Titans may look to draft for 'younger' offensive line

Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 11:35pm
0109 Titans Roos Main.jpg
Michael Roos

One of the long-standing tenets of the Titans in recent years was that there was no need to select offensive linemen high in the draft because Mike Munchak, the offensive line coach from 1997 through 2010, could develop almost anyone into a productive professional.

It was meant as a compliment to Munchak, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman in his own right.

Now that he is the head coach, he seems less interested in having complementary pieces to compose that unit charged with protecting the quarterback and opening holes for the running backs.

“We haven’t drafted in quite some time there, so I’m sure that’s something that we will take a look at — getting younger there,” Munchak said.

The Titans have drafted just three offensive linemen in the past four years, and three times in the past six years (2006, 2008, 2010) they went through the entire draft without any additions up front.

The last time they took a blocker in the first three rounds was in 2005, when they selected left tackle Michael Roos in the second round (41st overall). Before that you have to go back to 1999, when Zach Piller was picked in the third round.

Interestingly, though, they have filled virtually all of their offensive line needs through the draft. Six of the nine on the active roster this season (plus two members of the practice squad) were Titans draft picks, and two others were signed as undrafted free agents.

Franchise history shows, though, that even Munchak could not make elite players out of average prospects.

The only offensive linemen who made the Pro Bowl under him were Roos, Bruce Matthews and Brad Hopkins, both first-round picks, and free agent center Kevin Mawae, who was an established Pro Bowler (he had made six appearances) when he came to Tennessee.