Tennessee Titans Offensive Line Will Improve Dramatically This Season

Jason HallAnalyst ISeptember 4, 2013

Aug 8, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Shonn Greene (23) follows a block by guard Chance Warmack (70) against the Washington Redskins during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Titans fielded one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last season. They ranked 31st in the league in both total sacks allowed and adjusted sack rate.

With Jake Locker facing a make-or-break season, the franchise made the offensive line a top priority this offseason, drafting Alabama guard Chance Warmack in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft and signing former Bills guard Andy Levitre.

The team also picked up former St. Louis Ram Rob Turner and UCLA's Brian Schwenke, both of whom will compete for the starting center position.

The Titans could be one of the most talented offensive lines in the NFL this season. While center may be somewhat of a concern, Turner provides veteran experience while Schwenke, the reigning All-Pac-12 center, has the potential to develop into a special player.

During his four seasons at Cal, Schwenke played in 48 of 50 games, while starting in 36 since his sophomore season. He also showed versatility playing three different positions, which included 16 starts at left guard, 12 at center and eight at right guard.

Warmack was the first player selected among one of the all-time great offensive lines in college football history. The 6'2", 317-pound Warmack was regarded by ESPN's Todd McShay as "the best player in the entire [2013] draft."

Warmack started the final 40 games of his college career at left guard, playing in each of the Tide’s 14 games during his senior season. He also blocked for three future NFL running backs, including 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Ingram.

With the signing of Andy Levitre, Tennessee gets a proven veteran entering the prime of his career. The 29-year-old has started in all 64 regular season games since beginning his career in 2009.

Last season, Levitre was part of a Buffalo offense that allowed just 30 sacks (fifth fewest in the AFC) and blocked for a rushing attack that averaged 138.6 yards per game, second amongst AFC teams.

The new acquisitions join three-time Pro Bowler Michael Roos and veteran David Stewart, who returns to the starting lineup after facing a season-ending leg fracture in December 2012.

During his eight-year career in Tennessee, Roos has started in all but one game. Over the span of his career, the Titans have allowed the fourth-fewest sacks in the NFL (207) trailing only the Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints and New York Giants.

Since becoming a full-time starter seven years ago, David Stewart has blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher each season. He and Roos both served as key contributors to Chris Johnson’s 2000-yard season in 2009.

The Titans' nucleus of proven veterans and young, potentially great prospects on their revamped line could prove to be the right mix to jump-start their offense.

This line should provide Jake Locker the protection necessary to have a breakout season.

Chris Johnson will run behind one of the most talented groups he's played with during his six-year career. This could propel his production back to that of the NFL elite rushers, allowing him to find holes for the home run plays fans used to be accustomed to early in his career.

The offensive line rarely gets any glory during highlights, but is just as important to the team's success as any other position. Tennessee has done a great job this offseason improving one of the poorest offensive units in the league and transforming them into a potential force.