Reflections on the first version of the Titans' 53

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Roster reflections on the first version of the Titans’ 53-man roster.

The biggest surprise: Corey Levin (pictured snapping to Marcus Mariota) seemed a lock as the backup center, and the Titans had not snuffed out the possibility he could be in the lineup with Ben Jones bumping over to right guard, the team’s most problematic spot.MariotaLevinJetsBut Levin, a sixth-rounder from 2017, is gone and the Titans will lean on Jamil Douglas if they need relief of Jones. It’s even more surprising considering they kept nine offensive linemen, with David Quessenberry the big surprise. He’s the third tackle for now, and likely to disappear when Taylor Lewan returns from suspension after four games. [Unlocked]

No third quarterback: The Titans didn’t keep Logan Woodside (pictured), whose preseason play was encouraging.

There was a compelling case for keeping him: He’s made some significant strides, they have no QB under contract in 2020, they lost Luke Falk last year to a waiver claim under similar circumstances when he looked way worse, this roster looked to have more room for him.WoodsideSteelers

It wasn’t enough for them to keep a third guy who’d be inactive weekly. Though they are certain to be praying he’s not claimed – something that is more likely considering several other QBs came free including New England’s Brian Hoyer – so he can be on their practice squad.

Dawkins over McNichols: I didn’t think the Titans would carry a fourth running back, but like everyone, I presumed it would be Jeremy McNichols if they did.

Here’s an example of the preseason being largely meaningless. While McNichols ran well and got a lot of chances with Derrick Henry out and Dion Lewis used little, it didn’t vault him past Dalyn Dawkins, who was on the roster for six games last season and was part of the practice squad for the rest.

Dawkins missed the first three games of the preseason, then played with low-level players against low-level players in Week 4, with good results. That’s not what won him the spot. He’s in on body of work and what he’s done over time. He’s also one of the more expendable guys on the roster.

Goodbye to Taywan Taylor: The Titans kept Kalif Raymond over Taylor, recouping a seventh-round pick from the Browns for the 2017 third-round receiver.

The Titans now have three of their own third-round picks on their roster: This year’s guard, Nate Davis who’s been out of sight with an unknown injury, Jonnu Smith and Kevin Byard.TaylorJets

The big pick problem at the spot was before Jon Robinson was doing the picking, but a team would like to be re-signing guys drafted that high and having them turn into staples (like Byard), far more than trading them away for a four-round drop in value.

Also, I don’t buy that this trade will be the Titans’ Week 1 undoing.

Little heavy: On defense, six defensive linemen seems like a lot for a team that is a 3-4 that will frequently have only two on the field in nickel. But undrafted rookie Isaiah Mack definitely deserved a spot based on his work throughout the summer and while Brent Urban seemed to drop off his 6-foot-7 frame can be a factor for the Titans they have lacked up front.

Yes, Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel let it breathe in the last week, but Jefferey Simmons was never close to being on the 53. When his practice window opens and he is activated, one of these guys will disappear if the group stays healthy.

The team is also technically heavy at corner with six, where Joshua Kalu stuck. He can also play safety and can be really good on special teams, but the two guys in front of him – LeShaun Sims and Tye Smith are also solid on kick and cover units, so he may just work and wait.

What’s next: Waivers clear at 11 CT Sunday morning, so we will see if the Titans add a guy or two who was cut elsewhere. For every guy they put in for, they had to put in a corresponding move waiving someone.

They can then start finalizing their 10-man practice squad. Top candidates who they just cut include Woodside, DE Amani Bledsoe, WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams, LB Ukeme Eligwe, CB Kareem Orr.

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