3 Titans in danger of losing their job after minicamp

Three veteran Titans are in danger of losing their roster spots after the conclusion of mandatory minicamp
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The Tennessee Titans recently concluded their mandatory minicamp period. It offered head coach Brian Callahan and his staff their first opportunity to assess their current 90-man roster via on-field activities after multiple veteran players skipped the previous (and voluntary) organized team activities (OTAs). Besides the players that were inside the building rehabbing from injuries, Callahan had a great chance to assess his team before training camp marks its arrival.

The Titans are continuing to implement a new scheme on both offense and defense. Changes are being made to Tennessee's philosophical approach. That has placed certain Titans players on notice, especially ones that were acquired by the previous regime. The happenings at minicamp indicate the following three Titans are in danger of losing their role or roster spot altogether.

Chigoziem Okonkwo, TE

The general expectation is that third-year tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo is the premier starter at his position. It's an understandable belief after Okonkwo was the second-most snapped skill player on the team last season, trailing just future Hall of Fame wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Not so fast.

It was an average sophomore season for Okonkwo in 2023, who was undoubtedly held back by Tennessee's offensive shortcomings. But the former Maryland standout must take accountability too after being credited with six drops by Pro Football Focus, doubling the amount of "oopsies" from his impressive rookie season.

All in all, Okonkwo failed to showcase the desired sophomore step, producing just eight more receiving yards (458 versus 450) while seeing his yards per catch average plummet from 14.1 to 9.3. With coach Callahan and his offensive coordinator Nick Holz overseeing a system change, there's going to be changes to Tennessee's personnel. That opens the door for Okonkwo playing in a reduced role.

Sophomore tight end Josh Whyle is seemingly chomping at the bit. The 2023 fifth-rounder made a modest impact as a rookie playmaker last season, totaling just nine receptions for 94 receiving yards and a touchdown. Whyle was limited to 11 regular-season appearances, spending a sizable stint on the sideline with a knee injury that prematurely ended his season.

Josh [Whyle] has had a great offseason,” Titans offensive coordinator Nick Holz recently said. “He’s been healthy here this whole spring, and so you’ve really seen the route running, the different change of direction and kind of that body control take a leap in the first couple of weeks.”

The tight end position has historically never been a massive contributor to the Callahan offense. The Bengals were predominantly an 11 personnel offense (three receivers, one tight end) with Callahan as their play-caller. Whyle's developmental track indicates he could become the preferred tight end this season.

Treylon Burks, WR

The offseason hasn't been kind to former Titans first-round pick Treylon Burks. The Titans acquired massive upgrades at the receiver position by signing both Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd in unrestricted free agency. When healthy, they are the players that will join DeAndre Hopkins as Will Levis' preferred targets in three receiver sets.

Burks is no higher than No. 4 on the Titans' receiving depth chart. That's a tough pill to swallow for a recent 18th overall selection that's accumulated just 665 receiving yards and one touchdown through his first two seasons. At minicamp, Callahan confirmed that Burks has been practicing the gunner position on special teams.

"Absolutely, he's going to have to contribute [on special teams]," Callahan said. "You only get so many hats on game day, and if he's one of those guys on game day, then we're going to have to find a place for him. Guys like him should be great special teams players on top of it, just because of his size and speed. The gunner thing is something I think he's very capable of doing. There might be some more roles for him in the other phases as well, but any time you're not the full time starter, you're going to have to contribute somewhere on game day. And I think Trey's attitude and approach to special teams have been fantastic, and I'm excited to see what he can do for them. I think he's an asset on special teams."

Playing on special teams during minicamp indicates Burks may be competing for a 53-man roster spot. The Titans have a crowded wide receiver room with 13 wideouts on the current roster. The financial penalty according to OverTheCap indicates the Titans won't release Burks, but a trade remains a possibility as training camp nears.

Daniel Brunskill, IOL

Daniel Brunskill delivered league-average results for the Titans as the starting right guard in 2023. There was a strong indication throughout minicamp that Brunskill is in competition for that spot with Dillon Radunz and free-agent signing Saahdiq Charles. Charles is the early favorite to claim the job.

New offensive line coach Bill Callahan preferred to utilize bigger-bodied guards throughout his tenure with the Cleveland Browns. The likes of Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller both cleared 315 pounds with ease. Charles is even bigger than those Pro Bowlers with a listed weight of 322. Both Brunskill and Radunz have historically been sub-300 pound lineman. Also consider that Callahan admitted to playing a role in Charles' signing, and it's clear that Brunskill is at risk of losing his starting job to Charles.

Furthermore, Brunskill claimed the staff asked him to be the backup center throughout the spring and summer workout periods. That makes sense, given the Titans don't have a clear-cut backup center behind Lloyd Cushenberry. Corey Levin was the backup last season, but was not re-signed this offseason. Brunskill has plenty of experience at center, having played 546 snaps there for the San Francisco 49ers in 2020.

The Titans probably shouldn't release Brunskill from the roster altogether. The savings ($3.3 million with $500k in dead cap, via OverTheCap) aren't worth sacrificing the versatility and experience Brunskill brings as a move-capable interior offensive linemen, even as a backup. However, it remains clear that he's trailing Charles in the race to be the starting right guard.