A very early prediction for the Titans 2012 53-man roster

The draft is over, OTAs are in progress and the Tennessee Titans will be having training camp in August, as usual.  There are now 90 players on the Titans roster, and that number will have to be whittled down to 53 by September 2.

Who will those 53 men be?  It’s rather easy to predict 45 or so of them every year, but who knows who will win or lose the remainder of the roster spots?  Although it’s early, I’ll take my first shot at the 53-man roster now, after the break.

2012 Tennessee Titans roster predictions
Pos LY TY Makes roster Will compete Camp fodder
QB 3 2 Hasselbeck, Locker Smith Stephens
RB 3 3 Johnson, Ringer, Harper Donaldson Reynaud
FB 1 1 Mooney Johnson
WR 5 6 Britt, Washington, Wright, Hawkins, Williams, Mariani Kirkendoll, Preston Aguilar, Deadder, Evans, Murdock, Woods
TE 3 3 Stevens, Cook, Thompson D.Graham Barden, C.Graham
OL 9 9 Roos, Hutchinson, Amano, Harris, Stewart, Velasco, Otto, Stingily, Matthews DeVan, Durand, Kropog, Vlachos Bias, Burden
DE 5 5 Wimbley, Morgan, Ball, Sheppard, Solomon Dawson, Douzable, Egboh
DT 5 5 Casey, Klug, Marks, Martin, Smith Clayton, Divens, Harris
LB 7 7 Ayers, McCarthy, Brown, Witherspoon, Shaw, Bailey, McRath Diles Malast, Watkins
CB 5 5 McCourty, Verner, Sensabaugh, Campbell, Mouton Hawkins, Wheatley Wilburn
S 4 4 Babineaux, Griffin, Martin, Johnson Afalava Scott
K 1 1 Bironas
P 1 1 Kern Batson
LS 1 1 Ingram Brinkley

In the above chart, for reference I included the number of players at each position on opening day last year (LY) for comparison with my projections for this year (TY).  Surprisingly, to me anyway, the number of players at all positions but two are the same as the opening day roster of last year.

I don’t expect the Titans to keep 3 QBs again this year, which means goodbye to Rusty Smith.

In an upset pick, I’m going with rookie UDFA Collin Mooney over Quinn Johnson.

I doubt if Mariani is in the plans to get many reps as a WR but I’ve got him making the team again as a return specialist.  However, his spot isn’t secure by any means – Damian Williams was an accomplished returner in college and probably would have been the Titans’ return specialist as a rookie if not for a pulled hamstring, which opened the door for Mariani.  There has also been some speculation that first-round draft pick Kendall Wright might be used as a returner.  If the Titans need an extra roster spot somewhere, such as for a third QB, the sixth receiver (Mariani) seems like a likely place to get it from.

I can also see the Titans keeping only six linebackers, with either Witherspoon or McRath failing to make the final cut.  If that does happen, though, that extra spot should be used elsewhere on defense, probably in the secondary.

Ball, Sheppard and Solomon will have some competition at DE from Douzable and Egboh.  I may change my mind on this projection in August.

Ken Amato is finally gone and the Titans will have to choose between Jake Ingram and rookie UDFA Beau Brinkley as their snapper.  I give Ingram the early edge based on experience.

Of course, I expect the Titans to try to sign a few veteran free agents, particularly safety, so I won’t be a bit surprised for someone not currently on the Titans roster to be there after the final cutdown to 53 men.

Sometime during or after training camp, and before September 2, I’ll make a final prediction for the roster.

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