NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As a scout, the fourth preseason game has always been my favorite. 

At the end of the last preseason game, a scout has spent over 15 months evaluating these players from college and through their first NFL training camp. It is a roller coaster of emotions not only for the players but also the people in the building that have invested so much time and effort into bringing in the best players to compete and trying to help them succeed after they arrived.BeddingfieldLabel

There are a vast amount of resources that are put into each player on the 90-man roster.  Cut-down day can be disappointing for so many, but it can also be a joyous occasion when someone finally realizes their dream of making a team.

It is a small fraternity of 1,696 players that make a 53-man roster after 2,880 started out in training camps. 

Friday morning after the last preseason game, the game tape is quickly evaluated, graded, and meetings begin.

The meetings will begin first with the head coach and general manager to determine how many players at each position they want to keep. 

The next two people that become important in the process is the athletic trainer and salary cap analyst. They will determine among the potential player cuts who will be injured beyond the first week of the season and if that is the case an injury settlement will have to be made with the player.

The next meeting will be between the pro scouting staff and the coaches. Each will give their evaluation of who should make the roster.Party Fowl Online Ads 02

The coaches tend to evaluate players traits based on how they fit within their position group. Are they good leaders? Have they learned the system to the point they can play quickly? Where do they stack within the group for playing time?

The pro scouts will evaluate the players based on their production, value within the team and the league based on others at their positions across the league.

The pro scouts will also give a breakdown of potential cuts and trades from other NFL teams that will be available and share if those players upgrade what the Titans currently have on their roster. 

It is very important to have everyone’s thoughts and opinions for the GM and head coach to make their ultimate final decision.

I have always followed a simple rule in scouting. Coaches coach and scouts scout.

I have a great respect for what NFL coaches do for a living, but through my 19 drafts with the Tennessee Titans, I have found one opinion that has held true during that time.

If you take a NFL coaching staff of 15 coaches, only about three to five are true talent evaluators.

On the other hand, of the 10 scouts or Directors on a NFL team, only about one or two could actually coach.

It is important to listen and communicate with each other, but each person is an “expert” in his field and very few can cross over.

This is important when it comes down to the final cutdowns and who has the final say over the roster. 

When constructing a 53-man roster it will not contain 53 starting type players.  Roster construction is made up of starters, quality depth, special team role players and players with potential that will need to be developed while on the 53-man roster. 

My thoughts on the Titans 53-man roster and practice squad

QB (2): Marcus Mariota, Blaine Gabbert.

Luke Falk hasn’t done enough to get claimed by another team. He will be a good practice squad player with the potential to develop. 

RB (3): Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis, David Fluellen.

Akrum Wadley and Dalyn Dawkins are not going to get claimed on another teams 53-man roster.  At least one will go on practice squad.

WR (6): Rishard Matthews, Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor, Tajae Sharpe, Darius Jennings, and a waiver-wire claim.

Nick Williams injury is the wild card here.  He could be cut and signed back later when healthy. The top four make it, but the fifth and sixth WR are not currently on this roster.  Jennings is listed as a fifth WR because of special teams play, but easily replaced by a waiver wire claim.SmithTampa

TE (3): Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith (81), Luke Stocker

No competition for the third spot. Stocker makes it again.

OL (9): Taylor Lewan, Jack Conklin, Quinton Spain, Ben Jones, Josh Kline, Dennis Kelly, Kevin Pamphile, Corey Levin, Tyler Marz

Conklin should be activated off PUP.  Kelly and Levin are solid backups. The others are replaceable. 

DL (6): Jurrell Casey, DaQuan Jones, Austin Johnson, Bennie Logan, Julius Warmsley, waiver-wire claim.

They Need a sixth DL. 

ILB (5): Rashaan Evans, Wesley Woodard, Jayon Brown, Will Compton, Darren Bates.

Compton isn’t guaranteed a spot based on his talent or play.  Bates could be a cut if a better ILB is available.

OLB (6): Derrick Morgan, Brian Orakpo, Harold Landry, Aaron Wallace, Sharif Finch, Kameli Correa

Finch or Josh Carraway is on the practice squad. There is a chance they are claimed. Both have good film for other teams to view. 

CB (5): Adoree’ Jackson, Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, LeShaun Sims, Kenneth Durden.

A very good group of four quality corners. The fifth needs to play special teams. Durden isn’t a lock to make it, but just the best of what they have.

S (5): Kevin Byard, Kenny Vaccaro, Kendrick Lewis, Dane Cruikshank, Brynden Trawick.

Lewis is a possible cut, but looks pretty safe with Demontre Hurst cut.

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

Practice squad:  QB Luke Falk, RB Dalyn Dawkins, WR Deontay Burnett, WR Jordan Veasey, TE Anthony Firkser, OL who is not on this roster, DE Matt Dickerson, DT Du’vonta Lampkin, ILB Robert Spillane, OLB Josh Carraway, CB Rico Gafford. 

These are the potential practice squad players from the current roster, but it is a certainty that a few will come from other rosters.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

Many Titans players have been cut that went on to have good careers elsewhere: RB LeGarrette Blunt, TE Jack Doyle, LB Keith Adams, CB Cary Williams, WR Courtney Rob, DE Scott Solomon. 

It is always a difficult time to cut players you have invested draft choices in or feel have a future, but there just aren’t enough spots. In the case of Williams, Blount and Doyle the risk of exposing them to waivers was misevaluated internally and the team lost good NFL quality players. This is important to evaluate and predict correctly.  

Even though the 53-man roster will be set on Saturday afternoon, only 43 of those names will be written in pen, the other 10 will have a pencil and eraser.

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