We recently looked at tackle Troy Kropog here on Total Titans and we'll now look at the other offensive lineman just drafted by Tennessee, guard Ryan Durand.
I've read conflicting scouting reports on both his strength and his athletic ability so we'll just have to wait and see about that. However, we do know about his Pro Day, which gives us a few clues.
This report of his Pro Day, by The National Football Post, says he showed "quick feet and good athleticism" and benched 28 reps. He also had a 27-inch vertical and a 4.66 short shuttle. Durand's bench press and short shuttle, which are indicators of good upper body strength and lateral quickness, were better than most of the o-linemen's at the combine.
In the Titans' post-draft press conference, Jeff Fisher called Durand a talented, smart and tough player who o-line coach Mike Munchak liked.
All of that is well and good but he'll need more than that to make the team. Incidentally, Tennessee has drafted four o-linemen in the seventh round. Two of them, Kevin Long and Eugene Amano, became productive starters. The other two, Wes Shivers and Todd Williams, didn't.
Whether Durand makes the team or not will probably be determined by the number of o-linemen Fisher decides to keep. We know of six who are locks - Michael Roos, Amano, Kevin Mawae, Jake Scott, David Stewart and Leroy Harris. A backup tackle, either Michael Otto or Kropog, will be the seventh. Perhaps they'll both be kept, making eight.
Would Fisher keep all eight and also keep another interior lineman as a ninth? I doubt it, and if he doesn't, Durand will probably be the eighth man, replacing either Otto or Kropog.
I believe the Titans need to keep another interior lineman. Mawae and Amano are each in the final year of their contracts, so there's the matter of possibly replacing one or both of them next year. There's also the question of Mawae's durability. He hasn't been able to complete a full season since 2006, his first year in Tennessee. Although he's still playing at a high level, the wear and tear of fifteen years is catching up with him.
I'd hate to see Scott, Amano and Harris on the field without a backup at guard or center. The ideal situation would be to save a roster spot by waiving Durand without another team claiming him. He's not being counted on to play this year and it would be nice to keep him on the practice squad, where he could move to the active roster if necessary.