Throughout the 2020 season, the 8-3 Tennessee Titans have received a fair share of contributions from players who could be considered “diamonds in the rough.”
Due mostly to injury, the Titans have often been forced, as of late, to rely on several players who were either undrafted free agents or castoffs from other NFL teams. Almost without exception, those players have stepped up and played well.
Here’s a look at some of the most notable hidden gems the Titans have stumbled upon in 2020.
CB Breon Borders
#Titans may have stumbled into a gem with Breon Borders.
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) November 22, 2020
Because of Adoree’ Jackson’s ongoing injury issue and Johnathan Joseph’s lackluster play during his stint with the team, the Titans began to be forced to rely on Borders in November.
It looked, at first, like Borders would simply be the latest Titans corner to get abused by opposing offenses, as the 25-year-old was relatively unknown and had on eight different teams since joining the NFL in 2017.
Fortunately for the Titans, the opposite of that has happened.
Borders has been a tough draw for opposing receivers. He’s logged four pass breakups and three interceptions so far, and he figures to remain a key part of the Titans’ defense even when Jackson returns.
LB Will Compton
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) December 1, 2020
Compton spent the entire 2018 season with the Titans but spent most of 2019 on the street before being picked up by the Raiders late in the season.
It looked like the 31-year-old might be in for the same fate in 2020 until the Titans picked him up during Training Camp when it became clear that their inside linebacker depth was, at best, suspect.
With LB Rashaan Evans struggling and LB Jayon Brown done for the year with an elbow injury, Compton has seen a good deal of playing time in 2020, and he’s playing arguably the best football of his career.
He’s become more than just a depth piece and a special teamer—he’s making plays for the Titans on defense, and his play has been one of the few highlights for a unit that has mostly struggled in 2020.
DL Teair Tart
Tart’s contributions truly came out of nowhere. The undrafted rookie made the Titans’ practice squad after struggling in Training Camp and got his first opportunity to contribute when defensive linemen Jeffery Simmons and DaQuan Jones contracted COVID-19 in early October.
He began making an impact immediately, flashing in both the running and the passing games. His success during Jones’ and Simmons’ absences led to him finding his way onto the active roster in November.
Tart continues to play a good share of meaningful snaps for the Titans’ defense.
RB D’Onta Foreman
Foreman’s NFL career has not gone the way he probably expected when the Texans picked him in the third round of the 2017 draft.
The Texans cut him after just two seasons and sat out 2019 with an injury. In 2020, though, he’s provided solid contributions to the Titans’ offense.
With rookie RB Darrynton Evans dealing with an ankle injury, Foreman has often been the Titans’ preferred option to spell Derrick Henry, and he’s done it well.
So far in 2020, Foreman has carried the ball 22 times for 95 yards. Against the Colts in Week 10, he caught a touchdown pass on the goal line.
LT David Quessenberry
Against the Colts on Sunday, Quessenberry became the Titans’ third different starting left tackle of the 2020 season. In that game, which was his first career start, he played very well.
Quessenberry has bounced back and forth between the Titans’ practice squad and active roster since head coach Mike Vrabel arrived in 2018, and he’s beginning to reward the team’s insistence on keeping him around.
Should his success continue, he will almost certainly fend off rookie first-round-pick Isaiah Wilson and continue to be the Titans’ preferred starter at left tackle.
Cover image: Steve Roberts & Christopher Hanewinckel