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An early look at the Titans roster status

Who stands where in the quest to make the Titans’ 53-man roster which we’ll see on opening day?  There are some guys we know are going to be there.  Others, we’re waiting to see how they play in the preseason and how they perform in the remaining six days of training camp.

Following is a position by position look at how the players stack up.  I’ve categorized them into four groups – those who are virtual locks to make the roster, those who have a good chance, those with a slim chance, and finally, the camp fodder.

I’ve also included a column for spots available, which in this case is the number of roster spots that position had on opening day of last year.  I expect that number to be slightly different at one or two positions this year.  For example, last year there were only two running backs on opening day (too bad there wasn’t a third spot for Blount.) 

This should be handy for seeing who may be in trouble competing for a limited number of spots at each position.

Pos Spots Virtual locks Good chance Slim chance Camp bodies
QB 3 Hasselbeck, Locker   Ratliff, Smith  
RB 2 C.Johnson, Ringer Harper S.Johnson Donaldson
FB 1  Hall   Tronzo Hill
WR 6 Britt, Washington, Williams, Mariani Hawkins, Gage Figurs, Kirkendoll, Preston Hills, Spencer
TE 3 Cook, Stevens, D.Graham     C.Graham, Geer
OL 9 Roos, Harris, Amano, Scott, Stewart Velasco, Otto, Stingily, Kropog, Matthews McQuistan, Durand Gray
DE 5 Morgan, Jones Hayes, Ball, Ford   Davis, Egboh
DT 4 Smith, Marks, Casey Klug, Clayton Haye Sheppard, Hartsell
LB 7 Witherspoon, Ruud, Ayers, McRath McCarthy Bailey, Shaw, Curran Malast, Ingram, Cornell, Stokes
CB 4 Finnegan, McCourty, Verner Walker Campbell, Ittersagen Hawkins, Lewis
S 6 Griffin Hope, Fuller, Babineaux Schommer, Johnson, Rolle, Smith  
ST 3 Bironas, Kern Amato   Cunningham
# 53 32 19 19 18

In some cases, these are categorized more by levels of quality than by chances of making the roster.  For example, safeties Hope, Fuller and Babineaux are on a higher level than Schommer, Johnson, Rolle and Smith.  Still, one or two of the latter group will probably make the roster.

I expect at least one of Bailey, Shaw and Curran to make the roster and very possibly two of them.  Despite their limitations as linebackers, they’re all good special teams players, which gives them value.

Defensive tackle looks to be a real battle.  We’ve got three virtual locks and two more who look too good to cut.  If the Titans keep only four of them, it will be hard to select between Klug and Clayton.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see 10 DL, five each at DT and DE.

If Jared Cook will be used in the slot and outside, he may take away a WR spot, leaving only 5 instead of the usual 6.  We speculated on that last year, but that was with a different coaching staff.  If this is the case, this would make Justin Gage and his inflated salary even more vulnerable.
Chris Hope is not listed as a virtual lock because of his $6M base salary.

I haven’t seen enough of a couple of new guys, Anthony Smith and Pat McQuistan, to include them as guys with a good chance.  Maybe they’ll perform well enough for me to move them on this chart later on.