NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Two possible options for the Tennessee Titans in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday went by the boards before the team's turn on the clock.
UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, who could have been the pass rush threat the Titans have needed for years, was taken ninth overall by the Minnesota Vikings, just before the Detroit Lions selected North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron at No. 10.
That really left the Titans with one clear-cut option -- Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan -- even though the position is not one of immediate need for the team.
Tennessee already has veteran left tackle Michael Roos, a starter since his rookie year of 2005, and the team recently signed right tackle Michael Oher to a four-year, $20 million contract. That could leave Lewan waiting in the wings until 2015, when Roos is scheduled to become a free agent, or perhaps sooner if Roos is moved to the trading block.
Despite not really having a guaranteed starting spot for Lewan to make an immediate impact as a rookie, the Titans pulled the trigger with the future in mind.
"We thought there were three left tackles in the draft that were obvious left tackle type guys. He was one of those three," Titans general manager Ruston Webster said. "My experience has been that it's very difficult to find left tackles, and when you find a guy who can play left tackle in the National Football League, you have to do it. We were very happy that he was still there."
Lewan prides himself on being a tough, aggressive player.
"I try to play as hard and fast and nasty as I possibly can," he said. "I try to play though the whistle and try to be one of the toughest guys on the field.
"I'm really excited to be a Titan, and I can't wait to get down there and be a part of the culture. It's gonna be amazing."
The selection of Lewan in the first round continues a two-season makeover of the Titans' offensive line.
It began last year with the signing of left guard Andy Levitre and the drafting of right guard Chance Warmack and center Brian Schwenke. The Titans then released veteran David Stewart in the offseason as his injuries began to mount, and replaced him with Oher, a former Baltimore Ravens first-round pick. That leaves Roos as the only holdover Webster inherited when he became GM in 2012.
Roos, a nine-year veteran, is in the final year of his contract, and his expected replacement is now on board.