Our assignment: Pick one guy per team in the AFC South who we are most curious about heading into the 2010 NFL season. Not some guy who’s done it before and needs to do it again, better. No room in this post for Bob Sanders or even Vince Young or Steve Slaton.
Here’s more what I am thinking:
Houston: Interior offensive lineman Antoine Caldwell
He played in 10 games, starting three last year after the Texans spent a third-round pick on him. The Texans added free agent Wade Smith and could draft an interior guy, but push up the middle was a big part of the team’s run-game failures in 2009. A third-round pick in his second season needs to be part of the solution as the offense looks to resolve those issues. There is going to be competition for the inside spots and he need to win one.
Indianapolis: Defensive tackle Fili Moala
A lot of mock drafters want to give the Colts an interior defensive lineman, but Moala will qualify as an addition if he makes a second-year jump. The team got better play inside last year with virtually no contribution from Moala, a second-rounder who played in 10 games with one start. The talk was that it would simply take him a while to catch on while making strength and conditioning gains.
Jacksonville: Cornerback Don Carey
When the Browns waived Carey injured last summer, the Jaguars caused a bit of a stir by claiming him. It’s a move that’s not made very often in such situations, but is certainly within the rules. Carey was a sixth-round pick out of Norfolk State for Cleveland and could be a nice bonus in a secondary that’s got to deal with two games against Peyton Manning and two against Matt Schaub. He majored in construction technology, and Gene Smith loves to talk about construction as he builds his roster.
Tennessee: Defensive tackle Jason Jones
Tight end Jared Cook is an easy answer, but as we covered him recently here, we turn to Jones. Jeff Fisher pretty much questioned Jones’ toughness when he gave into a shoulder injury and went on IR with a month left in the season. A rangy player who can cause problems rushing and batting down passes, the Titans could really benefit from consistent play out of Jones as he heads into his third season.
We’ll revisit all these guys and a lot more throughout the offseason, during OTAs and minicamps.