Nov. 15, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills guard Andy Levitre (67) against the Miami Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans Free Agent Interests: OG Andy Levitre

Tennessee Titans fans have become accustomed to quality play from their offensive linemen. Those expectations are even higher when the head coach and offensive line coach were both Hall of Fame offensive linemen for the franchise. Mike Munchak and Bruce Matthews know good offensive lines.

After last season, they also know when reinforcements are needed.

How much did the offensive line regress? From 2009-11, the Titans allowed a total of 66 sacks. That’s an average of 22 sacks per season. In 2012, they allowed 39 sacks. For the last two seasons, inconsistent run-blocking has been an issue.

Two interior offensive linemen are needed. Should Fernando Velasco remain at center or return to guard? Velasco moved to center after Eugene Amano tore his triceps during training camp. Pro Football Focus gave Velasco a 13.0 rating.

Let’s assume that Velasco moves to guard. Even in that scenario, the Titans need to replace Steve Hutchinson, who may retire. Leroy Harris and Amano shouldn’t get another opportunity to win a starting job. They’re fine for depth; not as starters.

The Titans are fortunate because they have many options to choose from. With the 10th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, numerous mock drafts have the Titans taking Chance Warmack from the University of Alabama.

Pro Football Focus has graded five unrestricted free agents with ratings of 11.2 or higher. Brandon Moore tops that list with a 21.3 rating. However, at age 33 (in June), Moore is on the downside of his career. The more-enticing option is the player who comes in second with a 17.3 rating: Andy Levitre.

Levitre spent his first four seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Since then, Levitre has yet to miss a start. He hasn’t missed a snap since 2010. His durability, versatility, athleticism, toughness and consistency have given him a reputation as one of the NFL’s best up-and-coming interior lineman.

Levitre should shore up the interior of the offensive line. However, does it make sense to pay big money for an offensive guard? For the Titans, it just might.

It’s more logical now that many defenses are switching to 3-4 alignments. AFC South teams must have good guards who can control Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. While Michael Roos and David Stewart are concentrating on the outside linebackers, the guards must keep Watt out of the backfield. If the Titans don’t fix this problem, it could haunt them for the next decade.

Whether the Tennessee Titans spend on a proven asset or develop a rookie, it’s critical that they improve their guard play for 2013 and beyond.

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Tags: Andy Levitre Free Agent Guard NFL Opinion Tennessee Titans

  • josh gunnels

    yes, yes and yes. Levitre and Warmack!!!!!

    • Justin Stewart

      Woooo…. Setting yourself up for some hurt if you’re hoping for that!

      • Brandon Paille

        We’re halfway there…

        • Justin Stewart

          Yeah. We’ll see if they’ve got the stones to grab another O-lineman early.

  • Modesto Koczwara

    OL is one of the most important positions if not the most because if you do not have a good OL then your QB will be toast no matter how good he is resulting in losses.

    • Justin Stewart

      Yeah… Jake Locker never had a chance. Bum rushed galore.

      • Modesto Koczwara

        What do you think about making a run at Kyle Vanden Bosch since he is released?

        • Justin Stewart

          I think he’s an old man who’s out of gas. Not worth the flyer.

          • Modesto Koczwara

            I agree, and the NFL is getting so much younger. For example, Ray Lewis could not cover Vernon Davis all game long.

      • Shawn Eagle

        We keep talking about how bad the O line was…but it wasn’t really terrible until the end of the season when Roos was the only holdover starter.

  • Kenny Shulsen

    Hopefully the Titans can snag Warmack with the 10th pick he can play either guard position and center. Tackles typically go top 10 usually guards or centers don’t but Warmack is a special talent. The Titans could then use their 2nd pick on Kentucky guard Larry Warford. Hes huge but very athletic and the Titans met with him at the senior bowl where he was very impressive. Taking 2 OL who will start from day 1 instantly improves a huge weaknesses and gives them 2 versatile interior linemen who can play next to each other for the next 10 years. If Hutch can come back, along with Roos and Stewart suddenly you’ve got a potentially very good OL which also saves cap room as Levitre will not come cheap. The improved OL also helps a young QB, which helps the WR corps cause he has time to throw and most importantly helps CJ possibly return to being the weapon he was a couple years ago. You then address D with the rest of the Draft.

    • Justin Stewart

      We’ll see. I think they’ll probably address it during free agency. If they do that, I’m not too sure that they’ll touch it in the draft. They do enjoy being stingy. Ruston Webster has said it’s number one on their list of needs. I think there’s a good chance they go after Levitre.

      • Kenny Shulsen

        The NFL has turned into such an offensive league that IMO if you can shore up the OL with your first 2 picks the rest of the O benefits. I don’t think Warmack lasts until 10 though. The D has so many holes and the O has good skill players why not address the line then address D in FA and the rest of the draft? Just my opinion but I like plugging 2 studs in the middle of the O line.

        • Justin Stewart

          I don’t think the D has that many holes. SS and depth at DE are the two biggest holes I see. Other than that we have 3 young stud LB’s, some great young DT’s, and a couple good CB’s.

          I would like to see a tough young O-lineman, like Warmack, plugged into the middle of the line. I’m just thinking the Titans will have addressed it before the draft. We’ll see though. Never know what the heck they’re doing.

  • Brandon Paille

    I hope we address the line in free agency as well. We have the cap space. Defensive playmakers don’t come cheap in free agency so we have to get them in the draft as far as I’m concerned. We got a few pieces in place on both sides of the ball but are still a couple years away from really making any noise. However, when this young group is in years 5 and 6 instead of 1 and 2, we just might have a Superbowl window open up!

    • Justin Stewart

      I sure hope a Super Bowl window opens up. I’d be happy with just a playoff window. Been way too long for the Titans….