Titans need far more out of Chance Warmack

Chance Warmack's Pro Football Focus grade doesn't reflect a desire to be a great guard with the Titans. Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Chance Warmack said not long after he landed exactly where he wanted to go in the draft that he longed to be great as a guard for the Tennessee Titans.

But he and his team are still waiting on signs that he can be.

Warmack is currently tied for 62nd out of 82 guards graded by Pro Football Focus, who's science may be imperfect but who gives us one glimpse at player ratings at positions that don't offer stats.

Pro Bowler Marshall Yanda of the Baltimore Ravens certainly rates as great and is the top guard on PFF's list, outscoring Warmack by a whopping 49.8 points.

I asked Warmack where he stands compared to Yanda.

"Ah man, that's like one of the best guards in the league right now, so I'm not close to Marshall," Warmack said. "He's the man. He's who I want to be. That's what I want to be, consistent all the time. We all want to be consistent, but that desire has to reflect in the film. There have been some games where I have been consistent, there have been some games where I could be better. You have to be a hard critic on yourself."

So he's got a realistic sense of his standing in the league but also talks of a yearning that just is not outwardly obvious in the way he plays or talks. While I don't doubt his desire to be great, Warmack's super low-key personality often doesn't square up with the idea that he's super-driven to get to that level.

He's patient with the process. Too patient, I believe. He says experience is helping him get better, but he talks often about not being in control of things it seems like he could, in fact, control.

I asked if the push to get to great was moving at a satisfactory pace, or at a speed he expected.

"I'm not really in control of that," he said. "I just take what comes to me and I build off of that and I try to improve based off the experiences that I see every season. You can't let anything throw you off, you always have to be ready for any type of change because that's what the NFL is.

"The drive to be great is constantly going on, every day. Every time you watch film, every time you take notes and Coach is telling you what their fronts are, what their pressures are. Just the desire to try to improve on one thing you might have messed up on the next week. Those little things all build to becoming the player that I am trying to be."

Before the season, Warmack declined to pronounce himself a pillar of the team. He said that was for others to say.

His play this season has shown he was correct to be hesitant, and no one with the team is suggesting he's close to that status yet.

"Chance has been solid for the year," interim coach Mike Mularkey said.

Seven offensive linemen were drafted in the first round in 2013. Per PFF's grades, only the last of the group, Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick, has a positive grade (19.1, highest of the entire class) this season.

No. 1 pick Eric Fisher (-5.5), No. 2 Luke Joeckel (-9.1), No. 4 Lane Johnson (-3.7), No. 7 Jonathan Cooper (-7.0). Warmack (-11.7), No. 11 D.J. Fluker (-8.6) and No. 20 Kyle Long (-4.8) all have poor marks.

NFL Films executive producer Greg Cosell said on my Nashville radio show Wednesday that Warmack stands out more often in a negative way than a positive one.

General manager Ruston Webster, who picked Warmack with the full endorsement of then-coach Mike Munchak, said after 2014 that a strong stretch to finish 2014 was big for Warmack. Webster said it took Warmack a while to get to his best at Alabama, but once he got there he was special. The GM envisioned the guard following the same track in the NFL.

Warmack is about to play in the 45th game of his career, the sixth where he is part of a line facing The Houston Texans' J.J. Watt. The Titans right guard has not build sufficiently on the quality finish to 2014. He's not a bedrock piece of a franchise in dire need.

It certainly seems Warmack should be further along than he is. It seems like that is in his control.