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Titans 53-man roster prediction: halfway through preseason

Halfway through training camp, I thought it was time to revisit the roster prediction I made at the start of training camp, and take a look at how which players have seen their stock rise and fall of late, at least in my eyes.

QB (2-3): Kerry Collins, Rusty Smith, Vince Young
No changes from my previous prediction.  Rusty Smith seems like he’s showed enough promise that he can get a roster spot, especially because his spot doesn’t really matter on gameday.  Chris Simms didn’t play as poorly against Arizona as he did against Seattle, but Collins is still a viable option as a backup and clearly better than Simms.

RB/FB (4-5): Samkon Gado, Ahmard Hall, Chris Johnson, Javon Ringer
Changes at this position, as Stafon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount go off and Gado comes on.  I’m still not convinced the non-Ringer backup is on the roster yet, but Blount hasn’t impressed me at all.  He’s been too hesitant to attack the hole and doesn’t have the burst from somebody other than a power runner.  He’s also a complete non-factor in the passing game and has no special teams experience.  If he was a second round pick, he’d have a roster spot, but he’s not and won’t.

TE (3-4): Jared Cook, Sean Ryan, Bo Scaife, Craig Stevens
No changes here.  For my money, Stevens may have been the most impressive player for the Titans against the Cardinals.  He got stood up by Calais Campbell once at the point of attack, but was generally successful as a blocker and had a nice reception.  Ryan is there as blocking insurance.  Scaife simply isn’t a very good blocker, and got blown up a couple times against Arizona, and Cook remains a work in progress, especially as a blocker.

WR (5-7):  Kenny Britt, Justin Gage, Lavelle Hawkins, Marc Mariani, Nate Washington, Damian Williams
Welcome to the team, Marc Mariani.  I’m still not completely convinced he has a roster spot, but he has looked better than most seventh-round picks look and the return experience is a big bonus.  Even if Dominique Edison had matched his play on the field, Mariani would still have the edge for the roster spot.  I think Damian Williams does end up as the returner-he caught punts fairly cleanly against Arizona and ran forward after catching the ball.  Granted, not with tremendous success, but simply running forward will get you some yards.

OL (8-9): Eugene Amano, Leroy Harris, Troy Kropog, Mike Otto, Michael Roos, Jake Scott, David Stewart, Fernando Velasco
No changes here.  Ryan Durand was my last cut.  I’m not very comfortable with the backup linemen-I have things I’d rather do with my time than detailed evaluations of the backups, which is something I’m not very good at anyway.   Kropog, Otto, and Velasco seem like reasonable selections to me, Durand’s lack of versatility (left and right guard only, I’d say) hurts him, and nobody else has hugely stood out.

DE (4-5): Jason Babin, Dave Ball, Jacob Ford, William Hayes, Derrick Morgan
No change. This position frustrates me, with the 4 B’s-Babin, Ball, Brock, and Bakhtiari.  There are four, maybe five spots here, and Ford, Hayes, and Morgan are absolute locks.  Babin has probably been the best of the quartet, and Dave Ball’s experience in the system and at defensive tackle gives him the edge.

DT (4-5): Tony Brown, Jovan Haye, Jason Jones, Sen’Derrick Marks
No change.  I haven’t noticed this year’s seventh-round pick, David Howard, at all, though I admit my attention wavered towards the end of Monday’s game.  Given the depth at defensive line, he needed to stand out to stake a claim to a roster spot, but he hasn’t.

LB (6-7): Colin Allred, Rennie Curran, Stanford Keglar, Gerald McRath, Mike Rivera, Stephen Tulloch, Will Witherspoon
Mike Rivera on, David Thornton out.  If Thornton can’t go at the start of the regular season, and the latest reports seem to indicate that he won’t be able to, he has no claim to a roster spot.   That opens up the spot for Mike Rivera, since there’s not a true backup for Tulloch on the roster.  Stanford Keglar has missed time of late with an injury, which hurts his claim for a roster spot, but I still have him on the roster because he fits a specific niche: backup OLB for the first 4 games, not necessarily expected to dress.  Jamie Winborn is his primary competition for that spot in my mind, but Keglar had the edge on Winborn last season.

CB (5-6): Cortland Finnegan, Tye Hill, Jason McCourty, Ryan Mouton, Altteraun Verner
No change.  Like Keglar, Hill has a roster spot because he fits a very specific niche: a player who knows the system and will only play if there’s an injury.  Consider him last year’s version of Rod Hood.  It’s possible they could find another player to fill that niche and replace Hill with him, but the league is cornerback-hungry enough any replacement for Hill would be worse.  If there were five other corners on the roster, he’d be gone, but there’s only the four.

S (4-5): Vinny Fuller, Michael Griffin, Chris Hope, Robert Johnson, Donnie Nickey
Nickey on, Myron Rolle out.  I just haven’t seen anything from Rolle, so I thought he gets caught in a numbers game.  Johnson’s barely done anything more, but he’s a higher draft pick.  Nickey remains a favorite special teams player.  I really do think he’s vulnerable and far from a lock, but that other player has to win the job and I haven’t seen anybody do that.

Other: LS Ken Amato, K Rob Bironas, P Brett Kern
No change. Chalk.

OK, have at it.  Whose stock am I overrating, and who am I underrating?  Do they stick with only 4 corners and keep Rolle?  Can Paul Williams use his incriminating evidence to stick around for another year?  Could I actually be right for a change?