There’s perhaps no better feel-good story than that of the overlooked undrafted rookie free agent who signs a longshot contract but ultimately outworks a few veterans and earns a spot on an NFL roster.
The Tennessee Titans signed several undrafted free agents following the recent NFL Draft and invited some more to attend their rookie minicamp over the weekend, which served as a first look at more than 28 players for the Titans’ coaches.
Yes, not every player who attended will have a roster spot or even make it through the entirety of training camp. But there were a few players that either flashed potential or showed enough to possibly beat out veterans at their respective positions.
Listed below are a few of the players who have the best chance of sticking with the Titans:
Briley Moore, TE
It’s no secret that the Titans are thin at the tight end position. Anthony Firkser is the presumed started and Geoff Swaim was brought pack due to his strong blocking skills. MyCole Pruitt has been reported to be a target to be re-signed as well, but that might not be necessary depending on how Moore performs during training camp.
Moore’s 22 receptions last year were the most by a Kansas State tight end since 2012, and his 338 receiving yards were the most since 2014. He also added three touchdown grabs. His athleticism coupled with his pass-catching ability give him a decent chance to at least be Tennessee’s third tight end. Moore’s potential as a pass blocker could seal the deal.
Moore will have some competition as former Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney, Tommy Hudson and fellow undrafted free agent Miller Forristall are all hoping to lock down Tennessee’s No. 3 TE spot.
Blake Haubeil, K
By virtue of the position he plays, Haubeil has the best chance of any undrafted rookie to stick with the team. The Titans didn’t bring back Stephen Gostkowski — nor should they have — leaving second-year kicker Tucker McCann as the lone competition for Haubeil.
McCann showed off a big leg last year, hitting a few 50 yarders in training camp, and Tennessee kept him around on the practice squad, presumably to compete for the starting job in 2021.
Haubeil, who made 28 of his 35 field goals (80 percent) and all 146 of his extra points at Ohio State, possesses the accuracy that the Titans haven’t had since the 2018 season. He also can hit from 50 yards or more, kicking a career-long 55 yarder last season against Northwestern.
Naquan Jones, DT
Jones was the only defensive lineman at Titans’ rookie minicamp and he received the benefit of all the attention of the defensive coaches, including defensive line coach Terrell Williams and assistant Kenechi Udeze.
Tennessee gave Jones $45,000 guaranteed and a $10,000 signing bonus — both large numbers for an UDFA — showing how highly the team thinks of him.
While the defensive line is a little more crowded this year with Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry, Teair Tart and Lurrell Murchison, Jones has the size (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) to replicate what DaQuan Jones did for the Titans — take away the running lanes up the middle and allow the pass rushers to get to the quarterback.
Jones had 12.5 tackles for loss and three sacks during his tenure at Michigan State, showing he can be a serviceable player in the middle of a line. In a perfect world, he could take a year or so to develop while serving as an extra rotational piece to help keep the line fresh and potentially move into a larger role in 2022.
Brady White, QB
Logan Woodside hasn’t exactly had to face the fiercest competition for the Titans’ backup quarterback job. Seventh-round pick Cole McDonald was cut early last year, and Trevor Siemian didn’t impress enough during training camp to make it off the practice squad.
White was the only QB at rookie minicamp over the weekend and fared very well in short-yardage and intermediate throws. Although he did have a few rookie moments, White showed good accuracy and he could be a contender to push Woodside for the QB2 job.
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