Tennessee Titans Undrafted Free Agents: Need-to-Know Info on Every Signee
Minor holes on the roster that weren't addressed were positions such as tight end, safety and another possible edge-rusher.
Fourteen undrafted free agents could end up being signed by the Titans, according to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com:
#Titans will sign 14 undrafted free agents.— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) May 11, 2014
Players are going fast following the conclusion of the NFL draft, which is no surprise.
Virtually every position is in play when signing undrafted free agents. Any player who can come in and possibly give the team quality depth is what you're searching for if you're the Titans.
The Titans will also most likely take a look at several kickers who went undrafted to get a replacement for Rob Bironas.
Here are the latest undrafted free agents to sign with the Titans who will look to find a way to make this roster when training camp rolls around later in the summer.
Eric Ward, WR, Texas Tech
The Titans agreed to terms with Texas Tech wide receiver Eric Ward, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. He's one of four wide receivers the team has signed following the draft.
Ward is a solid slot receiver who put up 947 receiving yards and eight touchdowns last season for the Red Raiders. He brings great size, strength and athleticism, according to Rob Rang of CBSSports.com.
Out of the four wide receivers taken by the Titans as undrafted free agents, Ward probably has the best chance at making the 53-man roster in August.
It's still unclear who is going to step up in the Titans receiving corps after Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Nate Washington. You have several guys who will be in competition for a couple of spots.
David Wright, TE, Westminster
David Wright becomes the lone tight end taken in this crop of undrafted free agents, according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. Drafting a tight end seemed like a possibility late in the draft, but they decided to wait until after.
Wright is bring a large frame at 6'5" and played at Westminster College in Pennsylvania. His main competition to make the team will probably be Taylor Thompson, who has struggled in his transition from defensive end to tight end.
It's hard to know what you're getting with some of these prospects from small schools like Westminster, but we'll see plenty of Wright in training camp.
Antonio Andrews, RB, Western Kentucky
Taking an undrafted free agent at running back is usually the norm to get some healthy competition at the position in training camp. John Glennon of The Tennessean has said the Titans have agreed to terms with Antonio Andrews out of Western Kentucky:
WKU RB Antonio Andrews has signed w Titans, per his Twitter account— John Glennon (@glennonsports) May 11, 2014
Andrews seems to also be pumped about heading to Nashville on his Twitter account:
Music City here I come!! #TitanNation— Antonio Andrews (@Salute2Dat5ive) May 11, 2014
Leading the nation in all-purpose yards has to count for something, and that's what Andrews did in 2013, racking up over 1,700 yards on a solid Western Kentucky squad.
Andrews has shown he can handle a heavy workload and pick up tough yards after contact, which made him successful at the collegiate level.
It will be challenging to make the final roster with all of the competition on the depth chart, but a spot on the practice squad isn't far-fetched.
James Gayle, DE/OLB, Virginia Tech
James Gayle out of Virginia Tech is another huge undrafted free-agent signing that Wyatt of The Tennessean has reported on his Twitter account:
Virginia Tech DL James Gayle has agreed to terms as an undrafted free agent, he said via Twitter— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) May 10, 2014
I actually had Gayle in a previous mock draft as being taken by the Titans mid-draft. He offers a ton of versatility as either a defensive end or an outside linebacker. This was nicely played by the Titans, as they never got their edge-rusher like they were previously expected to take with Anthony Barr as the 11th overall pick.
To give you an idea of how big of a steal this could be, Gayle was projected as a third- to fourth-round pick by NFL.com.
Gayle is 6'4", 254 pounds and brings a ton of flare to the position. He's another guy who has a great chance at making the final roster for Week 1. His ability to use his athleticism to get around the edge to the backfield is a huge part of his game. A very productive pick here.
Hakeem Smith, SS, Louisville
Smith brings some needed depth to safety position as he surprisingly fell through the draft without any takers.
George Wilson is entering the final year of his contract, so the Titans were in need of getting some safety help. We also don't know if the Titans will be able to eventually afford Michael Griffin's price tag, so don't sleep on safety becoming a gaping hole in the near future.
Rob Rang of CBSSports.com does see Smith as being capable of eventually becoming a "productive NFL defensive back".
Smith was a 51-game starter for Louisville and also had team captain honors his senior year. His small frame at 6'0" and 186 pounds probably caused him to fall out of the draft. However, Smith has a decent opportunity to find a way onto the roster.
Ri 'Shard Anderson, CB, Syracuse
Syrauce cornerback Ri'Shard Anderson has joined the Titans to possibly add depth after the departure of Alterraun Verner. This according to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
The Titans didn't draft a cornerback despite many people having the positions as one of the top needs. Some experts even had cornerbacks Justin Gilbert and Darqueze Dennard projected to go to the Titans in the first round.
Marquestion Huff was drafted in the fourth round, but he's considered more of a free safety than a cornerback.
Anderson is undersized for the positions at 5'11", but he felt like the Titans was the best place for him according to Nate Mink of Syracuse.com.
There will be a lot of competition at cornerback to make the final roster with Tommie Campbell, Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson being the main guys that will be competing for a starting role.
Travis Coons, P/K, Washington
The Titans finally got a kicker to possibly replace Bironas by signing undrafted free agent Travis Coons out of Washington, per Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.
P-K Travis Coons to the Tennessee Titans, according to a source— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) May 11, 2014
Coons has split time between kicker and punter, so he gives you versatility as well. He will be the primary competition to incumbent Titans kicker Maikon Bonani, who has no regular-season experience.
Just one miss in 2013 makes Coons a suitable candidate to come in and compete for the job. He was also very impressive from 40-plus yards out, hitting all five field-goal attempts.
The Titans are in search for another big-legged kicker, and Coons will get his opportunity in preseason action to become the next Titans kicker.
Jaz Reynolds, WR, Oklahoma
Wide receivers are usually one of the more popular positions to add depth through undrafted free agents. The Titans have wasted little time by signing Oklahoma wide receiver Jaz Reynolds, according to Glennon of The Tennessean:
Agent Ken Sarnoff says Oklahoma C Gabe Ikard and WR Jaz Reynolds have signed w #Titans as undrafted free agents.— John Glennon (@glennonsports) May 10, 2014
Reynolds is a blazing-fast guy at 6'2" who put together an eye-popping pro day that featured a 40-yard dash time of 4.56 seconds, according to Rob Rang of CBSSports.com.
His speed alone earned him a chance to make this team and join a Titans receiving corps that is made up of primarily young receivers.
He'll have to prove he can focus and mature somewhat if he has any chance at making the team. He was suspended multiple times at Oklahoma, according to Nolan Nawrocki's scouting report on NFL.com.
The Titans did themselves some good at getting a speedy player to come in and compete for a No. 5 spot on the depth chart at wide receiver. They didn't take a wide receiver in the draft.
Josh Stewart, WR, Oklahoma State
Josh Stewart is another wide receiver signed as an undrafted free agents by the Titans according to SBNation.com.
Nolan Nawkrocki of NFL.com has Stewart as a "small-framed, quicker-than-fast slot receiver" in his scouting report.
Stewart has small size at 5'10", and his NFL combine results were not particularly impressive.
The Titans are kind of in search of some competition at slot receiver so that Kendall Wright can move to the outside and maximize his potential. Stewart will have to really impress coaches to make the final roster.
Derel Walker, WR, Texas A&M
This signing of Texas A&M wide receiver Derel Walker may not carry the level of excitement as some of his former Aggies teammates, but it's still an interesting deal for the Titans.
Walker was signed, according to Wyatt of The Tennessean:
At 6'2", Walker is a bit undersized and got very little attention leading up to the draft. He did put up respectable numbers last season with 818 yards receiving and five touchdowns. It was his one season of virtually any production at Texas A&M.
He posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.65 at his pro day, according to CBSSports.com.
Walker definitely got overshadowed by several other Texas A&M players, including Johnny Manziel. He's probably a long shot to make the 53-man roster. It's just so difficult to make an NFL roster at any position, particularly wide receiver.
Jamal Merrell, OLB, Rutgers
The Titans reportedly signed Rutgers outside linebacker Jamal Merrell, according to Rutgers beat writer Dan Duggan:
#Titans fans: Jamal Merrell is an athletic OLB. 6-4, 230, ran a 4.64 40 at pro day. Blocked seven kicks in three seasons.— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) May 11, 2014
His 4.64 40-yard dash time, according to Duggan, makes Merrell worth a hard look for a roster spot on a defense that will need speed at linebacker.
Merrell becomes the second linebacker signed in the Titans' class of undrafted free agents. The team seems to be making up for missing out on an outside linebacker in the draft.
The Titans basically need to add as much competition as they can to outside linebacker and defensive end to get the players they want to solidify their pass rush.
Merrell has formidable size at 6'5" and has the potential to become a solid special teams contributor. Nolan Nawrocki's scouting report on NFL.com suggests that he needs to develop more size and strength to become more of a factor than just on special teams. His athletic ability and size makes him worthy of a shot to make this team.
Gabe Ikard, C, Oklahoma
Another undrafted free agent from Oklahoma signs with the Titans with center Gabe Ikard, according to Wyatt of The Tennessean:
Ikard was the fourth-rated center, according to CBSSports.com. He was projected as a fourth- to fifth-round pick in its prospect rankings, so this is somewhat of a surprise.
Brian Schwenke is the current starting center heading into this upcoming season, but no one has really set themselves apart as the primary backup. Ikard has a solid opportunity to make the 53-man roster when it's all said and done.
Ikard has excellent intangibles, and it's a shocker that he slipped all the way through the draft without one team taking a bite on him. He put up impressive NFL combine results, per NFL.com. Those results include 22 reps on the bench press and top times in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill.