of heavy hits.
Stewart is also a return threat, as he averaged nearly 17 yards per punt return last season and scored a pair of touchdowns.
Derel Walker, Texas A&M. The 6-1, 188-pound Walker spent just two seasons with the Aggies after transferring in from Trinity Valley Community College, but he made the most of his senior year.
Working with quarterback Johnny Manziel, Walker produced 51 catches for 818 yards along with five touchdowns.
The fact that he was only productive for one season at the major college level, and his middle-of-the-road 4.65 40-yard dash, were likely the reasons he wasn’t drafted.
But Walker did flourish, totaling 20 receptionsn for 380 yards and three touchdowns over his last four games. The scouting report on him is that he has good hands and runs good routes.
Eric Ward, Texas Tech. The 5-11, 203-pound Ward wasn’t drafted because he had only average height and average speed, but that didn’t stop him from being a tremendous playmaker in college.
He racked up more than 80 catches in each of his last three seasons, and his 83 catches last year ranked second in the Big 12. Ward also posted a combined 31 touchdowns during that stretch.
Ward might work especially well as a slot receiver.