Mike Munchak really made me do a double-take at the press conference introducing him as the new head coach of the Titans, when he claimed the offensive line was good enough for the Titans to win a Super Bowl. I had to check the transcript afterwards, and sure enough, my ears hadn’t deceived me.
“There’s no reason we can’t win a Super Bowl with that offensive line,” Munch said.
I don’t buy it. The o-line, particularly the interior, has been poor the past several years. Football Outsiders ranked the 2010 Titans 31st in overall run-blocking and 31st in power success. It was also ranked 31st in being stuffed, where first is stuffed the least and 32nd is stuffed the most. The interior line was 32nd, dead last, in Adjusted Line Yards. The line is in need of an upgrade, and if Leroy Harris leaves in free agency, it will be in even greater need of an upgrade.
The main problem with selecting a guard/center early in the draft is that other positions are also in dire need of upgrades. Quarterback, defensive tackle, defensive end, strongside linebacker and middle linebacker are also positions of strong need.
Given that, an offensive lineman may not be selected until late in the draft, if at all.
I wouldn’t object if the Titans drafted a guard/center in the second, third or fourth round, if he was good enough to improve the running game, even at the expense of waiting ‘til later to re-address the defense.
The Titans were last in the league in time of possession last year, in large part due to their inability to run the ball to convert third downs. If you believe a good offense is the best defense, then selecting a guard who can get a good push on third and short helps keep the defense off the field.
Following are some guys I hope the Titans will consider, if they’re still on the board.
Round Two – Danny Watkins
Round Three – Ben Ijalana, Stefen Wisniewski, Orlando Franklin
Round Four – Will Rackley, John Moffitt
Watkins is projected as a possible late first-rounder, so he’ll have value if he slips to the Titans in the second round at #39. Likewise, there will be good value if projected second-rounders Ijalana, Wisniewski or Franklin slip to #77 in the third round.
All are good run-blockers and I wouldn’t mind any of those six. Wisniewski is a center, the rest are guards, though Ijalana and Franklin will be looked at as right tackles by some teams.
I doubt if anyone drafted in the fifth round or later would be an upgrade, though they could compete for, and win, a starting position. They would be projects, for sure. Maybe the Titans will take a chance on a guy like Andrew Jackson.
What do you think? Do you think the line should be upgraded, or are you hopeful it will be OK and the Titans should concentrate on defense?