Projecting Tennessee Titans

Projecting Tennessee Titans

Now that the Tennessee Titans have trimmed their roster to 53 players, it’s time to talk depth chart.

Per NFL rules, the Titans cut their roster down to just 53 players on Tuesday, parting ways with nearly 40 players who spent the offseason with the team over the course of a week. Some players who survived the cut were more surprising than others, including five undrafted rookies making the squad over veterans. But for the most part, the Titans roster looks the way it was expected to.

Now, in advance of the Titans’ season opener against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 10 (noon, CBS), it’s time to properly project what the Titans’ depth chart will look like.

Here is The Tennessean’s projection for the Titans’ 53-man depth chart.


  1. Ryan Tannehill
  2. Malik Willis
  3. Will Levis

Tannehill is the starter, no questions asked. Willis makes more sense as the backup from the outset since Levis missed so much time during the preseason to injury. But Levis and Willis won’t stop competing for positioning just because the preseason is over. Don’t be shocked if Levis eventually ends up the backup this season.

Running back

  1. Derrick Henry
  2. Tyjae Spears
  3. Julius Chestnut

This one’s cut and dry. Chestnut looked good in the preseason, but Spears has looked great since the Titans picked him. He’ll get plenty of touches out of the backfield, and probably a few from the slot. But this is still Henry’s room, and expect him to be on the field for just about every first and second down all season.

Wide receiver

  1. DeAndre Hopkins
  2. Treylon Burks
  3. Kyle Philips
  4. Chris Moore
  5. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine
  6. Colton Dowell
  7. Kearis Jackson

If and when Burks and Philips are healthy, they profile as starters alongside Hopkins. Moore, the offseason free agent signee, impressed in the summer and has veteran experience. But the wild cards are Dowell and Jackson. Are they on the roster for good, or are they insurance for Burks and Philips? The number of reps Dowell and Jackson get on offense compared to Westbrook-Ikhine is going to be interesting.

Tight end

  1. Chig Okonkwo
  2. Trevon Wesco
  3. Josh Whyle

It’s a surprise to only see the Titans carry three tight ends. But Whyle, the rookie the Titans picked in the fifth round, evidently did enough to not keep an extra player active like Kevin Rader or Thomas Odukoya. Okonkwo is going to be the Titans’ top pass-catching option, but he’s also taken some reps at fullback and in-line this summer, showing the Titans want to use him in more varied ways.

Left tackle

  1. Andre Dillard
  2. Dillon Radunz
  3. Jaelyn Duncan

Getting Radunz healthy after he tore his ACL in December is big for the offensive line’s depth. But it’s unclear how quickly he’ll be able to get fully entrenched in football activities, which brings the sixth-round pick Duncan into the fold.

Left guard

  1. Peter Skoronski
  2. Xavier Newman
  3. Dillon Radunz

Skoronski’s going to be a Day 1 starter for the Titans at left guard. Newman made the team as the Titans’ extra guard over veteran Jordan Roos.


  1. Aaron Brewer
  2. Xavier Newman

Brewer moves inside to center after starting at guard last season. Corey Levin had been the Titans’ backup center, but the Titans waived him Wednesday afternoon as an offsetting roster move to make a waiver claim.

Right guard

  1. Daniel Brunskill
  2. Xavier Newman
  3. Justin Murray

Brunskill, an offseason free agent signee, slots in at right guard but he’s also capable of playing other offensive line positions if starters get hurt and the Titans need to shuffle players.

Right tackle

  1. Chris Hubbard
  2. Justin Murray
  3. Dillon Radunz

The Titans signed Hubbard and Murray during training camp and Radunz only started practicing in late August. If this group feels like it’s missing someone, it’s because second-year tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere is suspended for the first six weeks of the year for violating the NFL’s gambling rules.

Defensive tackle

  1. Jeffery Simmons
  2. Teair Tart
  3. Jayden Peevy
  4. Naquan Jones

Having Simmons and Tart would be enough for most teams. But Peevy emerged as one of the Titans’ most improved players this offseason. Don’t be surprised if he earns some significant playing time too.

Defensive end/Outside linebacker

  1. Harold Landry
  2. Denico Autry
  3. Arden Key
  4. Rashad Weaver
  5. Caleb Murphy

In a completely fair world, Autry occupies his own position on the depth chart as a hybrid defensive tackle, defensive end and outside linebacker. As it stands, he’s here alongside Landry and Key, but all three figure to be starters in a base defense.

Inside linebacker

  1. Azeez Al-Shaair
  2. Jack Gibbens
  3. Monty Rice
  4. Luke Gifford
  5. Otis Reese

Rice is the big question mark in the group after he missed a good chunk of training camp for reasons he described to the Tennessean as “life related.” But don’t be surprised if the battle between Gibbens and Rice for No. 2 linebacker ends up being moot and the Titans run a number of packages with Al-Shaair serving as the only middle backer alongside six defensive backs.


  1. Kristian Fulton
  2. Sean Murphy-Bunting
  3. Roger McCreary
  4. Tre Avery
  5. Kindle Vildor
  6. Anthony Kendall

Fulton, Murphy-Bunting and McCreary all figure to be on the field as often as possible. But Avery has improved after being thrust into a tough position as a rookie last year and has enough experience playing on the outside to give the starters a breather when called upon. The wild card here is Vildor, who the Titans claimed off waivers from the Chicago Bears Wednesday and has experience as an NFL starter but will have to quickly learn the Titans’ schemes.


  1. Kevin Byard
  2. Amani Hooker
  3. Elijah Molden
  4. Mike Brown
  5. Matthew Jackson

Byard and Hooker are the Titans’ stalwarts at safety, but Molden might end up being the swing man who plays a little bit of safety and a little bit of slot cornerback in dime packages.


  • Kicker Nick Folk
  • Punter Ryan Stonehouse
  • Long snapper Morgan Cox

Trading for Folk on Tuesday gives the Titans an experienced kicker who can hopefully stabilize the Titans’ struggling unit.

Kickoff returner

  1. Tyjae Spears
  2. Julius Chestnut
  3. Kearis Jackson

The rookie running back was involved in the kick return unit throughout the preseason. The return game is just another way to get his hands on the ball.

Punt returner

  1. Kyle Philips
  2. Kearis Jackson

If Philips isn’t ready for Week 1, Jackson makes the most sense as the Titans’ punt returner. All of the other players the Titans repped at punt returner in training camp have been waived, so if Jackson and Philips are both unavailable the role would most likely fall to a receiver instructed to go out and fair catch.

Nick Suss is the Titans beat writer for The Tennessean. Contact Nick at Follow Nick on Twitter @nicksuss.