TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: CORNERBACKS
In camp (12): Kristian Fulton, Roger McCreary, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Elijah Molden, Tre Avery, Chris Jackson, Caleb Farley, Shyheim Carter, Eric Garror, Steven Jones Jr., Anthony Kendall, Armani Marsh.
Offseason developments: The Titans signed Murphy-Bunting, previously with the Buccaneers, in free agency. Molden practiced with the team – at multiple positions – this offseason after missing most of the 2022 with an injury. Farley, who had back surgery in 2022, did not practice in OTAs on the minicamp. Carter, who spent time on the practice squad in 2022, signed a futures contract back in January and worked with the team all offseason. Jones and Kendall joined the team as undrafted free agents while Marsh and Garror signed with the team after taking part in a rookie minicamp. The Titans hired Chris Harris as the team’s new defensive pass game coordinator/cornerbacks coach, as he replaced Anthony Midget. Meanwhile, former Titans defensive back Greg Mabin signed with the Panthers, while Terrance Mitchell and Davontae Harris became free agents and neither has been signed.
In the spotlight: Fulton. A second-round pick of the Titans in the 2020 NFL Draft, Fulton didn’t take part in the voluntary OTAs this offseason. Fulton was in town for the mandatory minicamp, but he only took part in the stretch period. The events surrounding Fulton created some buzz about his health, while putting a bigger spotlight on him heading into a contact year. Fulton has been mostly solid during his NFL career, but he’s also battled inconsistencies while only playing in 24 games in the last two years because of groin and hamstring injuries. The Titans need Fulton to stay healthy, and to play well. Fulton is focused on doing those things while putting an emphasis on making more game-changing plays this fall.
Battle to watch: Backup spots. The Titans have some sorting out to do in the secondary, as Fulton, McCreary, Murphy-Bunting, Molden and others compete for starting spots, positions, and playing time. As previously mentioned, Molden even worked some at safety this offseason to expand his versatility. Other defensive backs are also in the mix, including Avery, who improved on his already good reputation this offseason. Carter’s play in offseason work was also good, while Jones is another guy to keep an eye on after some encouraging play in OTAs. Jackson needs to give himself a chance by staying healthy. Farley, meanwhile, has drifted into the background as he continues to deal with a back injury that’s kept him from being able to compete.
Keep an eye on: Roger McCreary. A second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft by the Titans, McCreary finished his rookie season with 85 tackles and one interception, along with eight passes defensed. McCreary led or tied for the team lead in tackles in three games, and he led or tied for the team lead in passes defensed on three occasions as well. Heading into Year Two, McCreary has focused on being better across the board, especially in the slot.