We've been looking at some of the Titans who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next week and I'd like to continue that, looking at o-lineman Daniel Loper.
He's not a star, and not even a starter, but he's a valuable member of the team who I'd like to see in two-tone blue for three or four more years.
Loper's value lies in his versatility. He can play every position on the line except for center and has filled in well when called upon, both at tackle and guard. Loper reminds me of Jason Mathews and Scott Sanderson, two guys who could fill in when necessary.
Here's the main reason I hope the Titans re-sign Loper. If either Michael Roos or David Stewart is injured, then Loper is the man I want to see in their place. No offense to Mike Otto, but he's a dropoff in both talent and experience. As a matter of fact, I'm not real confident that Otto will make the team this year if Tennessee drafts another o-lineman.
Although he's been used as a guard, Loper's natural position is tackle.The Titans list him at 320 pounds but he's bulked up since then and is probably about 330, the second or maybe third largest man on the team. Loper has the agility with his feet and hands to pass-block and has the size and strength to run-block.
An all-around athlete, Loper was a tight end in high school who was converted to a left tackle and became a four-year starter in Texas Tech's wide open, pass-happy offense, protecting the quarterback's blind side. He was also a punter and kicker. Loper was a center in basketball and a pitcher in baseball with a 95 mph fastball. His hobby is bowling and he has an average of well over 200 and has thought about joining the pro bowling tour after his football days are over.
That shows a lot of athleticism, which is what makes his game what it is. He's good enough to start for a lot of teams and like several of his teammates, he wants to get more playing time. Can Mike Reinfeldt persuade him to stay in Tennessee?
We'll find out next week. Stay tuned.