The Tennessee Titans are going to have a very difficult time narrowing down their options for the last 10 spots on the 53-man roster, and Josh Malone is a great example of why they are going to face some tough decisions.
When the Titans signed Malone back in February, everyone (except Vols fans) read that information and then forgot about it in 24 hours.
Since that deal was announced, Malone has gone from someone that only Vols fans ask about to a player that is constantly mentioned by coaches and teammates. Most importantly, he was name-dropped by Ryan Tannehill after the first mini-camp practice as someone who the QB is getting familiar with.
While Malone is still a long shot, there is actually a perfect example of a player following a similar path last year and the Tennessee Titans signing them to the main roster after training camp.
Is Josh Malone this year’s Marcus Johnson for the Tennessee Titans?
In 2021, Marcus Johnson was signed on March 9th and was an afterthought despite receiving constant buzz from coaches and media members who watched him practice.
Unfortunately, an injury in September forced him to miss some time with the Titans (a common theme with the team that year), but when he came back he added a vertical threat to an offense that lacked anything close to that.
Injuries cropped back up for Johnson, but not before he put up 160 yards on just 9 receptions (17.8 yards per catch) and showed why the Titans were right to believe their eyes with him.
Cutting back to Josh Malone, we are in the phase now where he is getting the offseason buzz and he has constantly been the “other” receiver that people bring up after the more obvious names get dropped.
The effort is there with Malone and he absolutely has the tools to play in the NFL. At the NFL Combine, Malone measured just under 6’3, 208 lb., and he ran a 4.40 40-yard dash.
While he will have to figure out how to prove that he can be an asset on special teams, Malone might be on the same path as Johnson was before him. The Tennessee Titans have plenty of weapons that can make plays in the middle of the field like Robert Woods, Austin Hooper, Kyle Philips, Chig Okonkwo, and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, but Malone would join Treylon Burks as one of the few players that could consistently threaten defenses down the sidelines.
There is still a long way to go and he is going to have to prove that he can translate those practice reps to the field vs preseason defenses, but this is a very positive trend for Malone. In the preseason he will get to work with Malik Willis whose play style favors vertical threats like Racey McMath and Malone, so that will help give him a chance to show out.
Again, he is still a long shot but he is a name that Tennessee Titans fans are going to want to know over the next few months.