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Draft Notebook: Fourth-Round Pick Often Chooses Titans in Video Game

Posted Apr 27, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Brian Schwenke frequently chooses the Tennessee Titans as his team in the Madden NFL video game, but Saturday the Titans did the selecting and picked the center out of California.

Schwenke will go from the virtual world of blocking for Chris Johnson to actually having the opportunity to block for the running back and snap the ball to QB Jake Locker.  

The Titans selected center Brian Schwenke out of California in the fourth round. Click here for a slideshow of Schwenke's career.

“He is a great talent,” Schwenke said of Johnson. “When I play Madden, I like to use the Titans because he is such a good running back. It is going to be exciting. Honestly, I couldn’t be more excited to be in Tennessee.”

The Titans selected Schwenke in the fourth round with the 107th overall pick to begin Saturday’s third and final day of the 2013 NFL Draft. The choice, combined with the drafting of Chance Warmack with the 10th overall pick Thursday, marked the first time since 2005 that Tennessee has selected two offensive linemen in the first four rounds of a draft (starting tackles Michael Roos in the second round and David Stewart in the fourth).

Just like with Warmack’s selection, Titans coaches and the player said they couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

“If it was me picking a team I could go to, I would have picked Tennessee,” Schwenke said. “It was my absolute favorite place to see. The coaches, everything, the environment was fantastic. We were all rooting for Tennessee to pick me.”

Schwenke started 36 of 48 games at Cal (20 at left guard, four at right guard and 12 at center). An injury to another player prompted his move to the middle, and as Titans scout Marv Sunderland put it, “the kid took off and played this year.”

Sunderland said he saw a tough, “old-school” approach that was balanced by Schwenke’s strength and ability to make the calls at the line of scrimmage.

Titans coach Mike Munchak said he and offensive line coach Bruce Matthews, who are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as offensive linemen, said Schwenke was their top-rated center because of how he fits what the Titans want to do. Munchak said it was a pleasant surprise to see that Schwenke was still available.

“We were really surprised he was there. I’m excited he was, the way it ended up happening,” Munchak said. “I’ve been here a lot of years with offensive linemen. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to draft them, but it just didn’t fall right. The guys where we thought, ‘We should take a lineman here, we’ll get the lineman in the third round.’ All of a sudden the lineman would be gone and it would be a run on different positions.

“I think this year things are falling into place for that position and you can’t turn up guys like Brian Schwenke that can come in and play for 10 years,” Munchak said. “Those guys are hard to find, and this is the opportunity to take advantage of that. Like we said, he can play guard and he can play center. Like we talked about with Chance Warmack, he’s a guy that moves the pile.”

Schwenke is part of an overhaul of the interior of the offensive line that includes the drafting of Warmack and the signing of projected starter at left guard Andy Levitre and veterans Chris Spencer, Rob Turner and Kasey Studdard as free agents.

The Titans are pleased to add so much depth to a position group that used six different starting lineups last season.

Matthews said production will determine the starting lineup. He said Schwenke made a great impression on him at the Senior Bowl and continued to do so in drills at the NFL Combine and when breaking down plays in meetings.

“Really it started for me at the Senior Bowl because that is pretty much the official kick off of the scouting as far as I’m concerned,” Matthews said. “You actually lay eyes on these guys. You might try to look at some tape on them but you can’t remember it. But you go to the Senior Bowl and those guys make an impression and obviously Brian Schwenke with the California locks (long hair) out the back of his helmet. He’s a very stoutly built guy.”

Schwenke, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.99 seconds to clock the fastest time for a center at the NFL Combine, said he most enjoyed the football analysis sessions with Munchak and Matthews.

“I think that is one of the biggest reasons why I enjoyed my visit so much,” Schwenke said. “I have never been able to sit down with a head coach of a football team (who can talk) about offensive line technique the way Coach Munchak did. I loved that and I think it is necessary for a team to have a really strong offensive line. Obviously, I’m a little biased being an offensive lineman, but it is great and it is wonderful and I’m very excited.”

The Titans were pleased to draft LSU defensive end Lavar Edwards in the fifth round because they think he flew under the radar of some teams. Click here for a slideshow of Edwards.

DEFENSE DOMINATES DAY 3: The Titans used their remaining picks of the draft on defensive players, adding LSU defensive end Lavar Edwards in the fifth round with the 142nd overall pick (the same spot where they found Karl Klug in 2011), cornerback Khalid Wooten out of Nevada in the sixth round with the 202nd pick and safety Daimion Stafford out of Nebraska in the seventh round with the 248th pick.  

It was the first time since 1997 (when the team drafted from Houston prior to relocating as the Tennessee Oilers) that the franchise has chosen defensive players with each of its final three picks of a draft.

TITANS ‘BENEFIT’ FROM LSU’s DEPTH: Scout Jon Salge said he thinks the Titans were able to land Edwards in the fifth round because he was behind Barkevious Mingo (selected sixth overall by Cleveland) and Sam Montgomery (selected 94th in the third round by Houston) on LSU’s depth chart and rotation. Tennessee, however, liked what it saw when Edwards played.

“He’s got a combination of strength and athletic ability. We can do a variety of things with him. When you looked at him at LSU, you may have seen some of the numbers were a little bit down. In my opinion, I thought we kind of benefited from having Barkevious Mingo over there and then Sam Montgomery. “We were able to benefit because these guys are ‘the guy’,” Salge continued. “They are going out there and getting all the production. They are going high in the draft. Well this is the third guy so it’s almost like, you would assume because the numbers don’t compare to those guys, we got a lesser player. That’s absolutely false. We got a guy here that if he were playing for another team, maybe with a little less talent at defensive end, this guy would play a lot more. His numbers would be up. This guy would have gone much higher in this draft. We are absolutely thrilled to get a guy with this kind of skill set where we got him.”

Salge said Edwards’ combination of 35½-inch arms and 6-foot-4, 277-pound frame is “kind of a dream” from a scout’s standpoint.  

WOOTEN MAXIMIZES VISIT: Wooten made one official visit during the pre-draft interview process and is quite glad the Titans extended one of their 30 allotted invitations to him.

“The coaching staff was good,” Wooten said. “I spoke to the head coach and the position coaches. They all seemed to like me. I tend to gravitate toward them and we had a good time. I wanted them to see that I am a big corner. I can run with it. I am versatile. I can punt return, kick return. Put me in at a nickel and corner at the same time. I can do it all.”

At 5-11 and 210 pounds, Wooten and third-round pick Blidi Wreh-Wilson (6-1, 195) are adding size to a cornerback position group that includes Jason McCourty (6-0, 188), Alterraun Verner (5-10, 187), Coty Sensabaugh (5-11, 189) and Tommie Campbell (6-3, 205).

The Titans may be interested in having corners be more physical with receivers at the line of scrimmage this year and think Wooten and Wreh-Wilson will have the opportunity to show they can facilitate that.

STAFFORD COMPARED TO POLLARD: The Titans wanted to increase their physicality at strong safety and think they’ve done so this offseason by drafting Stafford Saturday and signing veteran free agent Bernard Pollard.

Titans general manager Ruston Webster said Stafford is a “physical, down-hill safety” like Pollard, adding that Stafford’s “calling card is going to be his physical nature and how he hits.”

Stafford’s status as a hard hitter was boosted by a video on an internet site, but he said he also puts pride in the ability to defend the passing game.

“Actually, I am a pretty good all-around player,” Stafford said. “I do bring wood, and that’s probably one of the best things I like to do is punish somebody with the ball.”

He said he’s been watching Pollard for “quite some time” and looks forward to meeting and learning from him.

“I am going to try and get under his wing and see if he can show me the ropes about the next level and go from there,” Stafford said.

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