How Chance Warmack Can Become Chris Johnson's Best Friend

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2013

Chance Warmack could give the Titans an elite rushing attack once again.
Chance Warmack could give the Titans an elite rushing attack once again.Butch Dill/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans and running back Chris Johnson have a serious problem—one that could be solved in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft by Alabama offensive lineman Chance Warmack. 

The Titans are coming off a miserable 2012 campaign that ended in a 6-10 record. More troubling was the fact the team could not run the ball at all, despite having a once-elite running back in CJ2k. According to ProfootballFocus, the Titans ranked near the bottom of the barrel in terms of rushing the football in 2012. 

Tennessee holds the No. 10 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. Interior linemen are typically not taken that high in the first round—look no further than David DeCastro's fall last year before being scooped up by the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 24 overall. 

Warmack is a whole different story, and given the Titans' needs, he could very well be the pick at No. 10. 

Let's break down why Warmack could turn Chris Johnson's career around in a hurry and make the Titans competitive again at the same time. 


The Situation in Tennessee 

At this point things are not looking good for the Titans in the trenches on the offensive side of the football, especially on the interior of the line. 

Leroy Harris was the starter at right guard a year ago before tearing his ACL eight games into the season. According to the  Nashville Tennessean, the Titans are entertaining the idea of bringing him back on a one-year deal. The problem is, Harris was horrendous before his injury, coming in as the No. 62 overall guard on a list that ranked 81 at the position (ProFootballFocus). 

Left guard was a little better for the Titans, with veteran Steve Hutchinson starting 12 games before he too succumbed to a knee injury and landed on injured reserve. Hutchinson is going on 36 years old and could be cut by the Titans because the team will pay him around $5 million in 2013 (Nashville Tennessean).

All of this culminates in the fact the Titans will be forced to do reconstructive surgery of their own along the interior of the offensive line this offseason. Free agency is an option, but the likelihood of finding two quality starters for a decent price is slim. 

According to the Tennessean, the Titans only have around $19 million in free cap space with many holes to fill on the roster, so finding a cheap, long-term solution on the interior makes sense. 

That's where Chance Warmack comes into play. 


Chance Warmack Draft Profile 

School Alabama
Height 6'3"
Weight 320 pounds

Chance Warmack is a rare prospect without many flaws. Over the course of his career at Alabama, he made 39 starts at left guard and is considered one of, if not the, best interior linemen prospects to enter the league in recent years.

Warmack may be a tad on the short side for his position, but that is the only negative you will find in his game. He excels in pass protection because he is faster than his weight would allow you to believe. However, run-blocking is where he shines, as he uses his brute strength to drive tackles and ends off the ball with ease. 

Interior linemen do not usually go high in the first round, but Warmack will change that. The experts are swooning over Wamrack's abilities, and the Titans' front office should be as well. 

According to NFL Network's Mike Mayock, Warmack is the best prospect available in the draft this year (The Rich Eisen Podcast). NFL Network's Bucky Brooks concurs (, as does former NFL Executive Gil Brandt via Twitter. Todd McShay has called Warmack "without question the best offensive linemen at any position in this year's class," (ESPN).

The list goes on, but it is easy to see Warmack is a highly coveted prospect who has a long NFL career in front of him, and for good reason—his body of work speaks for itself. 


How Warmack Can Help Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson got off to a slow start in 2012 but salvaged his season as it went along, no thanks to his offensive line. 

Johnson ended up slashing his way to 1,243 yards and six touchdowns, giving him a 4.5 yards-per-carry average. This may not sound like a horrible stat line, but we are talking about the man who notched over 2,000 yards on a 5.6 yards-per-carry average in 2009. Johnson is slated to cost the Titans $12 million in 2013 (Spotrac), so a 1,200-yard output is not going to cut it. 

According to ProFootballFocus, left guard was one of the worst positions to run behind in 2012 as Johnson only recorded 265 yards behind the revolving door.

Conversely, left tackle Michael Roos was outstanding paving the way for Johnson, so adding an elite prospect like Warmack next to him could give the Titans an unstoppable ground game to the left side. Most NFL teams rush to the right side of the line; this was also the case for the Titans, who turned out impressive results. 

Plugging in Warmack on the left side will give the Titans a balanced rushing attack that can pave lanes for Johnson to explode through. It will provide consistency in the long term, as Warmack is as pro-ready as they come. 

Most importantly, drafting Warmack in the first round will allow the Titans to get the most out of Johnson while potentially turning him into a 2,000-yard back once more. 


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