Mar 13, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive linemen D.J. Fluker (left) and Chance Warmack do bag drills during Alabama pro day at the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports
Anybody who has followed Tennessee Titans rumors and draft coverage has heard the reasons for why Chance Warmack and Jonathan Cooper are ideal fits with the No. 10 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. According to TFY Draft Insider, the Titans may use that pick on an offensive lineman from the University of Alabama—just not the one who many fans have fallen in love with.
Rumors have targeted Nashville as a potential destination for D.J. Fluker. At Alabama, Fluker was part of an offensive line that consisted of Barrett Jones and Warmack. All three of these players have a chance to get drafted before Round 2 and each of them should get drafted before Round 3.
This isn’t a trade-down scenario. TFY Draft Insider indicated that the San Diego Chargers would consider Fluker with the No. 11 pick. If the Titans want Fluker, they’d have to use their No. 10 pick. I’m assuming that Fluker was a backup plan in case Warmack and Cooper were both gone. Imagine the shock if Fluker were taken while Warmack and/or Cooper were still available.
Here’s the NFL.com profile on Fluker. Supposedly, the Titans see Fluker as an offensive guard who could become a Day 1 starter. Fluker is a dominant run-blocker who endured some struggles in pass-protection. That was evidenced when he had trouble containing Quanterus Smith and other Western Kentucky defensive linemen.
It’s uncommon to see a franchise address their need at offensive guard with a top-10 pick. The last time that a true offensive guard was drafted that high came in 1997. With the No. 10 pick, the New Orleans Saints drafted Chris Naeole. Since 2000, no guard has been drafted higher than No. 15.
Does this mean that a team would never consider an offensive guard with a top-ten pick? Not necessarily. Let’s revisit the 2001 NFL Draft. With the No. 2 pick, the Arizona Cardinals drafted Leonard Davis. Although Davis was drafted as an offensive tackle, he spent his first three seasons as an offensive guard.
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak enjoyed a Hall of Fame career as an offensive guard. Munchak was chosen with the No. 8 pick in the 1982 NFL Draft. He understands the importance of quality trench play. Furthermore, Munchak understands how the trend of 3-4 defenses has increased the importance of guard play. Without good guards, the Titans are at a huge disadvantage when facing Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
How do fans feel about drafting Fluker with the No. 10 pick? Answer in the poll below. Poll closes on Apr. 24 at 7:00 p.m. CT