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Titans Sign Michael Oher: Grading the Move and What It Means for Tennessee

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Titans Sign Michael Oher: Grading the Move and What It Means for Tennessee
Gregory Bull/Associated Press

Most offensive linemen in the NFL toil in relative obscurity, but thanks to Hollywood's portrayal of his life story in the Academy Award-winning film The Blind Side, offensive tackle Michael Oher became a star off the gridiron.

However, the former first-round pick has yet to develop into a star on the field, and now the 27-year-old is moving on from the Baltimore Ravens.

As Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reported, Oher has signed a four-year, $20 million contract to join the Tennessee Titans:

Oher started all 80 games he played in Baltimore, splitting time almost equally between the right tackle (43 starts) and left tackle (37 starts) spots.

It's that versatility general manager Ruston Webster lauded while speaking with Wyatt:

Michael is a big, strong, durable player. Like we have said with a number of players we added this week, he has versatility with experience playing both left and right tackle during his NFL career. We are excited to have Michael as part of the Titans family.

The problem is, while Oher has indeed been durable and versatile, he also hasn't been, what's the word I'm looking for?

Oh yeah. Good.

Michael Oher PFF Grades and Advanced Stats
Year OVR vs. Pass vs. Run Sacks Hits Hurries
2009 20.4 (15) 8.4 (24) 12.1 (9) 5 6 20
2010 -0.9 (40) -0.6 (40) 4.1 (23) 5 10 24
2011 2.2 (48) 6.2 (29) -2.1 (47) 7 6 33
2012 -5.9 (57) -0.8 (52) -6.0 (70) 10 9 26
2013 -12.6 (68) -0.2 (48) -17.0 (76) 8 7 42

Per Pro Football Focus

Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Oher was the fifth-worst right tackle in the NFL in 2013, allowing eight sacks and a staggering 42 hurries. The year before, as a 14-game starter at left tackle, it was 10 sacks, nine hits, 26 hurries and a grade as the NFL's seventh-worst player at his position.

In fact, Oher has never allowed fewer than five sacks in a season and hasn't ranked inside the top 30 among NFL offensive tackles at PFF since his rookie year.

In short, there's a reason why Omar Kelly of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel was a bit taken aback by the robust amount of guaranteed money in Oher's deal:

Simply put, whereas young players are expected to get better over time, as Gordon McGuinness of PFF pointed out, Oher has gotten progressively worse:

Still, after releasing veteran David Stewart earlier in the week, the Titans had to do something at right tackle, where Oher will all but certainly start in 2014. The market at that position in free agency is both spendy and picked-over.

If Oher can come anywhere close to recapturing his rookie form and become even an above-average tackle, then $5 million a season would be something of a steal.

However, Oher has given absolutely no indication over the past four seasons that his play is going to suddenly get better, and it's hard to view this signing as any sort of real improvement for a Tennessee offensive line that Football Outsiders ranked 12th in the league in 2013.

 

Grade: C-

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