As we’ve done in years past, we’re doing our Roster Countdown series of posts as we get ready for the regular season. See the full list of players we’ve covered so far here.
Position: Wide Receiver
Height / Weight: 6’0” 193 lbs
Age: 29 / Experience: 1
College: Concordia (AL)
Background: Titus Ryan has the speed that NFL teams covet. Ryan was a sprint champion at both the high school and junior college levels. He previously held the record in Alabama high schools for 100 meters (10.44 seconds) and was timed at a 4.28 second 40 yard dash during Alabama’s 2007 pro day. The University of Alabama took a chance on Ryan, after he averaged 9.3 yards per carry as running back during his senior year at Tuscaloosa County High School, but Ryan was unable to meet academic requirements and wasn’t able to attend. Not long after, Ryan joined the track team at Wallace State (AL) Junior College and placed in the national championships at the 100 and 200 meter events. After missing his chance with Alabama, Ryan tried football again for a season at an NAIA school, Concordia College at Selma.
After his stunning pro day dash, the Chiefs signed Ryan for their 2007 training camp roster as an UDFA. After being cut, the Saints signed Ryan for their 2008 training camp and he also spent time later that year on the Carolina practice squad. At all three of those stops, Ryan’s speed was weighed in the balance against his need for refinement. In 2009, Ryan got game experience in Canada with the Calgary Stampeders where he impressed with a 104 yard kick return. During his 2009 CFL season, Ryan averaged 26.4 yards on 15 catches and ranked among the league’s top 10 in punt and kickoff returns. Since then, Ryan has had stints with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL), Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Locos (UFL). The Jets signed Ryan to their practice squad last December before giving him a future/reserve contract for 2013.
2013 Projection: One of the biggest problems for Ryan coming out of school was his lack of experience having missed out on the opportunity to play at a school like Alabama and along the way his speed has never been the question. The question now is whether or not all the stops throughout the NFL, CFL and UFL will have given him enough experience to make an NFL roster for the regular season. After their obvious interest in Tavon Austin, the Jets want to add a player who can add value to the return game as well as deep passes and so Ryan’s skillset is well suited for such a role. But up against competition from Clyde Gates and RB Joe McKnight it’s going to be a challenge for Ryan.