New additions pushing returning players down depth chart at WR

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Some feelings were going to be hurt once Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson allocated major resources to the receiver position. Some veteran will lose his job and another could see a dip in playing time.

Monday, the Titans released their first unofficial depth chart. It's often used as a guide for players, coaches, media and fans to get an early glimpse at how position battles are shaking out midway through training camp. The order of receivers, at this point, may be the biggest takeaway.

Veteran receiver Rishard Matthews and rookie Corey Davis, with his injury caveat, are listed as the starting receivers. Late offseason free agency pickup Eric Decker and speedster Tre McBride are their immediate backups.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey said if Davis was healthy he would be the early starter at the "X" with Matthews running at the "Z." Decker's primary role would come as the top utility man at those two spots and the leading slot receiver when the Titans went into a three-receiver or red-zone formation.

Davis' hamstring injury is expected to hold him out for the rest of this week and possibly longer. His goal is to be ready Week 1, Sept. 10, versus the Oakland Raiders.

McBride's current spot as the team's fourth receiver could be the biggest surprise of the depth chart. He's ahead of third-round pick Taywan Taylor, veteran Harry Douglas and second-year wideout Tajae Sharpe.

A possible conclusion for McBride's lofty depth chart positioning is his speed (4.37 40-yard dash) brings a unique element to a Titans offense full of big possession receivers. McBride, a 2015 seventh-round pick, has bounced between the Titans' active roster and practice squad over the last two seasons. He has two catches for 8 yards and a touchdown in his NFL career.

Sharpe is listed with a group of receivers unlikely to make the roster because of his uncertain injury status. He's currently on the physically unable to perform list recovering from surgery on a right-foot stress fracture. He could be a candidate to remain on that list for the first six weeks of the regular season if he doesn't see much preseason action.

Cornerback. Logan Ryan and LeShaun Sims are listed as the starting cornerbacks with nickel corner Brice McCain and first-round pick Adoree' Jackson being their direct backups.

Jackson isn't being handed the starting cornerback job due to his first-round status. There's a decent chance Sims, a 2016 fifth-round pick who played well and started the last two games, could win the Week 1 starting job opposite Ryan.

All four should receive significant playing time, and this unit is still one of the Titans' biggest question marks. Mularkey said consistency will decide if Jackson has enough to win a starting job.

Running back. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry will be a formidable one-two punch. The battle behind them between David Fluellen and seventh-round pick Khalfani Muhammad for the third running back spot could be fun. Fluellen has the early lead, per the depth chart, but Muhammad's speed and special-teams presence should force the battle to go on until cut day.

Quarterback. No controversy here, Marcus Mariota being healthy is the main focus, but it'll be intriguing to watch Matt Cassel and Alex Tanney while the Titans decide between keeping two or three quarterbacks on the active roster. Tanney is out of practice-squad eligibility.

"Both can win games for us. Very comfortable in the offense, very confident in what we’re doing," Mularkey said. "There’s a big trust factor with our three quarterbacks when they step in the huddle."

Returner. Eric Weems was listed as the starting punt returner and kick returner with Jackson as his backup. Weems is not currently listed as one of the top six receivers, meaning the Titans would need to create a roster spot for him or he could eventually be cut and lose that role to Jackson. It's noteworthy that Jackson has been impressive as a returner.