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Don't put labels on Fernando Velasco

Suggesting a change in position for Velasco doesn't mean that he isn't a quality center. It is time to stop all this arguing and set the record straight.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: I was reluctant to write this story, but it seems like every time anyone suggests moving Velasco to guard (or even trying him at guard in the summer) people think that the commenter is demeaning Velasco's effort at center. While I can't speak for everyone, I know that I have the utmost respect for how well the center play was last year even with teammates dropping like flies around him, and when the season really didn't have any post season aspersions.

Before I truly start this I want to say two things.

1. I have been pulling for Velasco for two years and I am just as happy as anyone to see him succeed at center in the NFL.

2. Just because I suggest that the Titans allow an open competition for both guard spots and the center spot, doesn't negate the quality of Fernando Velasco as a center.

The Titans may have struggled at guard last year, but the center position was surprisingly solid. Offensive line coach Bruce Mathews was finally forced to give long-time back up guard Fernando Velasco a chance when a triceps injury knocked Eugene Amano out for the season. Ever since then the Titans haven't needed to reevaluate the center position, but they did move Velasco to LG when injuries plagued the Titans again. There he continued to prove that he deserved playing time on the interior of the Titans OL. So what does this mean for Velasco's future?

Well first off it darn near guarantees that he will be guaranteed a spot at either a guard spot or as the center. The fine fellows at PFF actually graded Velasco as a better LG (per game) than they did at C, though it wasn't a sizable margin, but that makes me curious if the Titans think that Travis Fredrick (center from Wisconsin) or Jonathan Cooper is their guy what is the problem with trying to figure our what combination works best.

Consider this, three of the five offensive line spots are locked up since the Titans have three Pro Bowl caliber players at LT, RT, and LG. And the only returning starter is a player that has never played a full season at one spot. What is the harm in trying him and the other player to try to figure out what meshes best. Most college guards like Velasco prefer to play where they were drafted and they seem to play better there anyway. If the Titans decide that an open competition over a long summer of mini camps and preseason games might have the slightest chance of being beneficial then why not do it?

Best case scenario, the Titans end up finding out that Velasco is a better guard than center and either Cooper in round one of Travis Fredrick in round two becomes a dominating center. Worst case they still end up better than last year because whoever they put at guard will be an upgrade.

I may be wrong, but what is the issue with just trying it out when it doesn't effect the win-loss numbers?