Quarterback (3): Vince Young, Kerry Collins, Rusty Smith
Chris Simms hurt his chances by getting arrested for driving under the influence in early July. Rusty Smith has a great opportunity to earn a roster spot by demonstrating his grasp of the offense.
Halfback (4): Chris Johnson, Javon Ringer, LeGarrette Blount, Stafon Johnson
NFL.com thinks former Oregon Duck LeGarrette Blount is on the fringe. I say he’s a lock to make the Titans roster. Blount, signed as a free agent after his well-documented fracas, has first-round talent and a lot to prove. Stafon Johnson is a feel-good story in the making. He runs with ease and can help in the return game.
Fullback (2): Ahmard Hall, Willie Rose
I’m going out on a limb by saying that rookie Willie Rose makes the roster. If Chris Johnson weren’t on the team, I’d go a step further and say that Rose will beat out Hall for the starting fullback job. Nothing against Hall, but he is 30 and we all know how much the Titans and the NFL love older players.
Rose has serious skills. He is an elusive runner and can catch the ball effectively. I’ll keep a close eye on Rose during training camp.
Wide Receiver (5): Justin Gage, Nate Washington, Kenny Britt, Lavelle Hawkins, Damian Williams
Lavelle Hawkins’ emergence during the offseason will affect the other young receivers currently on the roster. Seventh rounder Marc Mariani seems destined for the practice squad. Dominique Edison will have to outperform Hawkins to earn a spot.
Say goodbye to Paul Williams, whose ninth life is about to expire. I don’t see him making the team or being kept as a 26-year-old practice squad player.
Tight End (3): Bo Scaife, Craig Stevens, Jared Cook
No surprises here, other than the Titans will keep three tight ends instead of four. It’s been said many times, but I’ll say it again. Cook, last year’s second round draft pick, really needs to step up his game.
Offensive Line (9): Michael Roos, Leroy Harris, Eugene Amano, Jake Scott, David Stewart, Ryan Durand, Troy Kropog, Mike Otto, Kevin Matthews
Kevin Matthews, son of former Oiler/Titans Bruce Matthews, was signed as an undrafted rookie. I think he makes the roster for one reason, and it’s not simply because of his father’s legacy.
The Matthews family can play ball, period. Call it “the Matthews exemption.” Give the kid a shot, and I think he will become a solid player.
Defensive Line (8): William Hayes, Derrick Morgan, Dave Ball, Jacob Ford, Tony Brown, Jason Jones, Sen’Derrick Marks, David Howard
I think the Titans would like to keep nine defensive linemen, but their shaky situation at linebacker will force them to keep eight.
Dave Ball’s versatility gives him the nod over free agent signee Jason Babin. Sen’Derrick Marks has had a good offseason, which gives the Titans the opportunity to jettison the underperforming Jovan Haye. Derrick Morgan should start at right defensive end.
Linebacker (7): David Thornton, Gerald McRath, Will Witherspoon, Rennie Curran, Stephen Tulloch, Jamie Winborn, Colin Allred
The Titans linebacker situation is a mess. Keith Bulluck signed with the Giants, David Thornton isn’t healthy, and future starter Gerald McRath will miss the first four regular season games due to violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy.
The big winner here is veteran Jamie Winborn, who had little chance of making the team before McRath’s suspension.
Cornerback (5): Cortland Finnegan, Jason McCourty, Ryan Mouton, Alterraun Verner, Tye Hill
Rod Hood’s injury opened the door for Tye Hill. I think Hill has something to prove after falling short of expectations as a former first round draft pick.
Safety (4): Chris Hope, Michael Griffin, Vincent Fuller, Robert Johnson
Rookie and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle is a great guy, but I’m not completely sold on his football skills. I do hope he is in the Titans’ long term plans, but he may have to spend 2010 on the practice squad. I wonder if he’s willing to sit out a season, knowing he’s capable of achieving greatness outside the gridiron.
Specialists (3): kicker Rob Bironas; punter Brett Kern; long snapper Ken Amato
The preseason will be fun to watch. Go Willie Rose! Go Titans!