Intriguing position battles for Titans in 2024

The Tennessee Titans are going to field a new-look team in 2024. We expect the following position battles to play out during training camp and the preseason.
Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans
Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Tennessee Titans are going to embrace equal-opportunity competitions across multiple positions on their roster throughout the remaining portion of offseason workouts. Mandatory minicamp begins on Tuesday (June 4) and runs through Thursday (June 6). Another phase of organized team activities (OTAs) will occur from June 10-13 before the players go their separate ways for a mid-summer break before training camp.

Several position battles have already begun brewing from rookie minicamp and earlier portions of OTAS. Head coach Brian Callahan and defensive coordinator Dennard Wilson have various decisions to settle over these few months. We've identified a handful of roster-based battles that are particularly worth monitoring.

Running Back

Gone are the days of Derrick Henry earning 300-plus touches in a run-first offense. Coach Callahan and general manager Ran Carthon ushered in a new era by allowing Henry to walk in free agency. The backfield tandem of sophomore ball-carrier Tyjae Spears and free-agent signing Tony Pollard will form a one-two punch.

The offensive staff may view Pollard and Spears as "1A" and "1B" options. I don't necessarily expect one to create drastic separation during training camp. Their progress in Callahan's offense will nonetheless be worth monitoring. Pollard and Spears may be jockeying for position (and opportunities) all campaign long.

Right Tackle

A multi-player competition seems to be brewing at right tackle. Third-year blocker Nicholas Petit-Frere is considered the in-house favorite by many, but was unavailable for reps during the first few OTA practices as he continues rehabbing from last year's season-ending shoulder injury. Petit-Frere's injury is mostly a non-story as of now, but it'll become a way bigger deal if he's still not practicing in August.

Sophomore offensive tackle Jaelyn Duncan seems to pose the biggest threat to Petit-Frere at right tackle, but Duncan was also unfortunately unavailable for practice reps in late May. The Titans also acquired Leroy Watson from the Cleveland Browns earlier this offseason. Watson has familiarity with legendary offensive line coach Bill Callahan after the two worked together in Cleveland last season. Second-year undrafted blocker John Ojukwu is also in the mix.

Inside Linebacker

Kenneth Murray Jr. is essentially guaranteed a starting gig at inside linebacker after signing a two-year contract worth $15.5 million in free agency. Who's going to start opposite Murray Jr. is a legitimate question. Last year's starter was Jack Gibbens, but the Titans should aim to do better.

Former North Carolina linebacker Cedric Gray was selected in the fourth round. The Tar Heels standout projects as a potential immediate contributor. Undrafted free agent Otis Reese IV flashed towards the conclusion of last season, making a start against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Week 18 regular-season finale. Gray, Gibbens, and Reese IV could enter training camp on even footing.

Right Guard

Daniel Brunskill was the primary starter in 2023. He was arguably the Titans' best starter up front, but that's not saying much since the likes of Andre Dillard and Aaron Brewer played so poorly. Three Week 1 offensive line starters from last season are no longer on the roster, with Chris Hubbard joining Dillard and Brewer as offseason departures.

Brunskill is a league-average starter at best. The Titans signed former Washington Commanders blocker Saahdiq Charles in free agency. Charles was seemingly hand-selected by the new coaching staff as an ideal fit for their scheme. Dillon Radunz has also been earning reps at right guard throughout OTAS.