Opportunity Awaits for These Five Titans
NASHVILLE – It is easy to look at the Tennessee Titans’ roster – or that of any NFL franchise – at the moment and find holes.
Some already on that roster, though, should see opportunity. The annual turnover of talent has created a chance for young players to climb the depth chart and/or expand their respective roles beyond anything they have heretofore known.
Sure, free agency has yet to finish and the draft has yet to happen. Every team will add players between now and the start of training camp. But if guys can seize the opportunities that presently exist it will allow franchise officials to look elsewhere when making those moves.
With that in mind, here is a look at some Tennessee Titans who have the chance to become more prominent performers in 2020:
Josh Kalu, CB: Coaches and franchise officials thought enough of him last season that they put him on injured reserve with return designation at the start of the regular season. He did come back and made a significant impact with a blocked field goal on the final play of the regular-season victory over Kansas City. Special teams were his primary responsibility as he averaged fewer than five snaps on defense in the eight games he played. With Logan Ryan, LeShaun Sims and Tye Smith all free agents (only Sims currently has signed elsewhere), there is a chance for Kalu to step in as the third cornerback, or at least as a regular in some sub packages,
Dalyn Dawkins, RB: The Titans have devoted two full seasons of development to Dawkins (pictured). He has appeared in just three games (one in 2018, two in 2019) and has spent the majority of his time on the practice squad, but the point is he has been here. And he made last season’s 53-man roster at the conclusion of the preseason, which spoke volumes about the organization’s opinion of him. With Dion Lewis’ release, somebody has to be a change-of-pace back for Derrick Henry. Depending on what happens with the draft, Dawkins (5-foot-7, 183 pounds), who caught at least 20 passes three straight years in college, might be first in line to be that guy.
Matt Dickerson, DE: Like Dawkins, he has been around for two years. Unlike Dawkins, he has never been relegated to the practice squad, although he has been released twice only to be re-signed days later. He was on the field for just three games as a rookie in 2018 and five more in 2019 but then played all three postseason contests. So, he enters the offseason with momentum and a lot of time in meetings and practice behind him. Undrafted out of UCLA, it is time for him to carve out a regular role for himself, and with Jurrell Casey having been traded to Denver, there’s never been a better time for him to do so.
Isaiah Mack, DL: He was a preseason revelation in 2019 as an undrafted free agent out of Chattanooga. He was on the active roster and on the field in Week 1 against Cleveland and spent the entire season on the active roster. However, his performance tailed off and he was inactive for the final three weeks of the regular season and all three playoff contests. With Austin Johnson off to the New York Giants as a free agent, Mack will have a chance to play his way back into the rotation – and possibly even a starting spot.
Cody Hollister, WR: The guy has been on an NFL team (either New England or Tennessee) for three years, has appeared in just five games – all for the Titans late last season – and logged a total of six snaps on offense. It is worth noting that his first two offensive plays came Dec. 1 against Indianapolis and he finished that game with two receptions for 13 yards. With Corey Davis, A.J. Brown and Adam Humphries in place, Hollister won’t be battling for a starting job. But with Tajaé Sharpe now in Minnesota, there is an opening for a versatile and reliable backup at multiple spots – and Hollister might be that guy.