COMMENTARY| The Tennessee Titans don't have any glaring needs in free agency, but one of the most talked about positions is the right tackle spot. Veteran right tackle David Stewart is scheduled to make over $6 million (all of which goes to cap space if he is cut) and he just isn't fiscally viable any more. Not only that, but with his injury history, drop off in production and penchant for getting unnecessary flags, the Titans are probably better off without him, regardless of the price.
If David Stewart is gone, then what offensive lineman will fill his spot? One player stands out above the rest as a no-brainer: Gabe Carimi.
What Carimi brings to the table:
The 2010 All-American and Outland Trophy winner has a lot of positive qualities. Just glancing at him it is hard to ignore his potential as he is a massive 6'7" specimen that carries his 316 lb. very well. Not only is he tall, but his 83 inch wingspan should prevent defenders from getting into his body.
While he has had his ups and downs, he has gotten better every year and has experience at three different offensive line spots: right tackle and both guard positions. Even if he doesn't pan out as the starting right tackle, he will be an excellent depth player that can be a very effective run-blocker if any of the starters go down.
Carimi has been limited to playing inside and as a right tackle for his short NFL career, but that doesn't have to be the case going forward. He is an excellent technician who just needs a healthy offseason with a coach he knows. His college career was not a fluke, and his aggressive style and elite frame hint at the mountains of potential he has.
Why he fits in Tennessee:
The Titans hired Bob Bostad as their new offensive line coach after firing Mike Munchak, and one of the biggest feathers in his cap was that he was the OL coach at Wisconsin from 2006-11. During that time he made the Wisconsin offensive line unit one of the most consistently dominant in college football. Guess who anchored that line: Gabe Carimi.
Carimi amassed 49 starts during his time at Wisconsin, and developed into a first round talent. That speaks to just how well he fits into Bostad's system and with the interior filled with potential Pro-Bowl linemen, Carimi should be able to thrive in Tennessee.
As further proof that this deal is more than likely, Bostad actually convinced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (for whom he was coaching until the regime change) to trade for Carimi in 2013. Now that Carimi is a free agent, it is hard to assume that the two wouldn't try to get together again. That being said, the price will have to be right, and Ken Whisenhunt will have to be on board with the signing.
I believe that both Whisenhunt and GM Ruston Webster will give their position coaches a lot of freedom, and I would go as far as to say that Whisenhunt may see some of 2013 1st round pick D.J. Fluker in Carimi. Both are massive prospects that have excellent college tape and who have had their issues with speed rushers. The biggest difference between the two is that Carimi should be available for veteran minimum while Fluker cost the Chargers a first round pick.
More from this contributor:
Will Lomas is a lead blogger for draftseason.com and a staff writer for SBNation's Tennessee Titans website Music City Miracles. Will is also the sports editor for the Tennessee Journalist, the University of Tennessee's online news source.
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- Gabe Carimi
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