3 prospects Titans may target to bolster offensive line
INDIANAPOLIS — It’s no secret: the Titans are looking to bolster the interior of their offensive line.
Arguably the weakest position group on the roster, a flimsy interior offensive line in 2018 was a big reason Marcus Mariota was sacked a career-high 42 times. General manager Jon Robinson on Wednesday said he had spoken to Quinton Spain’s representatives, which could spell good value if the Titans bring back the former undrafted lineman.
But they’ll need to look to improve more than just bringing back Spain in order to protect Mariota better as he enters the fifth and final season of his rookie contract.
Here are three prospects who the Titans will have their eyes on at this week’s NFL combine ahead of April’s 2019 NFL draft in Nashville:
Connor McGovern, Penn State
Connor McGovern makes a lot of sense for the Titans as early as Round 3. (WalterFootball.com projects McGovern going anywhere from the third round to the fifth round).
The 6-foot-5, 312-pounder said he has met formally with the Titans coaching staff and that a key part of their meeting – aside from talking about all things not football – was his versatility. McGovern played both center and guard during his time as a Nittany Lion and said he considers himself a regular at both positions.
“We talked about the versatility part,” McGovern said, “but a lot of it was outside of football, just getting to know me a little bit better, too.”
Also interesting: McGovern’s father, James, has been his strength coach for most of his life – beginning at age 5 until he was 18, and even continuing now.
“Every time I go home,” he said, “I’m still training.”
Because the combine wouldn’t be the same without a consistent stream of off-the-wall questions, McGovern was asked what type of fish he is.
“Swordfish,” he said. “Aggressive. Agile.”
Garrett Bradbury, N.C. State
The oohs and aahs gradually grew until Garrett Bradbury had reached 30 reps. By the time he hit 34 reps on the 225-pound bench press, the audience – mostly fans but also coaches from all 32 NFL teams – was in awe.
“That energy helps,” Bradbury said. “You feed off that energy.
Bradbury, a 6-2, 304-pounder, said that was right in line with how he’d practice.
The N.C. State product is versatile, as a converted tight end would be. He's WalterFootball's fourth-ranked center and is a projected second- or third-round selection.
"I moved from tight end to D-line because I just wanted reps. I just wanted to play," he said. "I want to be on the field at all times, and so that gave me the best opportunity to do that and throughout the years, definitely found a home at the position."
Michael Deiter, Wisconsin
Michael Deiter said Cowboys guard Zack Martin was probably his best NFL comparison – or at least the NFL player he watches the most.
“Obviously a good guy to look up (to)," said Deiter, a 6-foot-5, 304-pounder from Wisconsin. "I would say he’s probably the guy I watch the most just because if you can play like him, you’re going to be doing a good job.”
WalterFootball projects Deiter as a second- or third-round pick, where the Titans could look to grab him.
At Wisconsin, he was solid against the run and reliable in pass protection. He even ran in a 12-yard touchdown, but he won't consider himself a burner.
"It’ll be average, I’d say," Deiter said with a smile of what he expects for his 40-yard dash. "I should run around a 5.2, 5.3, which I’m happy with. Hopefully my 10-yard split will be fast. If anything, that’s what I want to be fast in."
Deiter said he's comfortable anywhere on the interior of the line, "and there’s enough teams that have said, ‘Even in a pinch, if we had to, we could throw you at tackle.’”
The Titans shouldn’t arrive in that type of pinch with Jack Conklin and Taylor Lewan anchoring the ends of the line, and Dennis Kelly as a solid backup behind them. But Deiter has met with the Titans more than once, meetings he said went well.
“I met with the Titans at the Senior Bowl for a formal, and it’s just been informal here," he said. "They were good. Super good. Coach (Mike) Vrabel’s awesome. It was a lot of fun."
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