The Tennessean had a great article today about Jon Robinson and some questions they had for him. Instead of being some sort of puff piece that some places might have done, you didn't have to look farther than the first question to really get some good information about what Jon Robinson may do with the Tennessee Titans this offseason.
While Jon Robinson has been very transparent and visible since his hiring, this was information that I am not sure I knew until the piece linked above by John Glennon.
When asked how his philosophy on draft strategies he had this to say:
"Yeah, I think both lines, the O-line and the D-line, have to be solid. To me, that’s the foundation. Those guys have to be strong up the middle. Obviously the quarterback is in place, and you’ve got to have that guy. You have to have playmakers offensively, but more specifically, you have to be able to run the football. I think in this league, you’ve got to be committed to the run. You’ve got to have somebody that can run it and guys to block for him so that he can run it."
It jumps out to me that the first thing he did was essentially say that it starts with both lines. Well, Jurrell Casey, DaQuan Jones and Al Woods is a very serviceable 3-4 defensive front, so I don't think he was talking about them. So that leaves the elephant in the room: the offensive line.
I highlighted the part that I thought was most interesting: "Those guys have to be strong up the middle."
That is absolutely true and in all the talk about Laremy Tunsil I think fans are forgetting that the problem last year was largely on the shoulders of the interior offensive line. While they had their share of issues at right tackle, Marcus Mariota is skilled enough at moving in the pocket that if he has a strong G/C/G combination in front of him he can step up and manipulate that rush. However, when there wasn't help there is was an issue.
While I am sure Tunsil stands out to Robinson because he is a great prospect, the guy that I think the Titans will ultimately end up with (especially if they trade down and get an extra 2nd) is Ryan Kelly the center from Alabama. I won't get into too much of a scouting report but Kelly is a plug and play starter at center and he has years of experience leading an offensive line in Alabama that helped paved the way for Derrick Henry during his Heisman campaign.
I think you could (and should) argue that center is the weakest position on the Titans offensive line, and it needs to be addressed this offseason even if Schwenke is back to 100% health. If they don't find someone in free agency Kelly just checks all of the New England Patriots/Jon Robinson boxes:
-Definitely passes the measureable test at 6'5 297 lb.
So while tackle is a higher value position, don't put it past Robinson to take a guy with a late first round grade (who may be BPA) and start the offensive line rebuild from the inside out.