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Tennessee Titans curiously nab 'Blind Side' blocker Oher to man right tackle

Eric Edholm
Shutdown Corner

The Tennessee Titans knew they had to replace right-tackle fixture David Stewart, the tough guy whose mauling style set the tone for the team up front for several years.

But was Michael Oher the right fit?

This is a curious signing, for a reported four years, $20 million and $9.5 million guaranteed — not beacoup bucks for a front-line tackle, but we're not sure Oher qualifies.

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Oh, in name recognition, yes, he's near the forefront. Cue the jokes about Sandra Bullock running onto the field to get in Ken Whisenhunt's face.

But the "Blind Side" protector actually will be blocking in front of the righthanded quarterback Jake Locker — assuming he is healthy and keeps the job — and isn't nearly the masher that Stewart was.

Yes, Oher is younger and more athletic, something the Titans desperately wanted up front. But watching Oher last season made one think that maybe he had peaked as a player. His first few seasons were somewhat promising, but his play tailed off to the point where the OL-needy Ravens allowed him to walk without putting up much of a fight.

Last season, Whisenhunt had a flawed but powerful mauler at right tackle in rookie D.J. Fluker at tackle, and the rookie worked through his issues nicely to turn in a strong first season by the end. But Oher is a rather different player, and it's a wonder if the Titans can use him as an anchor in the run game or as a single blocker in pass protection.

If you compare him to the Indianapolis Colts' Gosder Cherilus, I am listening and nodding, and maybe comparatively, the Colts got a bargain: Cherilus went for five years, $34.5 million and $15.5 million guaranteed a year ago. But Cherilus didn't markedly raise the play of the Colts' unit a year ago, and I don't believe Oher can do the same in Tennessee.

The recent results have been decidedly average, at best. This is a bit of a strange signing to say the least, even as the free-agent tackles flew off the market with a vapor trail. But would Michigan's Taylor Lewan not have been better value with the 11th pick? We shall see.

 

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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