Wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham was a second-round pick just a year ago, but that didn’t stop new Titans general manager Jon Robinson from trading DGB to Philaelphia on Tuesday. Now, another of Tennessee’s previous second-round picks – fellow wideout Justin Hunter – is worried about his job security.
In regards to the Green-Beckham deal, Hunter told Adam Vingan of the Tennessean, “I feel like it sent a message out to everybody — you better get your stuff right. I don’t think anyone in the locker room was expecting it.”
Hunter, whom the Titans drafted 34th overall in 2013, then admitted that cracking the Titans’ roster is going to be difficult.
“It is still going to be hard (to make the team) because we have a lot of talented receivers in the group. We are fighting for spots, and you have to keep up and progress at the same time,” said the 25-year-old.
Like the 6-foot-5, 237-pound Green-Beckham, Hunter (6-4, 203) is a big target. But that hasn’t led to much production in the NFL for the ex-Tennessee Volunteer. Hunter has an uninspiring 68 receptions and eight touchdowns in 35 career games (13 starts). While Hunter has averaged an impressive 16.8 yards per catch, that number dropped to a career-worst 12.0 on 22 grabs last season. The 2015 campaign was a short one for Hunter, who only appeared in nine games as a result of a mid-November fractured ankle.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota likes what Hunter has shown in returning from the injury.
“Coming back from an injury like that, being able to run routes, he’s been pretty clean and crisp in and out of his breaks,” the second-year signal-caller told Vignan.
Despite a vote of confidence from his QB, Hunter is wary about his status under a new regime.
“I feel like everybody is on the chopping block,’’ Hunter stated. “We have a new GM, and he didn’t draft too many people in here. Anybody could go at this point, and we are all fighting for a spot.”
It remains to be seen how many receivers will make the Titans’ initial 53-man roster in the first full season of the Mike Mularkey era, of course, but Vingan notes that they only kept four last year. As Roster Resource indicates, the club currently has free agent signings Rishard Matthews and Andre Johnson, Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas, fifth-round rookie Tajae Sharpe, second-year man Tre McBride and Hunter among its wideout options.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.