By Jim Wyatt – TennesseeTitans.com
TRAINING CAMP PREVIEW: OFFENSIVE LINE
In camp (15): LT Taylor Lewan, RT Dennis Kelly, C Ben Jones, LG Rodger Saffold III, RG Nate Davis, T Ty Sambrailo, T Isaiah Wilson, T David Quessenberry, T Brandon Kemp, T Anthony McKinney, G Jamil Douglas, OL Avery Gennesy, G Zac Kerin, C Aaron Brewer, C Daniel Munyer.
Offseason developments: The Titans signed Kelly to a new, multi-year deal after Jack Conklin, last year’s starting right tackle, signed with the Browns in free agency. The team drafted massive Georgia lineman Isaiah Wilson in the first round of the NFL Draft with the 29th overall pick. Lewan vowed to take on more of a leadership role moving forward, something that was surely music to the ears of his bosses. In free agency, the Titans signed former Falcons tackle Ty Sambrailo to a one-year deal. The team also signed Avery Gennesy, formerly of the Browns and XFL, along with Zac Kerin, who has spent time with the Vikings and Redskins in addition to an XFL stint himself. Aaron Brewer (Texas State) and Brandon Kemp (Valosta State) were added as undrafted free agents.
In the spotlight: Kelly. The 6-foot-8, 321-pound Kelly has paid his dues, and with the right tackle spot now open, he has a big opportunity. A swing guy – and a fill-in – since being acquired in 2016 via a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles for receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, Kelly is the favorite to win the starting spot. During his career, Kelly has played in 58 games, with 16 starts, logging starts at right tackle, right guard, left guard and tight end. In 2019, Kelly also caught a pair of touchdown passes – one in a win vs. the Jaguars, and another in the AFC Championship game against the Chiefs. Last season, Kelly played in 15 games, with four starts. He started the first four games of the 2019 season during Lewan’s suspension. Now, he’d like to start, and end the season, as the team’s starter.
Battle to watch: Dennis Kelly vs. Isaiah Wilson. Kelly is the present, and Wilson is the future. But does that future begin in 2020, or down the road? A lot depends on Wilson. I suspect it’s going to be tough for Wilson to upend Kelly in camp. Kelly is a solid player, he has plenty of experience, and he’s built to play now. Plus, the lack of an offseason program – and OTAs and minicamp – hurt Wilson’s chances of developing in recent months, so he’s behind the 8-ball. The 6-foot-6, 350-pound Wilson has talent – he was an All-SEC second team performer for the Bulldogs in 2019 after playing in 11 games, starting 10. And he was the co-winner of Offensive “Up Front” Award, given at team’s post-season awards gala. Can Wilson make it a serious battle in camp and turn into a starting spot contender in camp? It’s among the team’s biggest position battles to watch in camp.
Keep an eye on: Nate Davis, and depth behind the starters. Davis, a third-round pick in the 2019 draft, showed great maturity and improvement in his rookie season. How much he’s developed this offseason will be on full display at the start of training camp. The Titans also have some things to sort out from a depth standpoint. The thinking here is it’s easy to count to six on the 55-man roster – Lewan, Saffold, Jones, Davis, Kelly and Wilson. The a 6-foot-5, 311-pound Sambrailo should make seven. Sambrailo has five years of NFL experience, with the Broncos and Falcons, and he’s played in 57 career games, with 13 starts. Douglas, who can play center and guard, figures to be No.8 because of his versatility. But which other players emerge from the pack, and how many offensive linemen will the Titans keep? Well, training camp will answer those questions.
Jim Wyatt is the Senior Writer and Editor for TennesseeTitans.com