Titans Take A Chance…

Chance Warmack became the Tennessee Titans’ first opening-round offensive line selection since 1993. (taken from si.com)

I don’t think I’ve ever entered a draft with less hype.

It made sense though. With a weak group of offensive skill position guys, and my declining interest in the NFL (primarily due to the current over-saturation of the league), it was easy to see why I wasn’t excited for last night.

But at the end of it, I left the first round the most satisfied I’ve ever been with the Tennessee Titans’ first-round selection. Funny how that works, right?

The bulleted list below shows the players I wanted in the Titans’ first-round spot the over the last five years, and who they actually selected. Sometimes, it’s good to be wrong.

  • 2012 – G David DeCastro (wanted), WR Kendall Wright (selected)
  • 2011 – DT Nick Fairley (wanted), QB Jake Locker (selected)
  • 2010 – DE Brandon Graham (wanted), DE Derrick Morgan (selected)
  • 2009 – WR Hakeem Nicks (wanted), WR Kenny Britt (selected)
  • 2008 – WR Limas Sweed (wanted), RB Chris Johnson (selected)

In my lifetime as a Titans fan, I’ve never seen an offensive line as bad as the group from last season. Injuries played a big role in the unit’s downfall, but there was regression from Michael Roos and David Stewart as well; a lot of that being that they were asked to do too much. The interior line couldn’t be trusted, and frankly has never been trustworthy since Kevin Mawae wasn’t re-signed after the 2009 season.

Alabama guard Chance Warmack was my pipe dream from the get-go, and he remained in that spot even with the off-season signing of Buffalo Bills guard Andy LeVitre. Keeping franchise quarterback Jake Locker calm in the pocket was a necessity for his development, and allowing Chris Johnson to pick and choose his holes would catapult the running game back to its usual standard; which was set between the 2007-09 seasons. Both of these things are now possible with LeVitre and Warmack in the fold.

I saw a tweet last night (can’t remember who exactly posted it, otherwise I’d link it) that  summed everything up nicely. Last season, Tennessee had Deuce Lutui and Leroy Harris as their main starters at guard, and because of that they were graded as one of the worst offensive lines in the league. With healthy tackles, and LeVitre and Warmack teaming up with Fernando Velasco at center, the Titans can make an argument that they have one of the NFL’s best offensive lines.

Locker doesn’t have an excuse now. I’ve been an apologist of his because of the shoulder injury he suffered last season (his stats before the injury are impressive), but this is a make-or-break year for the former University of Washington signal-caller. With the rookie pay scale in place, a “franchise” quarterback has a shorter leash to show he can be that guy. If he falters, then the Titans will be back in the market for a quarterback; continuing the revolving door at that position that started when they severed ties with Steve McNair.

So welcome to Tennessee, Chance Warmack. I think you’ll find that Mike Munchak and  Bruce Matthews are sort of knowledgeable about your position.

Some other draft thoughts:

  • As everyone else has said, the Bills took Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel far too high. I do like that they went out and got the top signal-caller on their board; I just disagree with Manuel being that guy. I personally liked Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, and Ryan Nassib ahead of the former Seminole, but I put more stock in production than in workouts.
  • On the flip-side, I like what the Rams did; especially when they went out to steal Tavon Austin from New York. However, I’m unsure if Jeff Fisher and Brian Schottenheimer will use Austin in the right way. Schottenheimer has been known as one of the most “vanilla” coordinators in the league over the past few years, and Fisher has been reluctant to adapt his way of coaching. It’ll be interesting to see what Austin does in his rookie season.
  • I’m not sure if a Browns fan will read this today, but if so, please go out right now, adopt a puppy, and name him Barkevious. I know I would if I were in that situation.
  • Why do teams trade with the New England Patriots in the first round? They always fleece their partner and find impact guys with the draft picks they receive. That being said, they’ll again start the season as the AFC favorite, go between 11-5 and 13-3, and then get upset before the big game. It’s a vicious circle.

Thanks for reading.

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