When looking at the 2016 Tennessee Titans offensive line, the guard positions seem to have the only spot that appears to be open for competition as the left guard position should see several players battling for that spot when training camp begins later this month.
Four of the five starters seem set exiting mini-camp, and while there was a clear cut leader for the left guard job, it seemed far from decided. Of course there will be other players who will look to challenge those presumptive starters, but entering camp there is somewhat of a question as to who will start between left tackle Taylor Lewan and center Ben Jones.
Here are our predictions on how the guard positions will work out.
STARTER LEFT GUARD- Quinton Spain: An undrafted rookie in 2015, Spain filled in adequately after becoming the starter late last season. He held that spot throughout the spring and would be working with the first team if camp opened today. He went undrafted because of an injury that kept him out of spring work last season, but prior to his injury, Spain held a fourth to fifth round draft grade, so his play was not necessarily a huge surprise.
He is a thick, (6'4" 330) powerful player with good hands and feet and he has shown a nasty streak as a run blocker, but still needs refinement in the passing game. Still he holds the spot and baring someone stepping up in camp, Spain should hold the fort and enter the season as the starter.
STARTER RIGHT GUARD- Chance Warmack: All but a lock to retain his starting spot, Warmack is entering the final season of his rookie contract as the Titans refused to exercise his fifth year option. Warmack knows that he must perform at a higher level this season if he is to get a new, big money free-agent deal next season.
Not all of Warmack's struggles are his fault however, as he has been a stalwart in the starting lineup while the center and right tackle spots on either side of him have been revolving doors who have played poorly at times and thus damaging the entire offensive line, including Warmack.
Having the durable Jones on one side should help Warmack, and at least from a talent standpoint , Jack Conklin should help him at right tackle as well.
BACKUP- Sebastian Tretola: The rookie is a bulldozer as a run blocker but needs work as a pass protector. Still he seems a lock to make the roster ad back up both sides..
QUESTION MARK- Jeremiah Poutasi: Poutasi is a player who can play both guard and tackle and while he struggled at tackle last season, he seems to be better suited for the guard position because of his struggles moving in space. He seems like he should be a solid selection to make the roster, but he could also find himself on the outside come final cuts.
Andy Gallik is another who enters camp with a question mark concerning his status with the team. He is a center by trade, but with Jones and Brian Schwenke likely in front of him at that position, Gallik must show that he can play guard as well to have a chance at the roster, or beat Schwenke outright for a spot. He spent some time at guard in mini-camp but will be in a battle with the others at this position to remain.
WILDCARD- Josue Matias: Matias spent time at both tackle and guard in mini-camp and could become a player who finds himself a roster spot because of his ability to play multiple positions.
Like tackle, this is a position that will bare watching when camp begins, and there will be some tough decisions to be made to fill the eight to nine spots that are there for offensive linemen.