In the coming weeks I will do a series of posts on the Tennessee Titans and how their players stack up at each position. These Tiers are an indication of what talent level can reasonably be expected of each player for the 2013 season. Future potential and contract status are not really taken into consideration, as this is more an indication of a players talent level and expected production.
Description: Top level starter, at elite or near elite level, absolute lock to both make the team and start. Won’t face any competition for his job.
Description: Quality starter who may have some minor struggles in a given year, but overall is a good football player. Typically just outside the elite/near elite leavel. Should both easily make the team and start. Will be one of the key players on the team.
Description: Passable starter, can play the position and be okay, but won’t consistently play at a high level. Will be streaky throughout the season and over the course of many seasons. Depending on position would be better served as a good role player, or would be the best reserve player at a position. Should make the team, though not a lock and should face competition for a starting job.
-Jake Locker was the Titans 1st round pick (8th overall) in 2011. Tennessee tried to give him some developmental time initially with the signing of Matt Hasselbeck. Unfortunately Hasselbeck got injured Locker’s rookie year forcing him into some early action. This past season they had an open camp battle, but Hasselbeck’s deteriorating skill set gave Locker another chance to start. An arm injury limited Locker some last season, but he still 11 starts. Though some of the struggles could maybe be attributed to the injury, it doesn’t account for how poorly he played last year. The fact is Locker shouldn’t have been playing this soon, as he was a major project coming out of college. Though he possessed a lot of upside, his accuracy and decision making were highly questionable. The positive news for the Titans is the fact that they upgraded both their blocking and receiving this offseason, and appear to be committed to utilizing his legs more this season. The one positive that Locker has going for him is his athleticism and speed. He could benefit by running more option looks this season and Chris Johnson could benefit as well. Unfortunately even with that game plan, it is unlikely that Locker takes his game to the next tier, as his accuracy will prevent him from being any higher.
Description: Replacement level starter. This is a guy who could start in a pinch or as a long-term injury replacement but will max out as an average starter, and will probably be below average. He’s a guy who could be okay as a short term filler, but over an extended period will struggle. Depending on position could be a solid player, or would be a good back-up. Has a decent chance to make the team, and could get a look at a starting job, but nothing is set in stone for him.
-Fitzpatrick is a former 7th round pick of the Rams back in 2005, he eventually was picked up by the Bengals and then the Bills. In Buffalo he’s been the starter for nearly all of the last three years. Though he’s had some good games, some weaknesses appeared in his game. Most notably is his lack of a big arm, which limits him to shorter and more intermediate throws. Fitzpatrick will try to force the ball if his primary receiver is covered which has led to pretty high interception totals in his career. That being said Fitzpatrick should be a solid back-up and if he needed to make a spot start wouldn’t be the worse option.
Description: Solid back-up caliber player. Shouldn’t really ever start, and would be below average in that capacity, but can be a short term injury replacement. Shouldn’t even be much of a role player depending on the position, their best value is in their reliability as a replacement. Depending on the position, should be capable of backing up multiple positions or roles to increase their value. Has a chance to make the team, but really shouldn’t be considered a starting option at all.
Description: Replacement level player. Not considered at all for a starting role, and isn’t even considered a viable back-up. Really only has a shot to make the team if injuries thin out the competition. Overall has a poor chance to make a roster, and is a player who will likely be replaced during the season.
-Rusty Smith is a former 6th round pick of the Titans in 2010. He has played in 4 games (including one start in 2010) in his career, attempting a total of 45 passes. Unfortunately he has been wholly ineffective, with just 0 TD’s and throwing 4 INT’s, while completing just 51.1% of his passes. Smith has yet to show much promise but is a cheap option for the 3rd quarterback spot.
-Enderle is a former 5th round pick by the Bears in 2011, he was released last season and picked up by the Jaguars in camp last season. He didn’t make the final 53 and he was picked up by the Titans in the offseason. Enderle has yet to show he can make an NFL roster, and his accuracy in camp and preseason has been inconsistent. Enderle may challenge Rusty Smith for the 3rd QB job, but he’d need to make some strides to do so.