Tennessee Titans offensive tackle battle is a win-win

Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Tennessean)
Tennessee Titans (Mandatory Credit: The Tennessean) /

It looked like the Tennessee Titans’ position battles were over before they started, but Nicholas Petit-Frere will give Dillon Radunz a run for his money at right tackle.

Heading into the season Radunz was penciled in as the starter at right tackle, but there were question marks about whether he would compete for the left guard spot as well. This lack of clarity started when the coaches completely botched his development as a rookie and tried to teach him four different positions…at once.

Keep in mind, Radunz has the tools to be a very good tackle in the NFL. The big concern on Radunz coming out was how he would do in his transition to the NFL. Everyone talked about how hard-working and coachable he was, but there are very few players that the COVID-shortened college football season affected more than Radunz.

North Dakota State was never going to boast a tough schedule, but they only played one (1) game in 2020. That means that he came into the NFL with a season with minimal coaching, conditioning, development, and game tape.

Despite that, Radunz had a nice preseason and he stepped up nicely during the season when he was asked to fill in for Taylor Lewan against the San Francisco 49ers, despite only finding out he would be starting on the day of the game and getting no practice reps.

After a year of NFL coaching and winning one of the Titans’ offseason awards for commitment and development, why wouldn’t he start?

Nicholas Petit-Frere is making the Tennessee Titans decision difficult

When the Tennessee Titans drafted NPF in the 3rd round this year, the most obvious outcome for him was that he would be a backup/swing tackle in 2022 and that he would have eyes on starting at right tackle in 2023.

The smart money is still on that to be the case because Radunz is a more natural left tackle than he is a right tackle, but NPF has progressed well so far in camp and he looks good. By all accounts, both tackles have looked good throughout camp with the difference being Radunz being more athletic while NPF has more size.

Whichever tackle wins the job, the Tennessee Titans win.

Mike Keith, Dave McGinnis, and others have said that both of these guys are going to be starters for the Tennessee Titans at some point. When they say that, it isn’t because those two will be the Titans’ only options, they say it because both have the talent to be starters in the NFL sooner rather than later.

Ignore the people in the national media that try to grade every draft on the Sunday following the event, because they post those grades and then don’t think about them again for years (if ever). An “A” draft is a class that brings in three or more starters and a Pro Bowl talent.

Right now the Tennessee Titans could get as many as five starters from this class (Treylon Burks, Roger McCreary, NPF, Chig Okonkwo, and Kyle Philips) and that is a tremendous start. When you layer in the development of the 2021 draft class (Caleb Farley, Radunz, Elijah Molden, Racey McMath, Naquan Jones, and Tory Carter) it is hard to ignore just how many positive developments there has been this offseason.