Before the 2013 season the future looked bright for the Tennessee Titans offensive line. Both Mike Munchak and Bruce Matthews were committed to teaching up the young, talented interior of Andy Levitre, Brian Schwenke and Chance Warmack. Those three looked like the long-term answers at their positions for at least the next four years.
Fast forward a year and Andy Levitre looks very overpaid, Chance Warmack struggled in pass protection, and Brian Schwenke battled injuries and only started nine games. Also, with David Stewart likely gone and Michael Roos only getting older the offensive line may need more upgrades than anyone imagined last year. The biggest question mark to me, is will Brians Schwenke be a starter in 2014.
The case for Brian Schwenke
New offensive line coach Bob Bostad has not committed to a zone (which would favor Schwenke) or a power run game and has said that he has to see what the line does well before he makes that call. When directly asked about the interior line he said:
"I really like some of the inside guys and what they’ve done and shown they can do in a short amount of time of evaluation. I think you can start out that way and build it from there and I think that’s a good way to do it."
Which is another good sign for Schwenke. He also went on to praise the group further, but he referred to them as the "interior line" and did not point out individuals.
The case for someone else, particularly Travis Swanson from Arkansas
While I personally think that Schwenke should start in 2014, I could see the Titans look at a center in the draft like Travis Swanson or Brian Stork. Swanson especially looks like a possible decision and here is why.
1. Swanson has received glowing praise from the media and many have called him the best center in the draft.
2. With center being such a low value position, the Titans may be able to snag him in round two.
3. If the Titans are active in free agency and land a player like Mack or Barr at #11 in the draft, they shouldn't have many positions to fill and can focus on taking BPA.
4. Arkansas HC Bret Bielma is one of Swanson's biggest proponents and Bielma and Bostad worked together for many years in Wisconsin so that praise may go farther than most expect.
5. He has that "chippy" "dirty" reputation that has eluded the Titans interior since Kevin Mawae left. With Stewart gone, the offensive line could use a proven leader that has that chip on his shoulder.
Also, some have said that his size (6'5" 318) is ideal for any interior spot and his agility could end up making him a right tackle in the NFL if a team has their interior set. This means that if the Titans bring in Gabe Carimi, Swanson, and have Schwenke they could find the best combination and the other player could just be a swing-player/backup.