After investing an abnormal amount of capital in the offensive line for the past decade, the Titans can finally focus on other positions.
For years, the NFL draft, free agency, offensive linemen, and the Tennessee Titans were synonymous. Year after year, the Titans would spend a helpful of capital in order to fix their offensive line. They tried and they tried to get back a stalwart, mauling unit. It worked some years, and others it didn’t.
Since 2013, the Titans have drafted an offensive linemen in the first round in three out of four years. In the one year they didn’t, former GM Ruston Webster reached for Jeremiah Poutasi, a raw developmental offensive line project out of Utah. Poutasi lasted one season with the Titans and played just one game with the Jakcsonville Jaguars in 2016. The three first round offensive line picks were Chance Warmack, Taylor Lewan, and Jack Conklin.
Lewan and Conklin have been fantastic, and are arguably the best tackle duo in the league. Warmack is an enigma. He had a poor rookie season, rebounded with a really solid sophomore effort, and has been a liability ever since then. He also missed most of the 2016 season due to injury. I don’t see Warmack coming back to Tennessee next year, especially given the play of replacement Josh Kline, whom the Titans claimed off waivers from the New England Patriots. Kline had a few poor moments throughout the season, but he was very solid overall.
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The signing of center Ben Jones has proven to be an underrated move. After several years of underwhelming center play on the line, with the likes of Brian Schwenke, Andy Gallik, and Fernando Velasco (though he was decent for a year), Jones has been a godsend. He’s dependable every week and sets the tone with his nastiness in both the run and pass game.
Rounding out the starting five, Quinton Spain has been great as the starting left guard. An impressive player at West Virginia, Spain surprisingly went undrafted in 2015 and has worked his way from UDFA to starter on the best offensive line in football.
For the first time since probably 2009, the year Chris Johnson went for 2,000 yards, the Titans can finally go into the year feeling great about their offensive line. They don’t need to draft or sign a tackle, guard, or center to compete for a starting job. Could they use a backup tackle or guard? Sure, but there’s no need to invest much into that player.
Instead of those unsexy picks and signings, the Titans can focus on other positions. Positions like cornerback, wide receiver, or outside linebacker. Positions that will make splash plays and be noticed on regular basis. I, for one, am looking forward to the draft for that very reason. I won’t have to force myself to get excited about drafting a right tackle. Having a dependable offensive line is a luxury, so let’s enjoy the fact that we don’t have to worry about it for a while.