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Titans Roster: Who Got Cut and Why

Seventeen players were released Tuesday to get to the regular-season roster limit of 53. Some undoubtedly were difficult choices.

NASHVILLE – It was a cut day unlike any other.

As with every other team in the NFL, the Tennessee Titans reduced their roster to the regular-season limit of 53 players ahead of Tuesday afternoon’s deadline. To say that is the lineup – or anything close to it – that will be in uniform for the regular season opener against Arizona is wildly inaccurate.

With nine players on the Reserve-COVID 19 list, including starters Ryan Tannehill, Ben Jones, Nate Davis and Harold Landry, 10 percent or more of the current 53 could change between now and kickoff. Plus, there will be opportunities to claim players released by other teams.

So, the uncertainty about who actually is on the 53-man roster will linger for several more days.

What’s clear is who no longer is a part of it. Here is the rundown of players the Titans cut to get to 53 and the reason they are no longer on the roster.

CENTER

• Cole Banwart: He is an undrafted rookie, and there was too much experience on the offensive line for him to have had any realistic chance.

CORNERBACKS

• Briean Boddy-Calhoun: In the last two years, the Titans drafted four cornerbacks and this summer they signed free agent Jackrabbit Jenkins. That left little room for anyone else to earn a spot at that position, particularly with the return of Breon Borders, who earned the coaches’ trust a year ago.

• Nate Brooks (cut Sunday): He was signed two days before the preseason finale when roster spots opened up due to the COVID outbreak. The personnel staff got a close look at him and logged some information for future reference, if needed.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

• Freedom Akinmoladun (cut Sunday): Claimed off waivers from Cincinnati the week of the final preseason game, he was much more of a body to help the team get through that week’s practices than someone who had a chance to make the team.

• Woodrow Hamilton IV: He does not have one outstanding trait that would allow coaches to use him as a situational substitute up front. For depth guys, that is what it takes to make this roster this season.

• Naquan Jones: He is a virtual slam-dunk for the practice squad but with three established starters up front in Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry and Teair Tart plus 2020 draft pick Larrell Murchison, there is just no room right now for an undrafted rookie who likely would be limited to early downs.

FULLBACK

• Tory Carter: He is exactly the kind of player the Titans are looking for at that spot, but he is not as good right now as Khari Blasingame, who had his best training camp and preseason to date.

GUARD

• Jordan Roos: He was signed after the start of training camp and logged a lot of snaps in practices and preseason games. But his only real chance to make the roster was if others got injured.

INSIDE LINEBACKER

• Jan Johnson: With three experienced veterans (Rashaan Evans, Jayon Brown and David Long) plus a 2021 draft pick (Monty Rice) in place, there simply was not room for anyone else, even a guy like Johnson who was noticeable at times.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

• John Simon (cut Sunday): Signed two days before the start of training camp, he was a place-holder – a veteran player who filled in while Bud Dupree continued his rehab from reconstructive knee surgery and allowed the defense to operate at a functional level without having to slow down for an inexperienced player.

• Wyatt Ray: His only chance to make the roster would have been to outplay free agent Ola Adeniyi by a wide margin on defense and on special teams. That did not happen.

RUNNING BACK

• Javian Hawkins: Signed two days before the preseason finale, he actually made good use of the time he was on the roster. It was not nearly enough time for him to earn serious consideration, though.

SAFETIES

• Jamal Carter: One of those veterans who was added after the start of camp, he showed up in the last two preseason games, which means it is possible that this is not the last anyone has seen of him with the Titans.

• Clayton Geathers (cut Sunday): Another of the late additions who played during the final two preseason contests. He is an established starter who never was really a part of the Titans’ plans, but his presence ensured no other safeties had to play too much in the preseason.

TACKLES

• Christian DiLauro: There are three candidates to be the starter at right tackle, and two of them will end up as primary backups. DiLauro does not figure anywhere into that equation.

• Derwin Gray: Claimed off waivers a little more than a week ago, he helped the Titans get through the final week of preseason practices but had no real opportunity to break through the veteran logjam ahead of him.

• Chandon Herring (cut Monday): He is an undrafted rookie at a position with four veterans and a second-round pick in this year’s draft. It would have taken a flood of injuries for him to have any chance to make it past this point.

TIGHT ENDS

• Miller Forristall: One day, he might be the next Anthony Firkser. But Firkser got cut a few times before he established himself, and Forristall likely will have to travel a similar career path.

• Jared Pinkney: The only way for him to have earned any serious consideration was to show he was a dynamic receiver who could put stress on a defense. He did not.

WIDE RECEIVERS

• Fred Brown: This was likely the most competitive position group on the roster. Brown had his moments but never did enough to make a serious move up the depth chart.

• Dez Fitzpatrick: This decision seemed unthinkable at the start of training camp, but the fourth-round draft pick out of Louisville is a work in progress, and the Titans are very much in a win-now mode.

• Mason Kinsey: His production in the preseason made him one of the Titans’ feel-good stories of the last month. As a Division III product, he has more work to do before he establishes himself as a full-time NFL player.