For Justin Hunter, maybe seeing the Titans trade 2015 second-round draft pick Dorial Green-Beckham was a bit of a wake-up call.
While Hunter doesn’t have quite the same off-the-field issues as DGB, he’s similar as a fellow second-round wideout who’s underwhelmed in the NFL. Through three seasons, the 25-year-old has managed just 68 total receptions for 1,116 yards and eight touchdowns in 35 games, including 13 starts.
Now heading into the final year of his rookie contract, Hunter understands that Titans general manager Jon Robinson, hired in January, isn’t exactly married to most of the players on the roster.
“I feel like everybody is on the chopping block,” Hunter said via Adam Vingan for The Tennessean. “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.”
Hunter also realizes the Titans are auditioning plenty of wide receivers, and that cracking the 53-man roster this year will be all the more difficult with so much competition.
“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.”
Aside from Hunter, Tennessee signed former Dolphins wideout Rishard Matthews in free agency and used a fifth-round pick on Tajee Sharpe out of UMass, who is said to be progressing well. Kendall Wright and Harry Douglas return and are serviceable veteran receivers. Then they picked up Andre Johnson over the summer, who for many years was a Hall of Fame-caliber talent with the Houston Texans and at age 35 is trying to squeeze one more year of football out of his aging body.
Considering the GM and all the talent at the receiver position, it’s precisely the kind of climate that could accelerate Hunter’s exit.
No doubt, Hunter would land on his feet elsewhere. He’s a young, 6-foot-4, 203-pound prospect with 4.4 speed, not to mention that he has the built-in excuse of playing on one of the worst teams in the NFL his entire career thus far.
Perhaps a change of scenery would even be best for Hunter at this point. He’s certainly open to the possibility that, whether it’s this year or next, his time in Tennessee may soon be coming to an end.