NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The March 11 start of NFL free agency is almost upon us.
So this week we’re looking at free agents I think should get a look from the Titans.
Previously, we considered Pittsburgh outside linebacker Jason Worilds and Brian Orakpo, and both of them got tagged and won't likely get offer sheets from the Titans. We've also looked at Oakland end Lamarr Houston, Jets offensive tackle Austin Howard, Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby and Houston defensive lineman Antonio Smith.
Anthony Collins, OT, Cincinnati
Drafted: Fourth-round pick by Cincinnati out of Kansas in 2008.
Career: Six seasons with Bengals, 57 games, 25 starts.
2013: Fifteen games, 7 starts.
PFF says: fifth OT.
From ESPN Bengals reporter Coley Harvey: "How well did Anthony Collins play in 2013? Well, according to Pro Football Focus, he was the one Bengals offensive lineman who did not have a hand in allowing a sack all season. He also was one of the higher rated players on the line, despite starting just seven games. I’ve used this analogy before, but with respect to Collins’ role, I’d equate him to the sixth man on a basketball team. He was always the first guy off the bench when the Bengals had an injury involving one of their tackles. He played both left and right tackle, although he seemed better suited in Cincinnati’s offense at left.
"While pass protection probably is Collins’ biggest strength right now, the Bengals’ running game significantly benefited when he was moved into the starting lineup at left tackle after left guard Clint Boling tore his ACL in Week 13 last year. Collins began starting because the Bengals’ normal left tackle, Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth, slid to Boling’s spot.
"The obvious question now would be wondering how he’ll perform as a starter, assuming he’ll end up signing somewhere other than Cincinnati. Although he’s played full games, the six-year backup hasn’t started every game of a full season yet. It will be interesting to see how well the 28-year-old holds up by the end of a season after having finally gotten a year’s worth of starts under his belt.
"Off the field, Collins probably would be fondly considered the class clown of the Bengals' locker room. He’s often cracking jokes, occasionally singing along to whatever is playing on the speakers, and just generally being an overall good, fun, positive teammate to be around. Maybe it’s because he’s spent six seasons in Cincinnati and feels comfortable there and with his teammates there, but Collins certainly is one of the more calming spirits in that locker room. You have to believe he’ll be the same way wherever he goes.
"The Bengals seem to have a good thing going with Whitworth, Collins and Andre Smith at tackle. The problem, though, is that if Whitworth ends up staying at left tackle and not moving over to guard even after Boling returns -- which seems like a very real possibility -- then Collins won’t have a spot to play. If he doesn’t have a starting spot, then I can’t see him staying. If I had to guess right now, a week before free agency, I’d say Collins will be leaving Cincinnati."
From ESPN.com’s resident scout Matt Williamson: “Collins is a highly underrated offensive tackle that can play either tackle spot. He has mostly been a backup for the Bengals, but proved last season that he is worthy of a starting position.”
My rationale: He did really solid work on a line that could have crumbled. The Titans might benefit from experience in a new lineman to replace right tackle David Stewart, who’s production plus cost means he has to be cut, since they added two rookies last season.