The Tennessee Titans are set to field a talented offensive line in 2021. Continuity is key when projecting success up front, and the Titans return four key starters on the O-line. Taylor Lewan is back healthy. Ben Jones, Rodger Saffold and Nate Davis should help round out a solid unit, even with a question mark at right tackle that will be sorted out in the coming weeks. While the top of the depth chart is easy to figure out, there are plenty of players battling for a chance to play a backup role throughout the season. The Titans entered training camp earlier this week with 17 offensive lineman on the roster. One of those players is Christian DiLauro, an offensive tackle entering his fourth campaign in the NFL. DiLauro most recently played in The Spring League earlier this year before signing with the Titans in May.
DiLauro recently spoke exclusively with Broadway Sports about his Spring League experience, working with offensive line coach Keith Carter, his goals for training camp and more.
JM: You originally broke into the league as an undrafted free agent back in 2018. Here you are getting ready to enter your fourth year in the NFL. What does it take to survive as a UDFA in this league?
CDL: It’s been a crazy ride so far. I believe the Titans are my fifth team in four years. You have to be persistent more than anything else. I still have it in me to go out there and compete. I still want to play this game at the highest level. Through the ups and downs, I haven’t lost my passion or love for it. It often comes down to finding the right fit and getting yourself in the right situation. A lot of the other stuff is outside of your control. Sometimes, it comes down to numbers. At the end of the day, I know that I still have something left in me. I still love the game. I want to keep competing.
JM: We love that. You did something a little bit different this year. You played in The Spring League during the early portion of 2021. It makes a lot of sense for anybody that’s trying to stay sharp and put some good things on tape. What was that experience like?
CDL: Thankfully, it wasn’t a very long stint (laughs). During the 2020 season, I was in camp with Pittsburgh but I didn’t get picked up the rest of that year. The Spring League gave me a good opportunity for me to get out there and prove that I could still play the game all things considered. I had to prove I was still playing at an NFL level. I played one game there before I got a phone call to workout for another NFL team. I ended up getting a little sick and I couldn’t make it to the workout. I went back to the Spring League for a day and then the Titans called me.
JM: That’s a great story. What’s your early impression of offensive line coach Keith Carter?
CDL: The man knows what he’s doing. That much is obvious. He’s in his third season coaching this unit. Take a look at how many yards Derrick [Henry] has rushed for during Carter’s tenure here in Tennessee. He’s done a hell of a job with this offensive line. What he’s coaching and teaching is working. It’s a little different than the previous places I’ve been. There’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to what coach Carter expects of us. He’s a high intensity guy. He keeps the mood in the meeting room light, but he wants the most out of you on the field. He knows how to get that out of you.
JM: That’s terrific. You’re listed as an offensive tackle, but you do have some experience playing guard as well. How can that versatility help you over these next few weeks?
CDL: I think it can be a pivotal point for me. For any undrafted guy in general, the more you can do, the better your chances are of sticking in this league. It will be interesting to see how they decide to move me around as camp goes on. OTA’s only lasted a few weeks so here in training camp is when these things will get put in motion. It will be fun to see how the coaching staff decides to utilize me.
JM: Is there an offensive lineman on the team that you’re looking forward to being teammates with and maybe learning from?
CDL: I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time with Taylor Lewan. I’ve watched a lot of his film over the past few months. Ever since I became a Titan, I’ve really taken a closer look at how they use Lewan and what they ask of him. I love his style of play. I’ve also enjoyed being teammates and working with David Quessenberry. I appreciate the way he carries himself. I’ve been able to approach him and talk to him about things. I asked him a lot of questions during OTA’s as I was still getting a feel for how things work. I’m excited to spend more time with these guys as we get deeper into camp here.
JM: Those are two great choices. I’ve really appreciated your time today, Christian. In closing, what do your goals look like for these next few weeks?
CDL: The big thing is for me to prove that I belong here. I can play at this level and be a part of this team. Those are my goals. I’m going to embrace whatever role they envision for me. I can play as a swing tackle or whatever it is I end up being. My big goal is to come here and earn a spot on the team. I’m out to prove that I deserve a spot.