This past season one of the most glaring problems the Titans had was with the offensive line. Their lack of durability and lack of talent really shined against the much better competition this past season. By the end of the year they were just counting the warm bodies that were left.
First things first, and I wrote it up in one of my earlier articles, and that is the importance of resigning G/C Fernando Velasco. He was the only player to play all 16 games without injury and did quite well against some decent competition. He is also versatile which is key now-a-days with any offensive line.
Second thing, cut the dead weight. Look it may be harsh to say but there is some players on the O-line who make it worse. LeRoy Harris is one of them. Yeah he had a pretty good outing as the teams center and for some reason the Titans moved him to guard and Eugene Amano to C. Since then that move he's been less than spectacular. The Steve Hutchinson experiment seemed to be a disaster also. I know the Titans were trying to catch that Kevin Mawae magic, and sign a veteran OL who still had some talent left, but his durability is now questioned and he was less than impressive when he played. The biggest dead weight could be Eugene Amano. Before his injury a lot of people were already calling for his head. Now coming off a season-ending injured season, he could turn into a liability if he can't make holes for CJ, or protect Locker. He's a decent sized cap number this coming year and could free up some cap space if the Titans would cut ties (but as this off-season has looked so far, don't except any surprises).
So what are we left with? We need a guard of some sort, so lets start with Free Agency first and see what is available.
OG Brandon Moore from the Jets has shown that he can protect a mediocre QB in Mark Sanchez as he started and played every game this past season injury free. He also has played the likes of Vince Wilfork, Marcell Dareus, and Randy Starks. He was able to make holes for a mediocre at best Shonn Greene. So he would be a great addition to the much maligned Titans.
Redskins OG Kory Lichtensteiger is a name not on a lot of people's radars, but he did quite well opening up holes for Alfred Moris and did a good job protecting RG3 (RG3 because of RG3 not the O-line, remember that) . He doesn't get a lot of press so he could be a steal. He it would be hard to take away an O-lineman from coach Shanhan, but he could be available.
Bills OG Andy Levitre is a diamond in the rough as well. He played for the Bills who are a much better team than most people give them credit for. Change out the QB and the coach (which they have) and they could have been a much better team this year. Levitre was great opening up holes for the dangerous CJ Spiller and gave Fitzpatrick all the time in the world to throw interceptions... Still, he was a bright spot for the team and if he test's the market the Titans should give a call.
Now the draft is looming and to me the smartest pick this year is an offensive lineman. Yes i know some of you are yelling for CB or a pass rusher of some sort. I believe that there isn't that Patrick Peterson type player this year and there haven't been a lot of DE to wow me...so far. The draft is loaded with O-line talent this year and it wouldn't be smart to pass up a future Benji Olson, so lets check some out.
Start with the most obvious OG Chance Warmack and Barrett Jones. Now I know we can't draft both, unless we sell the farm to get both of them which would be dumb. I'm just including both, there from the same team and both play Guard. Now with that said Warmack overall has impressed me more that Jones, but Jones is more versatile. He can play Guard, Center, and Tackle if necessary and be equally effective at all positions. With the past season we had this year with the line he would have been perfect to move around. Warmack is what you want in an offensive guard, mean, strong, a mauler, and can run players over. Will that transfer from the college level to the pro-level will see, but I'm gonna say yes. Most people have Warmack as the number one player and in the top five ranked in the draft.
Travis Frederick from Wisconsin had a great year making holes for Montee Ball, and he could slide to the late first round if the Titans want to trade down and collect more picks. He is as safe as a bet as the first two, he didn't play NFL-like competition in the Big 10, which isn't his fault, but it could be an easier transition if he played in the SEC.
The only other Guard worth drafting early in the first round is Johnathan Cooper from North Carolina. His stock has fallen a little due to durability issues, but he's ranked the 2nd best OG on a lot of boards. He has almost all the same character traits as Warmack, except durability.
Now if the Titans do go CB or edge rusher in the first, there is still some OG talent in the later rounds. Alvin Bailey from Arkansas could be starter out of camp, but probably will be a project player. Matt Summers-Gavin from Cal is also another later pick, he could go in the 3rd and be another project player.
I know an offensive lineman isn't the most sexy pick in the draft, but like I said, it is easily the safest.