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Running through Titans' receiver depth

8/25/2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Derek Hagan has seven credited NFL seasons and Brian Robiskie has five.

The two veteran receivers have fared better than I expected when the Titans brought them in over the summer, but indications are that the Titans could wind up looking for outside help to supply receiver depth after they cut to 53 by Saturday.

While Kendall Wright, Nate Washington and Justin Hunter are locked in as the top three receivers, it gets complicated after that and there is significant drop off.

Michael Preston is big and has a nice catching radius, but he may be the slowest is of the Titans seven veterans. Marc Mariani was a seventh-rounder in 2010 and is a fan favorite who can be an effective returner, but he missed the last two years with camp injuries, probably isn't the same player he was before them and lacks explosiveness.

Hagan and Robiskie are journeymen. Hagan was a third-round pick by Miami who's also played for the Giants, Buffalo and Oakland. Robiskie was a second-rounder for Cleveland, and has also been with Jacksonville, Detroit and Atlanta.

The team's top seven receivers all had a chuckle as I polled them on who would win a race between Hagan (who ran a 4.45 way back at his scouting combine) and Robiskie (4.46).

Of course each player said he would win.

Wright, Hunter and Washington all said they'd take Hagan.

Mariani and Preston said Robiskie.

One defensive coach I talked to about Hagan and Robiskie called them "perennial bubble guys” and said "neither has real speed.”

We'll soon find out if the Titans see any role for either.

Receivers coach Shawn Jefferson told me last week they are all still in grind mode, putting together their résumé.

"We're in a tunnel marching, there's no light,” he said of the way the group is working. "... One days we'll see the train coming.”

The Titans could carry as few as four and as many as six.

Also still around are two long-shot kids: Isaiah Williams and Rico Richardson.

The disappointment from a depth perspective is that, before spending a first-rounder on Wright in 2012 and a second-rounder (after a trade up) on Hunter in 2013, the Titans had little success finding anyone of substance at the position in the draft.

Damian Williams was better than any of the four under consideration in my eyes, and he moved to Miami as a free agent after 2013. Kenny Britt, the first-rounder from 2009, was a huge headache for the team and flamed out in his final year. Sixth rounder Dominique Edison from Britt's class did nothing. Lavelle Hawkins, a fourth-rounder from 2008 has bounced around.

If they'd developed one of those guys and kept him, they'd be four deep and have a little wiggle room in case of an injury.

Instead it's a big concern on an offense that has the potential to be pretty good.