The Titans pretty much finished off the dismantling of the Ruston Webster era during final cuts on Friday as they trimmed their roster to 53 players.
The Titans now have only 11 of 30 draft picks from the 2012-15 seasons remaining on the roster, and have no second or third-round picks remaining from that time period. Tennessee has just seven of 15 draft picks during Ken Whisenhunt’s ill-fated run within that time frame.
New general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Mularkey added wide receiver Justin Hunter (second-round 2014), running back Bishop Sankey (second-round 2014), safety Marquestion Huff (fourth-round 2014) and guard Jeremiah Poutasi (third-round 2015) to that list on Friday.
The Titans also parted ways with veteran return man Dexter McCluster, who signed as a free agent in 2013.
Poutasi being placed on waivers now means that five players drafted just last season are no longer with the Titans with four of their nine picks from a year ago being cut and Dorial Green-Beckham being dealt to the Eagles earlier in the preseason.
“We’ve added some players at all those positions that have played well, have played consistent,” Mularkey said. “We’ve got some numbers a those spots that we feel like we can go into a game with. As we’ve said, the guys that are the most consistent and play at a level that we like will be the guys on the final roster.”
Among the other cuts, the Titans also waived one of this year’s 10 draft picks in cornerback Kalan Reed, who was Mr. Irrelevant as the last player picked in the NFL Draft.
The Titans might not be through making moves, as they have the first priority in waiver claims, something that could dislodge a few players off the bottom of the Tennessee roster.
Here is a look at some of the bigger surprises who earned their way onto the team – at least for the time being.
One of the biggest surprises was that the Titans kept three quarterbacks, opting to go with Alex Tanney as a third QB behind starter Marcus Mariota and veteran Matt Cassel.
The Titans also kept Tre McBride, who will handle the kickoff return duties for now as a sixth wide receiver.
Another big surprise was defensive end Mehdi Abdesmad, who had a strong game in the preseason finale against the Miami Dolphins with five tackles, including one for a loss on a fourth-down play.
“Mehdi has improved. He’s one of the guys on our team that from day one has improved and gotten better and better. The thing about him is he practices hard, and he brings it every single day,” Mularkey said.
Also on the defensive side of the ball, Tennessee kept rookie seventh-round pick Aaron Wallace as an extra linebacker and Cody Riggs, who made the squad as an undrafted rookie a year ago, beat the odds again as a backup cornerback and special teams player.
“(Cody was) consistent. Special teams played a factor into that, even into last night,” Mularkey said. “We talked about that there were going to be some roster spots decided last night into that game, and watching him on special teams, I thought he stood out for what we were asking him to do.”
Who’s in from last four years
2012 _ WR Kendall Wright (1st round)
2013 _ G Chance Warmack (1st round), C Brian Schwenke (4th round), S Daimion Stafford (7th round)
2014 _ T Taylor Lewan (1st round), DE Daquan Jones (4th round), LB Avery Williamson (5th round)
2015 _ QB Marcus Mariota (1st round), DE Angelo Blackson (4th round), FB Jalston Fowler (4th round), WR Tre McBride (7th round)