No matter how well you know the Tennessee Titans roster, there is always a player or two that comes out of nowhere during training camp to claim a roster spot.
There were a few players from camp that had a chance to win that title this year. One of the most popular names in camp right now is defensive back Eric Garror, who has been on a heater over the last four weeks.
Calling Garror an UDFA doesn't even tell the full story of how he got onto the roster. Instead of being in the UDFA class that was signed immediately after the draft, Garror had to go through the tryout process before even getting the invite to training camp.
Since then he has been sticky in coverage, willing to stick his nose in the fan in run support, and has even returned kicks. That is as close to a meteoric rise as a camp tryout player can have and I fully expect him to make the initial 53-man roster.
However, this year there is another player with a great story that should get the nod as the biggest surprise of training camp.
The next great Tennessee Titans (blocking) tight end?
Tight end Thomas Odukoya was on the Tennessee Titans practice squad last season, but he never saw the field despite being on the most injured team in the NFL.
That isn't a great vote of confidence for a player, and there was no reason for anyone to expect Odukoya to climb the depth chart heading into the preseason. The Tennessee Titans signed multiple tight ends including Trevon Wesco (more on him later) and they drafted Josh Whyle on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Despite the slow start to his career and the odds stacked against him, he has quickly turned into one of the stories of camp because of how dominant he has been as a run-blocker.
Odukoya isn't lighting up the stat sheet, but he is making plays as a blocker and when you play back the biggest runs of the preseason, there he is in the background doing the dirty work.
Recently Mike Keith called Trevon Wesco the best run-blocking tight end on the roster and said that Wesco was similar to former fan-favorite Craig Stevens. While Odukoya isn't there yet, he is developing at a rapid rate, and with how many multiple tight end sets Tim Kelly uses, there is a chance that Odukoya becomes an important role player this season.
There are still hurdles to overcome (like technically making the roster), but when Mike Vrabel publicly gushes about how lucky the Tennessee Titans were to land Odukoya, that is a good sign that he is going to clear that hurdle.
Flexible chess pieces like Chig Okonkwo and Tyjae Spears are going to be useful for Tim Kelly this year, but don't sleep on the value of a pair of truly impressive run blockers that can line up inline and win their matchups. Those blocks could be the difference between a 10-yard Derrick Henry run and a 50-yard Derrick Henry run, even though guys like Odukoya won't get the credit they deserve for that necessary dirty work.