INDIANAPOLIS — Titans coach Mike Munchak and general manager Ruston Webster plan to make the most of the minutes.
Munchak and Webster held media sessions Thursday in Lucas Oil Stadium to discuss their plans for evaluating more than 300 prospects who have been invited to participate in the NFL Combine. The annual event allows athletes to showcase their attributes on the field through a series of drills and off it in interviews. Teams are allowed to interview up to 60 players for about 15 minutes.
This is the third combine for Munchak as head coach and second for Webster as GM. Both said previous experience will be helpful in maximizing their time this weekend to make important decisions during next month’s free agency and April’s draft, in which the Titans will select 10th overall in nine weeks.
“Once this thing gets going in the next couple of days, there’s a lot of places you can be,” Munchak said. “There’s certain things I want to find out about different positions. I’ve got a greater feel for the offensive side of the ball, especially offensive linemen, but there were types of questions I learned that I wished I asked other years I was here.
“You’re here for a week. You only get so much information out of this thing, you realize that, and a lot of it is talking to other coaches,” Munchak continued. “For me, as a head coach, it’s talking to head coaches about OTAs or different things they did during the season. It’s a great resource for a lot of that. Some of the other teams have similar problems or questions, so it’s a chance to get a little camaraderie with head coaches or other coaches in general.”
Webster said a considerable amount of information gathering has already occurred, so the combine offers an opportunity to concentrate on players and know “what’s important to sift through and what’s important to your team.”
Webster said his eyes will focus on something specific during the workouts and his ears will do the same during the interviews.
“For me, it’s certain traits in a guy, like if somebody’s immature,” Webster said. “Most players, when they come into the league, (a big part of it) is their ability to handle the time on their hands and the money they have. So, maturity, I think is a big part of (evaluating) guys.”
Munchak and Webster maintained that they are still highly interested in boosting Tennessee’s offensive line, particularly the interior offensive line.
“We need some help inside,” Munchak said. “We’re going to take a good look in free agency, which we will here in the next month and the draft. It’s a huge year for offensive linemen. I always think it’s a good year for offensive linemen. I think there’s more name guys that people know from top to bottom.”
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said this week that Alabama guard Chance Warmack or North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper could be good choices for the Titans at the 10th spot.
Munchak and Webster said both of those players are highly skilled and they expect several teams to take a look at each.
Generally, tackles have been selected with higher picks than guards, but Webster and Munchak said there are no positional restrictions on how the Titans will use the pick.
“It needs to be a player that you see coming into your team and making a difference, upgrading you, and possibly being an outstanding player at the position,” Webster said. “I’ve never been one to say you don’t take a guard in the first round, or whatever. Some people say don’t take a receiver in the first round. I’ve never looked at it that way. If there’s somebody there that’s a special player, then we’ll take a look at him.”
Munchak, a Hall of Fame guard, was drafted by the franchise as the Houston Oilers with the eighth overall pick in 1982. Much of Tennessee’s offensive line when he was a position coach was built by developing players who were taken in later rounds. The exceptions to that have been tackles
“You can develop a lot of offensive linemen from the fifth, sixth and seven rounds, so you have to do your homework there,” Munchak said. “There’s a lot of good ways to build your roster. You don’t only have to do first and second round picks at that position to get it done, but sometimes it’s a good idea to have that type of guy. You want some guys you can draft and say, ‘He’s going to be our guard or our center for the next 10 years to come.’ I think that’s what you look at in a draft like this. All the options are on the table, as far as how we’re going to fix on the inside.”