NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans have continued the reconstruction of their offensive line by selecting Alabama guard Chance Warmack with the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft.
Warmack, who is 6-foot-2 and 317 pounds, played on three national championship teams at Alabama and started on the 2011 and 2012 title-winning squads. He was a unanimous first-team All-America selection last season and graded at 90 percent or better in eight games.
The move already has the approval of Johnson, who has struggled to find running room since rushing for 2,006 yards in 2009. As soon as the pick was announced, Johnson tweeted “THANK GOD” in all capital letters.
Tennessee had already boosted its offensive line by signing free-agent guard Andy Levitre from the Buffalo Bills with a six-year, $46.8 million contract. The Titans also signed Chris Spencer of Chicago and Rob Turner of St. Louis to add some veteran depth to the line.
The Titans are hoping that improving the interior portion of their offensive line can create more running room for Chris Johnson and provide more protection for quarterback Jake Locker. Johnson gained 1,247 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry last season, but he was held below 60 yards in eight of the Titans’ 16 games.
The Titans have a history of success in using first-round picks on guards.
Going back to the Titans’ previous history as the Houston Oilers, this franchise had used a first-round selection on a guard twice since 1971. The Oilers took Mike Munchak out of Penn State with the eighth overall pick in 1982 and used the ninth overall selection on Southern California’s Bruce Matthews in 1983.
Munchak and Matthews both ended up in the Hall of Fame and now will get a chance to coach Warmack. Munchak is the Titans’ head coach, and Matthews is the offensive line coach.
Warmack is the first offensive lineman of any kind that the Titans have selected in the first round since 1993, when they took left tackle Brad Hopkins.