An outside look at the Tennessee Titans biggest camp battle.
In an NFL-wide breakdown of biggest camp battles, the right guard position was named the Tennessee Titans biggest spot up for grabs by Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox.
Knox paints two pictures in his article, the first being the left guard spot which is now locked down by Rodger Saffold. He is the perfect scheme fit for this offense and there is minimal (if any) transition from what he was asked to do with the L.A. Rams when he was named an All-Pro.
The other picture is of a tight camp battle for the right guard position. On one side is Kevin Pamphile who did a great job as a do-it-all lineman before being injured early in the season.
His primary competition is 3rd round rookie from the 2019 NFL Draft, Nate Davis. Knox sums it up saying:
"“Veteran Kevin Pamphile likely heads into camp as the favorite, but he is coming off a season cut short by injury.Competing against Pamphile will be rookie third-round pick Nate Davis. The NC-Charlotte product is a powerful, versatile player who spent time at both guard and tackle in college. If he cannot win the job outright, he should provide valuable depth all along the line in 2019.”"
I like Pamphile a lot, but it does seem like this camp battle is a race against time more than an actual battle of talent. Nate Davis does seem to have all the raw tools, it is just about how quickly he can pick up the nuances and the competition level of the NFL game after spending his career at Charlotte.
One thing that goes in Pamphile’s favor is something that I had no idea about, and it comes from The Athletic’s Travis Haney.
When talking about future contracts and which players should be re-signed/extended, he brought up Jack Conklin. Naturally that led to the mini-battle between he and Dennis Kelly at the right tackle position, where this nugget of information came out:
"“Pamphile and Kelly may have some natural rhythm playing next to each other. Pamphile did tell me recently that his first start at Purdue was at left guard. The tackle next to him: Kelly.”"
Now, the fact alone that Kelly and Pamphile played together a long time ago in college isn’t earth-shattering, but don’t overlook it either. There is a sense of chemistry that develops with offensive linemen and any time you have any chemistry at all with a teammate you get a slight advantage.
If Kelly and Pamphile are more than the sum of their parts thanks to that chemistry, it could have big implications for the future of the Tennessee Titans offensive line beyond this year. As for right now, that little boost may be enough for him to shine in the preseason and enter the season as a starter with a real chance to prove himself.