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Who gets cut to make room for draft picks?

On Friday, the National Football Post reported the Titans cut DE Jay Moore and TE Gerald Harris.  Why would the Titans cut two players in early July?  Because, under NFL rules, draft picks do not count against the 80-man roster limit until they are under contract.  With training camp approaching at the end of the month, the Titans will have to create roster spots for all their unsigned picks.

Per Brian McIntyre’s invaluable list of rookie signings, the Titans have agreed to terms with 5 of their 9 draft picks from this year.  If the roster on the official site is to be believed, the Titans currently stand at 85 players on the roster, including Moore and Harris, and not including Rod Hood, who’s been placed on injured reserve.  That’s an inconsistency, probably explained by one of the rookie’s deals not being official until recently, but I’ll just ignore it for lack of it mattering to the question I’m interested in: who won’t make it to training camp?

Obviously, it’s going to be difficult to get the 3 names exactly right: the 81st through 83rd guys on the roster are almost certainly people who’ve never played in a regular season game and may well not have played in a preseason game ever.  So, I’ll do the next best thing I can do and look at the different position groups and try to find players who might quality as the pre-camp cuts.

DB: 13 players here, between CB and S, 9-10 of whom will likely make the active roster.  Jamar Love, as the only guy not in the that conversation, may be a pre-camp cut, especially with so many young players who could use additional reps.

LB: 13 players, including Ken Amato, who’ll get a roster spot because of his long-snapping ability, and probably 7 or so make the roster.  Rookies Jake Lewko and Patrick Trahan may not make it to training camp.

DL: 14 players, split between DT and DE.  10 made the active roster last year, but 8 or 9 is a more likely number.  I liked DT Joe Joseph at Miami, but he’s behind too many other players.  DE Marcus Howard, the ex-Colt, fits more into the Colts model of undersized and fast, but isn’t any good.

OL: 14 players here as well, and 8 or so will make the active roster.  Nevin McCaskill and Nick Howell are probably the 5th and 6th offensive tackles, and with 4 players the Titans seem to really like at that position, 2 of whom need reps, don’t really need to be around.

QB: 4 players, 2 or 3 of whom will make the roster.  Simms is the obvious candidate for the axe, but the Titans will probably want to keep 4 QBs around for the start of training camp.

RB: 7 players here, including fullbacks, with 4-5 likely to make the roster.  The most likely pre-camp cut here in my eyes is Alvin Pearman, whose only NFL skill is catching punts.  Damian Williams likely wins that job this year, but until he (or somebody else) shows he can do it in NFL game conditions, Pearman probably keeps his roster spot.

TE: 4 players, 3 locks. With Gerald Harris getting the axe, Steve Pfahler probably sticks round as an extra body.

WR: 11 players, likely 5-7 roster spots.  Mico McSwain, as a 26 year old rookie, probably doesn’t have much upside, while Bobby Sewall is another rookie with not much chance to make the roster.  Does Paul Williams really need another training camp to prove himself?

3 P/K: Ricky Schmitt will probably stick around to give Rob Bironas’s leg a rest.

If I had to make a guess, I’d say Patrick Trahan, Marcus Howard, and Mico McSwain would be the 3 players most likely not to make it to training camp, but that’s really an almost complete guess.  I will be very surprised, though, if any of those players do make it to the 53-man roster, so they’re about as good a possibility as any.

As I did last year, I will be doing a couple posts trying to predict the 53-man roster, starting with one at the end of this month as training camp opens.