With rookie minicamp starting this weekend, the Titans finally announced their undrafted free agent signings, all of which had been previously reported. That means it's time for me to write about them.
First, the Titans have been one of the hardest teams for an undrafted free agent to make. Until long-snapper Beau Brinkley and defensive tackle DaJohn Harris made the team last year, no rookie undrafted free agent had made it through the entire season on the 53-man since 2006. With the sheer number of additions this offseason between veteran free agency and the draft, I would say it's more likely than not that no undrafted free agent makes the team this year.
Second, apparently the Titans don't plan to throw the ball at rookie minicamp, since they did not bother to sign a quarterback among their undrafted free agents. Given the presence of players like wide receivers and tight ends who might be expected to catch the ball, I find that strange. Whatever. It's an oddity, not something important.
Anyway, here's the breakdown:
Eloy Atkinson, C, UTEP-Multi-year starter in the middle of the offensive line. NFL Draft Scout's 43rd-rated center. Given the depth on the interior, camp body.
George Baker, CB, South Florida-Ran a 4.31 at his pro day, which is obviously a good time. Haven't seen anything else that indicates he's a serious prospect.
Maikon Bonani, K, South Florida-The mandatory kicker to give Rob Bironas's leg a rest.
Stefan Charles, DT, Regina-The 10th overall pick in this month's CFL draft and a player who may have gone higher had the Titans not already shown interest in him. Big man (listed at 6'5", 325 pounds) who was a Canada West all-star in 2011 and listed as the top overall prospect by CFL Scouting Bureau in September. Throw him somewhere in the complicated defensive line mix, and don't forget the Titans gave Mitch King one of the biggest bonuses of any UDFA and he didn't make the team.
Jack Doyle, TE, Western Kentucky-Three-year captain and starter for the Hilltoppers. A bigger player at 6'5" and 254 pounds, he also indicated in a radio interview he played a lot of move tight end rather than in-line as his size would suggest. Was at the Senior Bowl, where he was dinged for a lack of speed. Could be in the mix with Brandon Barden to be TE4, which is not a job that's guaranteed a spot on the 53.
Travis Harvey, WR, Florida A&M-A possible BCS recruit until he broke his ankle in high school, Harvey played only one year of college football due to academics. The Titans have too many bodies at receiver to keep on the 53 already.
Stefphon Jefferson, RB, Nevada-Highly productive his final year at Nevada, rushing for 1,883 yards. Watching him I thought he was no more than a replacement-level back. Okay quicks, marginal at best long speed, doesn't make people miss, doesn't run with much power. I thought he could push Harper for the RB3 spot, but will need to show he can do things other than carry the football to challenge Parmele.
Oscar Johnson, G, Louisiana Tech-Big man (6'5", 331) who played both guard and left tackle in LaTech's passing spread attack. Marginal foot speed, which is why he's a guard rather than a tackle (probably). Could be a practice squad guy, could just be a camp body.
Nigel Nicholas, DE, Oklahoma State-Played end and tackle for the Cowboys. Oklahoma State listed him at 269 during the season, but he was 253 at his pro day, so yeah, he's an end rather than a tackle. I haven't seen anything that indicates he's a serious threat to make the team.
Matt Pierce, CB, Valdosta State-Had a kickoff return for a score in the D2 national championship game his team won. Winning championships is awesome. Nothing I've seen indicates he's an NFL corner.
Rashad Ross, WR, Arizona State-Twitter name TheRocketRashad indicates what he's about. Ran a 4.36 at his pro day. Needs a lot of work to do outside of running go routes all day, including catching the ball. Like every other wide receiver will not make the 53, but he has a shot at the practice squad.
Matt Sewell, OT, McMaster-Big (6'8, 335) developmental tackle. Selected in the first round of the CFL draft. Highlight video on his CFL Combine page is all coaches' cam-style shots, which I wish would be the case for every prospect. Probable camp body. If he doesn't make the 53, does he go to the practice squad or the CFL? Probably the CFL.
Dontel Watkins, WR, Murray State-Local kid (Antioch H.S.) who went to Utah State and juco before ending up at Murray. Haven't seen anything that gets me too interested, though I didn't dig that deeply.
Jonathan Willard, LB, Clemson-Aka "Tig." Productive college player, multi-year starter, still a longshot to make the team.
Tom Wort, LB, Oklahoma-English native who emigrated to the U.S. in junior high. Had a year of eligibility remaining (injury redshirt), though having his degree and not enjoying Mike Stoops' scheme had something to do with coming out early. Multi-year starter at MLB for the Sooners. Doesn't seem to have plus size, speed, or strength.
Perma-disclaimer I may not repeat as often as I should: All these guys are way, way, … way, way better football players than I ever was and tougher and strong and could probably beat me up without breaking a sweat. The 53 is far from set in stone at this point, and it's not out of the question one or more of these guys could impress and make the team. I'll be watching with interest this August to see if any can surpass my expectations and make an impact.