The Tennessee Titans trimmed their roster down to 53 players on Tuesday to get ready for the 2021 season. Here are the moves that stood out the most as they did so.
Dez Fitzpatrick Cut
The most noteworthy decision the Titans made as they thinned their herd on Tuesday was waiving rookie WR Dez Fitzpatrick, one of the team’s two fourth-round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Nabbing Fitzpatrick in the draft required the Titans to trade up; they send three draft picks to the Panthers to get in position to take the Louisville product.
That trade proved to be a rather poor choice, though, as Fitzpatrick quickly began to sink down the Titans’ wide receiver depth chart during Training Camp.
Outside of a slam-dunk touchdown in preseason game No. 2 against blown coverage, Fitzpatrick essentially did nothing during August to separate himself from the pack at his position.
He struggled with drops and getting open.
While it is admirable that general manager Jon Robinson isn’t afraid to quickly admit mistakes and move on, there is still plenty of egg on his face.
One year after completely blowing a first-round pick on Isaiah Wilson, Robinson blew a fourth-rounder on Fitzpatrick.
Barring some kind of meteoric rise on the practice squad, Fitzpatrick will be able to fairly be labeled a bust.
Final Decisions at Receiver
To quote @joerexrode: “Kinsey has had a good camp, but he’s in the wrong camp.”
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) August 31, 2021
Fitzpatrick wasn’t the only wide receiver the Titans parted ways with on Tuesday.
The team also released Mason Kinsey, one of the NFL’s preseason receiving yardage leaders.
Kinsey had a nice camp, proving that he runs nifty routes and has reliable hands. The odds were always stacked against him, though, with the Titans having such a strong WR room.
Moving on from Kinsey, a prime practice squad candidate, leaves seven receivers on the Titans’ active roster: Julio Jones, A.J. Brown, Josh Reynolds, Chester Rogers, Marcus Johnson, Cameron Batson and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.
WR Racey McMath remains on the COVID-19/Reserve list.
Thin Defensive Front
DL Anthony Rush made it onto the Titans’ initial 53-man roster. He may not stick around for too long.
Trevon Coley and Kyle Peko would have been better options than Rush as the Titans’ fifth DL, but both players suffered injuries that got them placed on injured reserve.
That’s why Rush’s fate remains uncertain.
Just two weeks ago, Rush was the seventh-best d-linemen on the Titans’ roster. Coley’s and Peko’s injuries led to Rush sliding up the depth chart by default.
The Titans could and should visit the waiver wire to find another team’s castoff who can come in and be their fifth defensive linemen.
Rush is probably only around because of injuries.
More to Come
The Titans made a bevy of roster moves on Tuesday, but there are more to come.
That’s because nine players, some of them key starters like QB Ryan Tannehill, remain on the team’s COVID-19/Reserve list.
The team will have to either cut or move each of those players back to the active roster upon being cleared from COVID-19 protocols.
While the fate of some players on that list, like Tannehill, is obvious, others on the list don’t have such a certain future.
McMath, for example, may wind up on the active roster, or he could, realistically, be cut. The same is true for RB Jeremy McNichols and LB Nick Dzubnar.
The next week should be interesting as the Titans sort out the remainder of these decisions.
Cover image: Jason Getz & Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today