The Tennessee Titans drafted six players and signed 13 undrafted free agents to fill their needs for the 2014 season. The list included eight offensive players, four defensive players and one kicker. However, there are still questions out there. One of those questions is who’s going to be on the 53-man roster when the Titans open the 2014 season against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 7, 2014. Here’s my take on which rookies will make the 53-man roster.
Locks to make the team
The Titans didn’t reach for the ratings with this pick, but they did address a need that could come up in 2015 by taking Taylor Lewan.
Michael Roos is entering the last year of his contract, and is also aging.
The Titans also signed Michael Oher in free agency to replace the departed David Stewart. He could opt out after 2014. It could leave the cupboard pretty bare at offensive tackle.
In other words, this could be a gaping hole next offseason.
That doesn’t leave a lot of room for Lewan to make an impact in 2014. However, I do think the Titans got a solid player who could be a cornerstone on this offensive line for years to come.
Sankey became the first running back taken off the board. He’s a guy that can handle a heavy workload.
He is also able at contributing in the passing game which was an area that Chris Johnson was sorely lacking in.
The Titans desperately needed a quarterback- Jake Locker has had his issues with injuries for the last two years. They declined to exercise the fifth-year option on Locker’s contract, meaning that Locker will be playing for his future in Tennessee this season. I expect Mettenberger to earn a spot on the 53-man roster because of his ability as a pure dropback and a strong-armed thrower. Let’s move on to the undrafted free agents.
His big frame at 6-4 should be a great addition to a 3-4 defensive front the Titans are changing to.
The Titans got themselves a player with a high ceiling and plenty of upside to become a formidable player on any part of the defensive lne.
What impresses me about Marqueston Huff is his ability to offer the Titans some flexibility in the secondary as a safety as well as a cornerback. In addition, he played safety in his senior season at Wyoming.
With this pick, the Titans got a high-character guy with great leadership qualities, which is what you love to see in your inside linebackerss. He’s a guy with potential to become a big special teams contributor.
Undrafted free agents in the hunt
The signing makes sense because the Titans were in search for a possible No. 4 running back on the depth chart behind Bishop Sankey, Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster. Versatility is what Tennessee will get out of Andrews, as he’s a powerful runner that can also contribute by catching the ball out of the backfield. In addition, he is a compact well-built, mid-major workhorse with a blend of one-cut and downhill elements who generally gains what is blocked for him and has a ceiling as a No. 2/tandem back in a man or zone-blocking scheme.
This is perhaps the best undrafted free-agent signing. He offers value at both defensive end and outside linebacker.
Gayle isn’t quite on the same level as Barr, but he is a solid pass-rusher. My only concern is that he’s limited in other areas of his game outside of simply rushing the passer. However, Gayle is a ultra-competitive player who has the tools to make the team as a special teams contributor at the very least. Gayle’s best shot at making the team is at defensive end because the Titans are thin at this position after Derrick Morgan, Ropati Pitoitua and Kemerion Wimbley.
Gayle has the best chance out of all the team’s undrafted free agents of making a moderate impact in 2014.
This is another productive undrafted free-agent signing for the Titans.
Smith tallied three interceptions last seasons for a very successful Louisville squad, but he was overshadowed by Calvin Pryor in the secondary.
The Titans will need help at this position next offseason if George Wilson isn’t retanied, so this addition was one that was a minor need in the draft.
Smith has an oustide chance of getting onto the final roster if he can beat out 2013 draft pick Daimion Stafford.
He was the best wide recevier signed out of the undrafted free agents for the Titans.
Wide receiver is another position that wasm’t addressed in the draft, and that didn’t come off as too much of a surprise.
However, there is always plenty of talent that goes undrafted at wide receiver. In the case of Walker, he capped off his Texas A&M career with his strongest season. He finished with five touchdowns in 2013 as Johnny Manziel’s No. 2 option alongside Mike Evans.
Walker looks to have the best chance out of all of them, as he faced tougher defensive competition in the SEC and still put up respectable numbers.
Josh Stewart is one of the four undrafted free-agent wide receivers for the Titans as they search for replacements of Damian Williams and Kenny Britt.
Stewart’s size and slow 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine is what likely caused him to settle for being signed as a free agent.
He was worth taking a chance on by the Titans, who need all the competition at this position that they can get when training camp rolls around. Stewart offers value as a kick returner as well, as he managed two punt return touchdowns last season.
Stewart was considered one of the top free agents available at wide receiver. The strongest part of his game is his ability to make defenders miss in open space, so a role as a slot receiver is his best chance.
Travis Cons became the kicker we expected the Titans to find in free agency, but he wasn’t among the top kicker prospects coming into the draft.
However, Cons did finish his collegiate career at Washington on a high note, finishing 15-for-16 on field-goal attempts.
His competition for a roster spot will come against another kicker with virtually no NFL experience, Maikon Bonani.
Coons has a better chance than any other Titans undrafted free agent of making the final roster. We’ll see Coons plenty in the preseason to see if he end up becoming the replacement of Rob Bironas. Not an easy act to follow.
The Titans had to get a kicker at some point, and Coons seems like a respectable choice. It’s also worth pointing out that Coons has experience as a punter as well, so the Titans are getting a versatile contributor to special teams with Coons.
The second undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma comes in the form of center Gabe Ikard.
Center has some questions on the depth chart behind Brian Schwenke, so Ikard should get some serious consideration for a roster spot.
Ikard was the fourth-rated center prospect. Not too shabby for the Titans to get such highly-rated prospect at any position this late in the process.
The biggest strength in Ikard’s games is his surprising quickness for the position, and he will be suited in a zone-blocking scheme.
The Titans got themselves what you could call a specialist at blocking kicks.
Merrell had an impressive seven blocked kicks while at Rutgers, so this guy definitely has special teams value written all over him.
A kidney injury in 2013 kept Merrell frmo probably reaching his full potential as a senior, but he is a solid tackler, which could lead to a roster spot on special teams.
David Wright has decent hands and good blocking ability. He is a very balanced player.
The Titans really needed another tight end to emerge alongside Delanie Walker, so Wrgiht could end up surprising people in training camp. Don’t could this guy out just because he comes from a tiny program.
Off-the-field issues is what probably caused Jaz Reynolds to go undrafted. It certainly couldn’t of been because of his physical abilities, which are prototypical for the next level.
Reynolds had a disjointed collegiate career at Oklahoma, but maximized his potential in 2011 when he hauled in 715 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
His productivity gradually decreased in his final season with the Sooners when he managed just 216 yards on 14 receptions.
If Reynolds can stay focused on football, then his raw talent can maybe earn him a spot on the practice squad.
Eric Ward rounds up the year’s class of wide receivers signed as undrafted free agents for the Titans.
Ward came up just short 1,000 yards in 2013 for a high-octane Texas Tech offense, and he has speed to burn that gives him a shot at the next level. He’s a player who thrives off racking up yards after the ctach, which helped him be among the leaders in the Big 12 in the respective category.
It will be difficult for Ward to find his onto the Titans roster due to size that doesn’t translate well to the NFL and the fact that the Titans have a lot of competition of this position already.
The Titans kind of addressed cornerback in the draft by drafting Marqueston Huff, but he’s more of a safety than a cornerback.
Ri’Shard Anderson becomes the lone cornerback signed as an undrafted free agent. He had one interception as a senior and considers the Titans the best situation for him to make the 53-man roster.
The Titans are pretty loaded at cornerback even with the loss of Alterraun Verner, so I don’t see there being much room to add an undrafted free agent at this position.