Brian Schwenke to Titans: How Does Center Fit with Tennessee?
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport
The two key players on offense for the Titans, Jake Locker and Chris Johnson, took too much punishment in 2012.
Locker in particular missed five games because of a shoulder injury. Depth on the offensive line was not as the level of quality needed to survive the onslaught of injuries.
Andy Levitre solidified the left guard position that, in 2012, was a sieve because the team thought that Steve Hutchinson had enough veteran savvy to overcome his diminished physical skills. Right guard was a mess all year and that was cleared up by the Chance Warmack selection.
Free-agent acquisitions Chris Spencer and Rob Turner have starting experience and can play multiple positions. Fernando Velasco signed his tender and will be the team's starting center. According to the Titans' front office, that wasn't enough.
Here's a nugget from Ryan McCrystal's scouting report on Brian Schwenke:
Schwenke's best asset is his athleticism, which may be more valuable to NFL teams now than ever. More teams are running a zone-blocking scheme and some form of the read-option, both of which fit Schwenke's skill set perfectly.
The words "read option" are music to Titans' fans ears.
The 49ers and Seahawks used the read-option to create defensive nightmares and get their mobile quarterbacks to challenge teams on the edge. The Titans only need a few plays a game to use all of Jake Locker's skills and keep defensive coordinators up at night.
Most prospects taken to date have a lot of comments to the tune of "he's good at A, but needs work at B." Schwenke can run block, can pass block, and is athletic enough to play a zone or man-blocking scheme.
If the Titans are looking for more athletic, versatile players to fill out the roster, Schwenke is a great example.
A relative weakness to Schwenke's game is a lack of functional strength. He has pretty good weight-room strength, as he lifted 225 pounds 31 times at the combine. It's rare for interior offensive linemen to get one-on-one matchups in the passing game so he should be fine.
How does he fit with the Titans in 2013 and beyond?
Schwenke could be a starter this season. He's that good. Before his senior season, he was exclusively a guard, so he can be a backup at multiple positions which is needed for non-starters in the NFL.
Apologies to Velasco, who has made an incredible journey from undrafted free agent to starter in four NFL seasons, but Schwenke is a great center's name. When it comes to center, scouts are looking for at least a three-to-one consonant-to-vowel ratio.
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