Players on Watch

Before the draft, I wrote about 54 players already on the team who I thought had a particularly legitimate chance of making the Titans’ roster.  With the Titans not only using all of their draft picks, contrary to my expectation, they even added a player.  So, for every draft pick, there’s one player on my list whose future as a Titan is in danger.  Let’s see who it is. Draft Pick #1: WR Kenny Britt
Player in Danger: Lavelle Hawkins
Clearly, Drexel and I need to better coordinate timing of our posts, as he just wrote about Chris Davis and Paul Williams.  So, I’ll highlight Hawkins instead.  Justin Gage and Nate Washington are probably firmly ensconced as among the Titans’ top 2 receivers for 2009, 2010, and probably 2011 as well.  For a player entering just his second year, Hawkins’ career is at very much a precipice.  If he can beat out Britt and grab the #3 role this year, he can show off what he can do and earn attention throughout the league, possibly eventually landing a nice free agent contract like Washington did.  If he can’t, there’s no way he moves beyond being a #4 receiver for the rest of his Titans’ tenure, and his chance at a big second contract is nil.

Draft Pick #2: DT Sen’Derrick Marks
Player On Notice: Kevin Vickerson
The math here is pretty simple-the Titans generally play 4 defensive tackles.  Three are pretty reliable-waiver wire find Tony Brown, last year’s second round pick Jason Jones, and big free agent acquisition Jovan Haye.  Thanks for your service, Kevin.

Draft Pick #3: TE Jared Cook
Player On Notice: Bo Scaife
As with Hawkins, Scaife is not the player in the biggest immediate danger of missing the team-that’s probably Alge Crumpler.  Still, Cook looks like the new Scaife-some in-line skills, but more of a flex guy.  Expect to see him in the slot and at H-back this fall.

Draft Pick #4: CB Ryan Mouton
Player On Notice: Cary Williams
As with Scaife and Hawkins, this isn’t necessarily so much a challenge for a roster space this season as one for the future: one of these two is probably Nick Harper’s replacement, and the other won’t be.

Draft Pick #5: LB Gerald McRath
Player On Notice: Stephen Tulloch
Following NFLDraftScout’s report, Andrew speculated McRath could possibly move outside as a replacement for Bulluck.   To me, though, he sounds more like a taller version of Stephen Tulloch.  And why would you draft a player you already have on your team, unless you’re looking to replace him?

Draft Pick #6: OT Troy Kropog
Player On Notice: Daniel Loper Mike Otto
Kropog looks to me like a guy who was draft to fill a very specific need: backup at the offensive tackle positions for the departed Daniel Loper.  In an ideal world, Otto probably would have been the guy to be Loper’s replacement, and Not Kropog probably would’ve been another 7th round pick for Munchak to work with.

Draft Pick #7: RB Javon Ringer
Player On Notice: Rafael Little
I’ll second Paul Kuharsky’s breakdown of the Titans’ RB situation.  Little stood a good chance of making the team as the #3 RB before the Titans drafted Ringer.  With Ringer, Little really needs a very strong training camp to have any chance of making the team.

Draft Pick #8: CB Jason McCourty
Player On Notice: DeMarcus Faggins
I’ve pretty much resigned myself to Faggins making the team this year, but he’s probably no higher than #3 in the pecking order to replace Harper come 2010.  Hopefully McCourty’s combination of size and speed will be enough to do that.

Draft Pick #9: WR Dominique Edison
Player On Notice: Paul Williams
There’s not that much space on a roster for reserve wideouts without return skills, which Williams doesn’t have and Edison probably doesn’t have.

Draft Pick #10: G Ryan Durand
Player On Notice: Eugene Amano
Not this year, but next year-Harris will likely the primary backup at guard again this year before becoming Mawae’s replacement at center.  Durand will likely be at least the main backup at guard, and will probably have a chance to earn the starter’s spot at the left guard position currently occupied by Amano.

Draft Pick #11: FS Nick Schommer
Player On Notice: Donnie Nickey
Schommer sounds like the sort of college safety who won’t ever be athletic enough to start in the NFL but has a chance for a decent NFL career if he can be an excellent special teams player, kind of like Nickey has had.

Now, it almost certainly won’t be the case that the draft picks will displace the players I’ve listed, but it would behoove those veterans not to follow the example of Jake “What, Me Worry?” Schifino, and realize that if they want to extend their NFL careers, they need to show it in their preparation and play.

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