TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: OFFENSIVE LINE
In camp (16): LT Taylor Lewan, RT Jack Conklin, T/G Dennis Kelly, C Ben Jones, G Rodger Saffold, G/T Kevin Pamphile, T Tyler Marz, C/G Corey Levin, G Aaron Stinnie, G Nate Davis, OL David Quessenberry, C Hroniss Grasu, G Jamil Douglas, T Cody Conway, T A.T. Hall, OL Austin Pasztor.
Offseason developments: The Titans signed nine-year veteran Rodger Saffold (Rams) in free agency while re-signing Pamphile to a one-year deal. The Titans also added Grasu, Marcus Mariota’s college teammate at Oregon who played previously with the Bears. The Titans released veteran guard Josh Kline, who ended up signing with the Vikings, and opted not to re-sign Quinton Spain, who joined the Bills. The team picked guard Nate Davis (Charlotte) in the third round of the NFL Draft. Conklin didn’t take part in the team’s OTAs or minicamp as he recovers from last season’s injury. Kelly and Pamphile got a lot of reps in offseason work alongside Saffold and returning starters Taylor Lewan and Ben Jones. Douglas showed his versatility in offseason practices, and Levin, who played well in his opportunities last season, built on his success in offseason work. The team likes the way Stinnie has progressed as well.
In the spotlight: Conklin. The Titans opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on Conklin’s contract, which means he’s headed into the final year of his rookie deal. Conklin was an All-Pro as a rookie, but a torn ACL ended his second NFL season and he struggled to return to form in Year 3. Now, Conklin finds himself working his way back from another knee injury, and it’s opened the door for Kelly, a reliable pro, at right tackle. It remains to be seen if Conklin begins training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. If he’s a go, he’ll be working from the get-go to prove he can return to form and earn his starting spot back in 2019.
Battle to watch: Pamphile vs. Davis. Pamphile stepped in and played well for the Titans at the start of the 2018 season, but an injury ended his season after just three games. One of the reasons the former Buccaneer re-signed in Tennessee was for the chance to compete at right guard this fall. Pamphile practiced well during OTAs as he adjusted to a different technique. Davis, meanwhile, is strong and talented, but is dealing with some technique adjustments as well after playing low in his stance in college. This much is for sure: Davis wasn’t selected to be a back-up. Can the rookie overtake the veteran in training camp practices and preseason games? Will a tackle be bumped inside to compete? The right guard spot is open and one to watch in camp.
Keep an eye on: Kelly. Taylor Lewan is coming off his third straight Pro Bowl season, and is a year removed from being rewarded with a whopping contract. Ben Jones was the team’s best interior lineman last season, and Saffold proved to be a consistent performer in his days with the Rams. While the right guard spot features the battle to watch, Kelly has put himself in a position to claim a starting spot. Kelly is solid and steady, and in the end he could convince coaches he’s the right guy at right tackle.
Next: Tight ends.
TitansOnline.com looks back at offensive tackle Taylor Lewan's Pro Bowl season in 2018. (AP Photos)