TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt breaks down the offensive line position for the Titans entering the team’s 2017 training camp.
TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: OFFENSIVE LINE
In camp: LT Taylor Lewan, RT Jack Conklin, LG Quinton Spain, RG Josh Kline, C Ben Jones, C/G Tim Lelito, G Sebastian Tretola, C/G Corey Levin, C Mark Spelman, T Dennis Kelly, T Brad Seaton, T Tyler Marz, G/T Josue Matias, T Steven Moore, T Jonah Pirsig.Offseason developments: The linemen raked in the awards following last season – Lewan played in the Pro Bowl, and Conklin was named an All-Pro. And as a group, they had some big times chugging beers and lifting fish at Preds games. But it’s all business now as they prepare to open holes for the running backs while protecting quarterback Marcus Mariota. Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie said it was clear the first time the starting five broke the huddle this offseason the players were on the same page. The Titans made some additions here, from the veteran Lelito (formerly of the Saints) to draft picks Levin (sixth round, Chattanooga) to Seaton (seventh round, Villanova). Former Titans lineman Brian Schwenke joined the Colts this offseason.
In the spotlight: Lewan and Conklin. Together, they make up one of the best tackle combinations in the NFL. Lewan settled down in his third NFL season and became a top-notch performer on the left side, while Conklin showed incredible poise and solid technique during his rookie season. With experience, they have a chance to be even better in 2017. Lewan plays with an edge that’s contagious, and he’s done a better job of controlling his emotions. Conklin should improve with the knowledge he gained as a rookie, and he’s stronger heading into his second season. Can the duo be even better in 2017?
Battle to watch: Tretola vs. Levin. The Titans drafted Tretola a year ago out of Arkansas, and he used the year to improve his technique and learned from the veterans. Levin was drafted in the same round this year, and he’ll compete for a backup spot in the middle. The Titans like Levin’s versatility – he can play center and guard – while Tretola has made a name for himself for his brute strength. The expectation is Lelito will be the top swing guy in the interior line, but Tretola and Levin will be battling for spots on the depth chart as well.
Keep an eye on: Spain. He got plenty of attention for taking his shirt off at hockey games, but on the field Spain has quietly gone about his business and developed into a really good left guard. Spain is arguably the most underrated player on the team’s offense. The undrafted free agent out of West Virginia is physical in the trenches. When his shirt is on, he’ll have the No.67 on his chest and back.
Next up: Defensive line.