Titans use first-round pick on Alabama OG Warmack
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have a strong track record when it comes to drafting offensive guards in the first round.
Alabama’s Chance Warmack wants to make sure he keeps the trend going.
Tennessee continued reconstructing the interior of its offensive line Thursday by selecting Warmack with the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft, the first time the Titans have used a first-round selection on an offensive lineman since taking Illinois’ Brad Hopkins with the 13th overall pick in 1993.
Going back to the Titans’ previous history as the Houston Oilers, the franchise had drafted a guard in the first round twice before since 1971. The Oilers took 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. Now they’ll get to work with Warmack on a daily basis, since Munchak is the Titans’ head coach and Matthews the offensive line coach.
“That’s definitely a motivation, to try to shoot for that,” Warmack said.
Warmack said the presence of Munchak and Matthews on the coaching staff gives him even more incentive because he will get to learn from the two of them every day in practice.
The addition of Warmack represents the latest step in the rebuilding of the Titans’ offensive line, which struggled to open up running room for Chris Johnson and provide protection for quarterback Jake Locker last season.
This move clearly has the support of Johnson, who tweeted “THANK GOD” in all capital letters as soon as the selection was announced.
“I didn’t hear about the tweet, but I’m glad he supports me,” Warmack said. ’I’ll be looking forward to opening up holes for him.”
Tennessee has already signed free-agent guard Andy Levitre from the Buffalo Bills with a six-year, $46.8 million contract. The Titans also added free agents Chris Spencer of Chicago and Rob Turner of St. Louis to add some veteran depth to the line.
Munchak foresees a line that has Levitre lining up at left guard with Warmack at right guard. Munchak likes the physical presence Warmack brings to the line. Although he measured in at 6-foot-2 and 317 pounds at the combine, Warmack said he now weighs 325.
“Even in the NFL, you don’t see the kind of power he has, the way he moves the line of scrimmage,” Munchak said. “To me, he’s the complete package. He loves the game. He has a passion for it. Spending time with Bruce and I, he loved hearing the stories of linemen in the past and talking about the history of the game. For a young man, that’s rare.”
Warmack 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.
He was in the middle of a three-pick run of Alabama players. The New York Jets used the ninth overall pick on Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and the San Diego Chargers selected Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker with the 11th overall selection.
Warmack savored the opportunity to play for Munchak and Matthews. Warmack said the two coaches “put me through the wringer” during a private workout with the Titans. He turned down opportunities to have private workouts with three other teams.
“It’s a dream,” Warmack said. “It hasn’t hit me yet. I’m just so excited. I’m so happy to get started and to learn and develop and be the best guard I can be.”