ESPN has just come out with their roster projections for all 32 teams in the NFL. While the Tennessee Titans have a few jobs open, if everyone stays healthy there should be relatively few battles in camp this year.
However, one spot that could be hotly contested is the starting wide receiver spot. While I think Rishard Matthews is probably a lock because he is the one wide receiver on the roster that this current regime actually made a big effort to go and get, it gets hazy after that.
Before I break down my thoughts on the other starting WR position, look at what Paul Kuharsky said:
“He was running with the starters at the end of the offseason and didn’t look like he was new to the NFL. Dorial Green-Beckham needs to elevate his game to stake a claim to the spot. But as of now, I’ll stick with Sharpe as one of the top two in base, and project veteran Kendall Wright to be in the slot when they are in three-wide.”
A quick side not, that is exactly what you want to hear if you are a Jon Robinson fan. Robinson went out and hit value in every round (depending on your opinion of Jack Conklin) and didn’t bite on guys he didn’t believe in at wide receiver early.
Instead, he stuck to his board and found a potentially rookie-starting caliber wide receiver in the fifth round. While he didn’t hit on cornerback (though we haven’t seen what these rookies can do) maybe we should trust him if the Tajae Sharpe move pays out like it looks like it is going to. If Robinson didn’t believe in these guys, and wanted to wait for a stacked DB group in 2017 where he has two 1st round picks, who are we to say he is wrong?
Anyway, I like how Paul Kuharsky says that Wright would be the slot option in a three-wide set, without anointing him the starter. Wright is a good slot receiver, but for too many years this team has tried to make him something he is not, a starting flanker. He just isn’t effective there and the proof is on the tape, so why continue to force a misfit?
Tajae Sharpe sounds great, and don’t think that Marcus Mariota isn’t going to love a 6’2″ player who runs great and consistent routes. However, for my money you have to start Dorial Green-Beckham.
First of all, he came in as a rookie and lead all Tennessee Titans receivers despite missing his final year of college. So, a rusty, rookie receiver lead the Titans receivers in yards despite the revolving door at quarterback and two different head coaches? That is an impressive start to his career in my opinion.
On top of that, in his DGB’s final three games that he had with Marcus Mariota starting he had 285 yards and a touchdown, despite being a rotational player.
While I think that Matthews can be a lot of help to this team, I think his role should be what DGB went through last year. A year where he can slowly develop and be brought along while he learns exactly what it takes to be a wide receiver in the NFL. That doesn’t mean that he can’t play 30-40% of the snaps now, but he should have a very defined role and be amazing at that before trying to jump in head first.
DGB is a freakshow at 6’5 235 lb. with very nice speed and soft hands, all he needs is a little bit more consistency and to maybe have a running game to feed off of. That should all be in place heading into year two.
While many are saying he needs to make a leap, if DGB just became consistent as the #1 in this offense and produced like he did in his final three games with Marcus Mariota, then he could end up easily surpassing the 1,400 yard mark and become the offensive threat that the Titans haven’t had in over a decade.