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Can Titans rookie Jaelyn Duncan take advantage of his opportunity?

Tennessee Titans rookie OT Jaelyn Duncan should be a starter moving forward

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Tennessee Titans v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Tennessee Titans rookie offensive tackle Jaelyn Duncan saw extensive action in Sunday’s defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Duncan replaced injured right tackle Chris Hubbard. It has now been confirmed that Hubbard suffered a season-ending elbow injury. Duncan should be a starter moving forward.

Duncan played a total of 25 offensive snaps. The Titans only ran 39 offensive plays. The former Maryland standout played 18 snaps at right tackle, and seven as an in-line tight end prior to Hubbard’s injury. Duncan was credited with participating on 10 legitimate pass-blocking snaps. The No. 188 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft did not allow a single pressure, sack, quarterback hit, or hurry, according to Pro Football Focus. Duncan earned a pass-blocking grade of 79.4.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel admitted that Duncan will receive more practice reps at tackle this week ahead of Sunday’s meeting with the Carolina Panthers. Vrabel also said that veteran offensive tackle Andre Dillard remains in the concussion protocol, and wouldn’t have practiced on Monday. Dillard hasn’t played since suffering a concussion against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 10.

Tennessee’s offensive line was still an issue despite Duncan’s impressive form. Rookie quarterback Will Levis only dropped back on 20 occasions. The Jaguars pressured Levis on 50% of those drop backs.

All early signs indicate that Duncan, not Dillard, will take over for Hubbard at tackle. It would represent a logical decision by Vrabel and offensive line coach Jason Houghtaling. The 3-7 Titans are in evaluation mode. Dillard has struggled mightily as arguably the worst offensive tackle in all of football. Dillard won’t remain with the Titans in 2024. Meanwhile Duncan has a late-season opportunity to prove he’s capable of competing for a starting job next season. It’ll be worth evaluating Duncan’s play down the stretch.

John Ojukwu, Andrew Rupcich, or Lachavious Simmons could be promoted to the 53-man roster from the practice squad sometime this week.