The Titans spent their 1st round draft pick on Alabama Guard, Chance Warmack, to shore up an offensive line interior that had degraded to one of the league's worst units. So how did he do in season 1 of his NFL career? And where does the big man need to improve heading into the future under the new regime?
Warmack was a road-grading mauler in the SEC, and he continued that trend in the pro's. His biggest asset has always been his strength, which allows him to be an effective blocker at the point of attack. He played at a solid level in the run game. There is also lots to like about his work ethic and leadership, especially for a young guy on a line full of veterans outside of draft-mate Brian Schwenke. Warmack has been a great locker room guy, who's aggressive demeanor comes out on the field of play.
Former Titans OC, Dowell Loggains had this to say about Tennessee's 2013 1st round draft choice:
"He’s the hardest working offensive lineman out of the group...He’s the guy you walk in at 4:30 a.m. and he’s sitting in the office watching tape. He has a tremendous desire to be good. It is very important to him."
"He is very prideful to the point where he probably wears the other guys out a little bit wanting to do more. That is the type of football player we want and that is the type character we want. Chance is used to winning and he has football character."
He is also surprisingly athletic for a man of his size and build. The play below illustrates his ability to pull across the formation and deliver a textbook block to spring Chris Johnson for a big gain, against a pretty good defense no less. Not only this, but Warmack shows restraint in holding his block too long, which would have gotten him flagged in a hurry.
Warmack was not without fault his rookie season either. The 10th overall selection struggled often in pass protection, lacking the proper leverage and footwork to anchor effectively. In the play below, Warmack gets worked over by Robert Quinn of the St. Louis Rams, getting pushed back into the QB and breaking up any potential play. While there are other factors involved in the breakdown of this play, Warmack fails to uphold his end of the bargain, so to speak. To be fair, plenty of guards and tackles had this problem with Robert Quinn last season.
Warmack needs to polish up his pass protection for 2014 and beyond, no question. With that improved, he will be closer to the player the Titans expect him to be, anchoring the right side of the line, and helping to ignite a resurgent running game under new offensive line coach Bob Bostad.
I think a pro-bowl level year is not out of the question for Chance Warmack at this point, but he is closer to the norm than the exceptional as it stands. The Titans obviously hope for the former, in that Warmack takes the next step in his growth as an NFL Guard, and can bring this Titans offensive line back to dominance.