Tennessee Titans: Breaking Down the Crowded Tight End Position

Chad MintonCorrespondent IMay 16, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 24:  Jared Cook #89 of the Tennessee Titans outruns Paul Posluszny #51 of the Jacksonville Jaguars for a touchdown during play at LP Field on December 24, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

There is no doubt about the fact that the Tennessee Titans have their fair share of weaknesses on the depth chart, but the tight end position isn't one of them.

Currently the Titans have seven tight ends on the active roster with Jared Cook and Craig Stevens being mortal locks to making the final roster.

That leaves a lot of competition during training camp for the remaining tight ends like fifth-round draft pick Taylor Thompson and undrafted free agent Brandon Barden.

The Titans will once again rely heavily on their tight ends, and it seems that the majority of the NFL is adopting that same mentality.

Thompson played defensive end at Southern Methodist, but he has all the traits you love to see in a tight end. His combination of size and speed will serve him well in trying to make a difference on this team.

During his first rookie practice, Thompson was said to have looked impressive.

As for Barden, many locals already know of him as he played his college football at Vanderbilt. Even though Vandy isn't exactly an elite football program, Barden has a lot of upside to find a permanent home in the NFL.

Barden offers that big target in the middle of the field that quarterbacks love to have in their arsenal.

An unproductive senior season probably kept Barden from being drafted, but stats don't always tell the whole truth. Barden is was largely ineffective due to his quarterback's struggles on the field.

Once Jordan Rodgers took over as the full-time starter, Barden's production got much better.

Thompson has the advantage heading into training camp simply because the Titans chose to draft him over Barden to begin with.

You also can't forget about veteran Daniel Graham, but it's probably a long shot that he makes a 53-man roster that seems to be leaning towards youthful talent.

It's still Cook's position to lead, and this season could definitely end up being the season that Cook bursts onto the NFL scene. Maybe not to the same magnitude as Rob Gronkowski, but a 1,000-yard season is not out of the realm of possibility.

Cook finished with a career-high 759 receiving yards last season.

Stevens is a solid blocking tight end and has soft hands which can help move the sticks. He really didn't receive a lot of targets last season, so he flew under the radar despite all the positives he brings to the table.

Head coach Mike Munchak has one of those problems that aren't a bad thing to have heading into training camp. He'll most likely have to reluctantly cut a very talented tight end when it's all said and done.