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Titans OT Taylor Lewan: 'I'm not a right tackle'

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With the Tennessee Titans laser-focused on adding an offensive tackle in the NFL draft, most assumed the team would attempt to bump incumbent left tackle Taylor Lewan to the right side.

If Laremy Tunsil had been the pick, that was almost sure to happen. With the Titans trading back up in the first round, not for Tunsil -- who fell on draft day due to a bong mask video scandal -- but Jack Conklin, Lewan's spot could be secure.

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The Titans haven't ruled out a competition for the left tackle job, but Lewan insists he was never worried about being forced to flip sides.

"To me, honestly, I never thought anything of it because I know I'm not a right tackle," Lewan said Saturday, via The Tennessean. "I'm a left tackle. I knew I was the left tackle for this team and I knew once I had the opportunity to talk to Mr. (Jon) Robinson and Coach (Mike) Mularkey that they would hear my piece and where I was from.

"And I respect them to the Nth degree. They're unbelievable," he continued. "An unbelievable GM, an unbelievable coach, and I would do a lot for this team. But I know I came in here, I know my worth as a player, and I know that I'm a left tackle. So I think it's my job now to prove that I can be more consistent this year and do those things. But as far as worrying about it and stuff like that, I never did, because I know the kind of player that I am."

Lewan is a solid blocker, but far from consistent on the left side. He led the team in penalties and can get burned by speedier rushers to the outside. Robinson insisted throughout the draft process that Lewan could move to right tackle if the team selected a left-side player.

With the power-blocking Conklin being brought in, Lewan seems likely to keep his preferred spot on the left side, for now.

The right/left tackle debate is slightly antiquated in today's NFL. Teams will just flip their best pass rusher to the other side if there is a glaring weakness. As we saw in the Super Bowl, edge rusher Von Miller won MVP by dominating a right tackle. Marcus Mariota was pummeled last season because of teams loading up to take advantage of poor right tackle play.

Regardless of where either offensive tackle plays, the Titans made it a priority to protect their quarterback. With Conklin and Lewan, Tennessee has bookend tackles that should grow the next several years. Lewan seems the only one to care about the side from which he blocks.

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