NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ultimately the Tennessee Titans will try to keep their best 53 players.
The roster demands certain minimum numbers at positions, but players at the bottom of a group can force a team to be a little bit unconventional.
Rosters are cut from 90 to 75 on Sept. 1, and to 53 on Sept. 5.
Injuries can factor in, but at this point it's possible the last running back, the last tight end and the last receiver are fighting for one spot.
"I think sometimes it comes down to what they can contribute special teams and sometimes it comes down to value factor maybe for how they would be looked at as the league goes," coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
A big blocking tight end would generally be easier to cut and get on the practice squad than a guy making a bunch of catches.
Here are the guys stacking up in that battle with my thoughts on them at this time. I actually think two of this group will be around, but there is a lot of camp and the preseason to still change minds:
Running back Antonio Andrews -- The Titans signed him off the practice squad Oct. 21 rather than allowing him to jump to the roster of the Buffalo Bills. That was certainly a statement of their strong feeling for Andrews. But they drafted David Cobb, a power back with a similar style, in the fifth round. And rookie fullback Jalston Fowler can carry the ball as a heavier back as well. Bishop Sankey, Cobb, Dexter McCluster and Fowler are on the roster. Andrews seems too good to let go, but aren't five backs too much? They finished last season with five, But Leon Washington was the kick returner in addition to working as the third-down back.
Receiver Tre McBride -- I think the Titans will find a way to keep him. Receivers coach Shawn Jefferson told me recently McBride needs to learn he has to do every little thing right. That lesson in precision is a common one for a young receiver. McBride would stack up as the sixth receiver, behind Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas, Hakeem Nicks, Justin Hunter and Dorial Green-Beckham. The Titans finished last season with five receivers, but it was a group lacking in talent and Hunter was on injured reserve. If he wins the kick-return job, he can make this decision easier.
Tight ends Phillip Supernaw and Chase Coffman -- A fourth tight end is a bit of a luxury, but the Titans learned last year with injuries how quickly they could be needy at the spot. These two rank behind Delanie Walker, Anthony Fasano and Craig Stevens. They are roughly comparable, so the one who plays better on special teams will separate himself.
Receiver Jacoby Ford -- Maybe he's in the mix as a seventh receiver, but that is certainly a big number and how many could be on the active 46 on a Sunday? Ford is a proven, quality return man, but it's hard to find a spot for a guy who will play only as a returner. He'd have to outplay McBride to be active on game days, and I think it'd be hard for him to leap McBride considering the Titans' affection for the seventh-round pick and the value they feel they got.