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Versatility could allow Titans to keep fewer offensive lineman

Could the Titans go uber-light with eight offensive lineman? Our @JustinM_NFL explores the possibility

NFL: NOV 28 Titans at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Most NFL offenses keep somewhere between eight-to-10 offensive lineman on their active roster. The average median would trend towards nine, and 10 would represent a more likely figure than eight, which is considered slightly light. The Tennessee Titans currently have seven sure-fire NFL-caliber offensive lineman. They are Taylor Lewan, Jamarco Jones, Ben Jones, Nate Davis, Dillon Radunz, Aaron Brewer and Nicholas Petit-Frere.

The Titans can’t possibly keep seven offensive lineman, but the overall construction of these seven players means Titans General Manager Jon Robinson may be able to scrape by with keeping just eight offensive lineman. This would allow the Titans to potentially keep an extra quarterback (Logan Woodside), running back (Dontrell Hilliard or Trenton Cannon), wide receiver (Dez Fitzpatrick or Josh Malone) or tight end (Tommy Hudson or Briley Moore) on the 53-man roster. Allow us to explain.

Tennessee’s top seven offensive lineman are particularly versatile. Brewer can play all three interior positions (left guard, center and right guard). Ja. Jones has spent the previous four seasons playing both guard and tackle positions as a swing lineman for the Seattle Seahawks. Petit-Frere is a rookie, but played both left and right tackle at Ohio State.

If the Titans keep eight offensive lineman, the eighth could realistically be a tackle or interior player, and that decision may curiously depend on who wins the position battle at left guard. If Ja. Jones is the starting left guard, the eighth offensive lineman would almost certainly have to be a player capable of playing tackle (Christian DiLauro, Carson Green, Andrew Rupcich and Jalen McKenzie are contenders). If Brewer starts at left guard, the Titans would have two capable tackles as backups (Petit-Frere and Ja. Jones), meaning the final offensive lineman would be an interior player (Xavier Newman-Johnson, Hayden Howerton, Corey Levin, Jordan Roos and Daniel Munyer are in the mix).

It’s also possible the Titans may want to keep nine or more offensive lineman, and that decision could ultimately be decided by how these back-end roster players perform throughout training camp and the preseason. Levin is a capable veteran who’s enjoyed previous stints with the Titans (as has Munyer). Newman-Johnson and Howerton are intriguing undrafted free agents that can play all three interior positions. McKenzie and Rupcich are fascinating tackle prospects. The coaching staff is comfortable with DiLauro. Undrafted free agents have routinely proved their worth to the Titans in recent seasons, and it’s possible that our initial belief of the Titans rostering seven sure-fire NFL players can creep up towards eight or nine once training camp reports begin to emerge in late July and August.

We’ll be following along with terrific intrigue. The offensive line is one position group that’s currently extremely difficult to predict, especially once you start approaching the back-end contenders. Stay tuned to MCM.