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Titans' 53-Man Roster Projection

Posted: 11:11 AM, Sep 01, 2017
Updated: 2017-09-01 16:11:25Z

With the preseason over, the Titans now are faced with the task of trimming their roster all the way down to the 53 players they want to carry on their regular season roster.

The NFL deadline for cuts is Saturday at 4 p.m. Here's my best guess for the roster Titans General Manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Mularkey will settle on.

QUARTERBACKS (2): Marcus Mariota, Matt Cassel

Cassel is coming off an offseason thumb injury, but performed well in the preseason. The Titans like Alex Tanney, but he's out of practice squad eligibility and they can't afford to keep three guys at a position where they desperately hope Mariota takes all the meaningful reps this season.

RUNNING BACKS (3): DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry, David Fluellen

Murray was limited in the preseason because of a tweaked hamstring, but he remains the team's featured back as much for his versatility and reliability as the fact he ran for an AFC-high 1,278 yards last season. Expect to see more of Henry this season, especially in grind out the clock situations. Fluellen was one of the pleasant surprises of training camp, easily securing the third running back spot with his play on offense and on special teams.

FULLBACK (1): Jalston Fowler

Joe Bacci looked good at times in the preseason, especially as a pass catcher, but the Titans love the incumbent Fowler's physicality in the running game.

WIDE RECEIVER (7): Rishard Matthews, Corey Davis, Eric Decker, Taywan Taylor, Tajae Sharpe, Harry Douglas, Eric Weems

The top five on this list are set with Davis and Decker set to return from injuries in time for the regular season. I think the veteran Douglas is a coaches' favorite because of his willingness to block and do all the little things. I think they take that presence over a younger player like Tre McBride, though McBride brings you the added bonus of help on special teams. I also believe Weems, who was signed by the team in free agency, makes the team because of his ability to return kicks.

TIGHT ENDS (3): Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith, Phillip Supernaw

The Titans' propensity to use double tight end sets on offense leads me to believe they would like to keep four on the active roster, but I don't think the fourth tight end is currently in the building. Jace Amaro is a nice pass catcher, but hasn't shown the blocking or special teams ability to keep that spot, and Jerome Cunningham has been underwhelming in his limited action with the team.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8): Taylor Lewan, Quinton Spain, Ben Jones, Josh Kline, Jack Conklin, Dennis Kelly, Tim Lelito, Tyler Marz

The first six guys here return from last year's dominant unit and are basically set in stone. I think Lelito's ability to play center and guard and the fact he got a nice little signing bonus in free agency means he makes the team. Marz has impressed during camp and has the ability to play both guard and tackle. Enormous rookie tackle Brad Seaton hasn't shown enough to steal a roster spot in my mind, but should be a lock to make the team's practice squad if he clears waivers.

DEFENSIVE LINE (7): Jurrell Casey, Sylvester Williams, DaQuan Jones, Karl Klug, Austin Johnson, Antwuan Woods, Angelo Blackson

The hardest part about this unit is trying to figure out the repos for the guys that will play alongside the Pro Bowler Casey. Jones, Williams, Johnson and Woods have all seen reps at nose tackle in the preseason. I have Woods and Blackson edging out undrafted Cameron Robbins for the final D-line spot despite some impressive work from Robbins in the preseason.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5): Brian Orakpo, Derrick Morgan, Erik Walden, Kevin Dodd, Aaron Wallace

The Titans won't give up on Dodd before last year's 33rd overall pick even begins his second season, but he hasn't looked like the playmaker they hoped for in the preseason. Wallace, a seventh round pick a year ago, continues to impress and should make the roster in front of rookie Josh Carraway despite being sidelined by injury late in camp.

MIDDLE LINEBACKER (5): Avery Williamson, Wesley Woodyard, Jayon Brown, Nate Palmer, Darren Bates

Brown has been perhaps the most pleasant surprise of training camp, showcasing his ability to cover tight ends and make plays in space. Palmer is a veteran that provides valuable depth while Bates, who was signed this offseason because of his standout ability in special teams, edges out Justin Staples to make the roster because of just that, his ability to star on special teams.

CORNERBACK (5): Logan Ryan, LeShaun Sims, Adoree' Jackson, Brice McCain, Kalan Reed

Assuming Sims' solid play was enough to hold off the first round pick Jackson for a starting spot on the outside, there will be an interesting position battle for the inside guy covering slot receivers between Jackson and McCain. I think Reed makes the roster despite a rocky performance in Kansas City because of his ability to play both corner and safety.

SAFETY (4): Kevin Byard, Johnathan Cyprien, Da'Norris Searcy, Brynden Trawick

Trawick, like Bates, was signed as a free agent to be a leader for this team on special teams. I think that pushes him over the top in a battle to make the roster. You could make a case for either Curtis Riley or Denzel Johnson to make the team as a fifth safety over the more versatile Reed.

SPECIALISTS (3): Ryan Succop, Brett Kern, Beau Brinkley

This is the easiest group to call on the team. Succop and Kern are about as reliable as you'll find in kickers and punters in the NFL, and we saw Brinkley's value in a couple of the special teams miscues in the preseason when he was out with an injury.