Titans release Justin Hunter, Bishop Sankey

The Titans have released two former second-round picks — wide receiver Justin Hunter and running back Bishop Sankey.

The team has also released offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi, a third-round pick from 2015. Poutasi started seven games last season and played in 11.

Earlier, the Titans released linebacker J.R. Tavai as they began trimming the roster from 75 to 53 players.

The Sankey and Hunter moves weren’t unexpected, as competition at both spots had the two players on the bubble – at best.

In three years with the Titans, Hunter, a 2013 second-round choice, caught 68 passes for 1,116 yards and eight touchdowns. The former University of Tennessee standout never caught as many as 30 passes in any of his seasons here.

The Titans have zero second-round picks left on the roster between 2011 and 2015 -- having parted ways with Dorial Green-Beckham, Sankey, Hunter, Zach Brown and Akeem Ayers.

Hunter's departure could open the door for Tre McBride to make the 53-man roster, but that’s not a certainty. Other Titans wide receivers include Tajae Sharpe, Kendall Wright, Rishard Matthews, Andre Johnson and Harry Douglas.

Sankey, the first running back chosen in the 2014 draft, started nine games that season and three last year. But when the Titans acquired DeMarco Murray and drafted Derrick Henry, Sankey tumbled down the depth chart – below those players as well as Dexter McCluster and Antonio Andrews.

He played the bulk of the Titans’ 21-10 victory in the preseason finale against the Dolphins on Thursday night, finishing with three catches on five targets for 27 yards.

“I’m really at peace,” Hunter said after the game. “I feel like I did good this camp, this preseason, so whatever happens happens. I’m not going to be mad about something if something doesn’t go my way or anything like that. But I’m hoping for the best. I can’t do nothing but wait. I feel like I still got to study plays, just in case I do make it or whatnot. But I’m just going to be chilling with my kids.”

Sankey didn’t touch the ball until the second half Thursday and finished with 25 yards on eight carries. Sankey didn’t receive a carry in the previous game against the Raiders.

Earlier in the week, Sankey said he believed he still had the ability to be a starting running back in the NFL.

“Oh, yeah. Definitely. Definitely. Without a doubt,” he said. “I believe that about myself.”

The Titans must reduce their roster from 75 to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET Saturday. We will be updating with breaking developments as they reach their opening day roster.

This story originally appeared on The Tennessean’s website.


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