Don't be surprised if Titans have new starting RG in 2024

Daniel Brunskill returns to the Tennessee Titans in 2024 after serving as the primary right guard in 2023. Without any major acquisitions made at the position throughout the offseason, that would seemingly make Brunskill likely to reclaim his starting gig. Not so fast, says our @JustinM_NFL with both Saahdiq Charles and Dillon Radunz likely to push Brunskill throughout training camp and the preseason.
Seattle Seahawks v Tennessee Titans
Seattle Seahawks v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

The Tennessee Titans spent large portions of the offseason revamping an offensive line that allowed 64 sacks throughout the 2023 campaign, which tied for fourth-most across the NFL. General manager Ran Carthon made a splash by signing free-agent center Lloyd Cushenberry to a four-year contract worth $50 million, making him one of the highest-paid centers in the league. The left tackle position was addressed by selecting former Alabama offensive tackle JC Latham with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

One position that didn't receive much attention throughout the offseason was right guard. Daniel Brunskill served as the primary starter in 2023, playing a position-high 768 snaps and only missing time there due to injury. The 30-year-old was a league-average starter that earned a pass-protection grade of 67.7 from Pro Football Focus. Brunskill remains under contract for 2024 at a team-friendly $3.8 million cap charge.

The Titans' lone notable offseason move at guard was to sign Saahdiq Charles to a one-year contract worth a modest $1.5 million. That would seemingly make Brunskill a shoo-in to reclaim his position as the starting right guard for a second consecutive season. I'm not convinced that will be the case and instead foresee a three-man competition brewing throughout training camp and the preseason that includes Brunskill, Charles, and Dillon Radunz jockeying for positioning.

Of Tennessee's six offensive linemen that played more than 300 pass-blocking snaps in 2023 (per PFF's charting), Brunskill had the fewest quarterback pressures allowed with 26. It's not quite as complimentary as it sounds. It's worth noting that blockers like Andre Dillard, Jaelyn Duncan, and Aaron Brewer, who all allowed more pressures than Brunskill, were among the worst performers in the league at their position. After all, rookie quarterback Will Levis was pressured on 44.5% of his dropbacks, second-highest in the league, trailing just Justin Fields. Brunskill made plenty of negative contributions to that number.

Among other to-do list items, legendary offensive line coach Bill Callahan is tasked with sorting through the three-man conundrum at right guard. Callahan seemed impressed with Charles when discussing his acquisition with local members of the media for the first time in May. He went as far as to indicate he played a role in the decision to bring Charles to Tennessee.

"“Had a really good career in Washington I felt,” Callahan said when discussing Charles. “Some of the things I identified on film were positive, could play into our scheme and could add into what we are doing here. It was a little bit of a no-brainer to acquire him.""

Titans OL coach Bill Callahan

Charles did not enjoy a fruitful season for the Washington Commanders in 2023. Playing on an offensive line that was arguably worse than what the Titans fielded, Charles was slapped with a pass-blocking grade of 53.9 while being credited with allowing 37 pressures and 4.0 sacks. Callahan seemingly identified some untapped potential when reviewing Charles' film. His comments may even indicate Charles is the favorite to open Week 1 as the starter.

And then there's Radunz, Titans fans' favorite "what if" player.

Brian Callahan and his new staff seemingly see Radunz playing guard, not tackle, just like Mike Vrabel and the previous regime did. Radunz spent the majority of his reps playing right tackle in 2023 out of sheer necessity, but he did contribute 185 snaps at guard, mostly as an injury fill-in for Peter Skoronski on the left. Radunz particularly thrived as a run-blocker, earning a grade of 78.7 from PFF in that department.

It's a critical fate-deciding contract season for Radunz. He hasn't met his pre-draft expectations to date, but arguably now possesses the best opportunity he's realistically had to claim a starting gig throughout his tenure. The onus is on Radunz to take advantage of whatever opportunity materializes.

The Titans require better results from their offensive line throughout the 2024 campaign if the offense (Levis, mist importantly) is to showcase necessary progress. While upgrades were desperately needed at left tackle and center, they need better play from the right guard position as well. The Titans have two players who should push Brunskill for the starting gig as the summer develops. It's worth monitoring Charles and Radunz and how many first-team reps they capture throughout training camp.