Titans: Alex Barnes, Nate Davis players to watch in preseason Week 1?
Pro Football Focus says running back Alex Barnes and right guard Nate Davis are two Tennessee Titans players to watch during the first week of the preseason.
The Tennessee Titans have a slew of interesting players to watch during their Week 1 preseason matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, but Pro Football Focus believes running back Alex Barnes and right guard Nate Davis are chief among them.
PFF broke down the players to watch from each preseason game in Week 1, and here’s what they had to say about the Titans’ pair of rookies.
"Rookie guard Nate Davis finished the pre-draft process as PFF’s fifth-best interior offensive lineman. He allowed all of four pressures across his 234 pass-blocking snaps this past season. Running behind David & Co., rookie running back Alex Barnes will look to prove he’s so much more than a workout warrior with every preseason snap he gets in Tennessee. The former Kansas State standout blew up the combine and earned impressive yards after contact per attempt and forced missed tackle per attempt averages in 2018."
Davis is currently in a battle for the right guard spot with Kevin Pamphile. There’s no clear indication who will get the starting gig at this point, but Pamphile’s experience is certainly a leg up. Pamphile has also been running with the first-team offense a bit more in training camp.
Barnes had a ton of hype coming into training camp after a solid spring. Things have calmed down a bit since then, as Barnes has been consistently outperformed by fellow back Jeremy McNichols, who seems to be making head-turning plays on a daily basis at practice.
While we’d certainly agree that Davis is an important player to watch, we don’t agree as much with Barnes.
After all, the UDFA out of Kansas State is a long shot to make the roster with three backs already basically a lock in Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis, and David Fluellen, who will double as a fullback.
Barnes needs an injury to one of those three to even have a chance, unless the Titans carry four backs, which we don’t anticipate.
We’d suggest some other players to keep an eye on in the first week of the preseason.
My first choice would be defensive back Amani Hooker, who was the highest-graded slot corner in the FBS last season. With the versatility to play safety as well, it’ll be interesting to see where the Titans use him in Week 1. He’s listed as a safety on the team’s first unofficial depth chart.
Aside from Hooker, you can throw any of the team’s young linebackers in the mix, especially outside linebackers D’Andre Walker and Derick Roberson.
Wide receiver Anthony Ratliff-Williams has also turned heads at camp, and a battle at the wide receiver position continues to loom between Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor, both of whom are trying to secure the No. 3 receiver spot over a currently injured A.J. Brown.
As locked-in as most of the Titans’ roster seems to be at this point, there are still a ton of players and storylines to keep an eye on that make this preseason a bit more interesting than one would assume.