It's pretty clear that Ruston Webster and company had a clear plan going into the draft. With the selections of Marcus Mariota, Dorial Green-Beckham, Jeremiah Poutasi, Jalston Fowler, David Cobb and Tre Mcbride, the Titans were able to upgrade nearly every aspect of their offense. We've discussed and broken down the two flashy first and second round picks, but what about the big, nasty third round lineman? He has a shot to start from day one too.
Here's my quick take on Poutasi.
He played at left tackle during his time at Utah, but he will be playing at right tackle or possibly guard in the NFL. He has great upper body strength and can really get after defenders when turned loose. He's much better when attacking, rather than sitting back and waiting for defenders to come to him. Playing on the left side didn't suit him at all. He wasn't asked to do a ton in the run game during few games that I was able to study. His responsibilities were basically limited to controlling an edge.
To be blunt, he wasn't very good in pass protection. He has a wide base and average feet. Poutasi struggled to anchor against guys that could go speed to power. This in turn would knock him off balance, allowing his man to sneak by. He struggled to stay engaged even when he was on balance too. However, I think this is due to a simple hand placement issue, which is easily correctable.
Here is an example of the issue with Poutasi's feet. Watch him get stuck here and struggle to reset. He's also late to react with his hands. The pass rusher hits him with a swim move and slips around the outside. This is why kicking him to the inside is for the best. He can handle stronger players with less speed and agility.
For what it's worth, PFF (Pro Football Focus) hated the pick. By no means is PFF the end all opinion, but they do have a proven track record and put in the work. Their numbers on Poutasi were staggeringly bad.
New Titans OT Jeremiah Poutasi had a Pass Blocking Efficiency Rating of 96.8, tied for 46th in this class— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 2, 2015
And it gets worse.
Jeremiah Poutasi is "big" and a "mauler" and he had the 194th best run blocking grade among OTs in the draft class— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) May 2, 2015
I can agree with their assessment of Poutasi's pass protection as I have noted above. However, I think the run blocking grade was greatly hindered by his position. He wasn't asked to pull through a gap and clear the way. He was asked to turn a man outside or block down the line of scrimmage. That isn't his element.
So where does Poutasi fit? I think he will push Andy Levitre for the starting left guard spot. The Poutasi selection probably put Levitre on notice. I fully expect this to turn into a camp battle, with Josue Matias and Quinton Spain also throwing their hats in the ring. Whisenhunt said recently that Poutasi could fit at left guard or right tackle, but I'm betting Byron Bell or Byron Stingily takes that job.
Either way, the Titans certainly got nastier up front. I'm excited to see the youth battle it out in training camp. It was clear that they wanted to put a power run game around Marcus Mariota, attempting to make his NFL transition a little easier. The Titans now have plenty of options and competition along the offensive front. Hopefully, they will hit on a lineup that will offer some consistency -- something that hasn't been here since Chris Johnson was running for 2,000 yards.