Mailbag: Why not a first-round DB in Houston?


Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Jon in silver spring writes: Paul, love the blog...have a question about the Texans draft needs. Im an old school Houston guy, and have been watching this team since they been in existence and one MAJOR aspect thats lacking is secondary...yet all i hear is them picking another LB or DL...when Malcolm Jenkins is out there, the guy from Mizzou is out there...what gives? Thanks.

Paul Kuharsky: I think it's that the linebackers are perceived to be more worth the 15th pick than the corners -- this corner class is getting middling reviews. I agree it's a need, especially when there is no guarantee of Dunta Robinson beyond this year. And they could well take a corner at No. 15. Really, it's too bad there is no first-round caliber safety. That would be a real solution, but this draft doesn't appear to have one. "The guy from Mizzou," I presume, is safety William Moore. He's rated as a second- or third-rounder and they could go for him there.

Chris Kirk from parts unknown writes: I've been waiting to see what you had to say about Rhodes leaving for Buffalo but I decided to go ahead and e-mail you for your thoughts. This move has to move Running Back up on the list of the Colts priorities to address in the draft right? I'm as big an Addai-hater as you'll find among Colts fans so I've been hoping for them to address that position anyway. That being said I could have seen Polian standing pat(no matter how much I disagree) since between Rhodes, Addai, and Ball/Simpson we would have had a nice mix of youth and vets in our Running Back corps. Looking back at most of the Addai apologists from your column about replacing a Colt a lot of them brought up Rhodes potential presence in a two-back system as a reason to expect better production from Addai. With Rhodes gone our already anemic run game just went on life support leaving us with one barely proven runner. With a number of mock drafts having Wells and /or Moreno available at twenty-seven and two Receivers already on the roster good enough to start for most teams how can the Colts possibly put Receiver as a higher priority than Running Back?

Paul Kuharsky: I don't think they are crestfallen that Rhodes is off the market, but I think they would have loved to have retained the option of coming back to him after the draft as a low cost guy for sure. This is one of the toughest questions of the offseason -- how much was Joseph Addai responsible for the Colts' run struggles, how much was on the line and how much was it that both were banged up?

I think a third receiver still ranks as at least as big of a need as a second running back, if they still see Addai as the lead guy -- and I expect they do. Look at it this way -- in which situation would you be more confident:

A) Addai goes down and they have to make do with Mike Hart, Lance Ball, Chad Simpson, mid- to low-draft pick or undrafted rookie.

B) Reggie Wayne or Anthony Gonzalez goes down and they have to rely on Roy Hall, Pierre Garcon, mid- to low- draft pick or undrafted rookie.

I think they survive A better than B, which leads me to conclude they spend a value pick on a receiver over a back. Also I think this is a much better draft for receivers than backs and there will be more attractive wideouts at 27 than runnning backs..

Hey, we could see receiver and running back as two of the first three. Bill Polian may think he can fix defensive tackle and linebacker with less than premium picks.

Jeff in Nashville: Paul, I am constantly arguing with my buddies about how the Titans love to pile up 6th and 7th round picks. Can you tell me over the last several years, how many of these picks are either still with the team or are making significant contributions? Thanks!

Paul Kuharsky: I think it's inaccurate to say they stockpile them -- they lose a lot of players in free agency and get untradeable compensatory picks in those rounds, particularly the seventh.

Since 2002, the Titans have had 22 sixth- and seventh-rounders. Still on the team: Cary Williams, Mike Otto, Cortland Finnegan, Quinton Ganther, Bo Scaife, Eugene Amano. Finnegan's an All-Pro, Scaife and Amano are starters.

Others still in the league: Justin Hartwig and Sean McHugh with Reynaldo Hill a free agent who could still land somewhere.

Brandon in Nashville writes: Paul - Do you have a definitive list of all the potential draftees that the AFC South teams have had in as visitors? That would make a great blog post this week. Thanks!

Paul Kuharsky: I don't, and if I did I would use it with a big disclaimer. I think such lists are as much smokescreen as evidence.

See this blog entry from March.

Jon in Franklin writes: Morning Paul, I see Mortenson reporting Tory Holt is close to a deal with Jacksonville. Always thought veterans were more into winning then $$$. Being a Titan's fan I know I am biased, but the Titan's are closer to a ring than the Jaguars are. Looks like TH is looking for the money grab. If he signs with the Jags, do you think the Jags go defense with their first pick even if Crabtree and Maclin are available at their pick?

Paul Kuharsky: That Jags' deal with Holt got done between your note and this post.

Off the top of your head -- and quickly -- name the last three players you can think of who signed for opportunity to win over money.

Everyone says it, hardly anyone does it. Outside of New England, anyway.

Don't single out Holt. Just about all players are looking for the money -- their years of major earning potential are limited. I would be looking to maximize, too.

With Holt on the roster, if [Michael] Crabtree or [Jeremy] Maclin are still there, I'd probably take o
ne of them -- but it all depends. I presume Eugene Monroe is gone. There are rumblings about a character question with B. J. Raji, but he's got to be considered, don't you think?

Jay from parts unknown writes: Paul, I must say that you are truly stupid. I just read your comparison of VY to Jay Cutler. I like the part where you claimed to have "far more first hand knowledge of VY." What exactly is that? Does the NFL or ESPN have a secret stash of player information that isn't available to your every day fan? Anyway with that said it's obvious you believe Kerry Collins will take the Titans to the next level. Well I think we need to stop throwing the confetti that Kerry is the Titan's QB this year. He OPENLY quit on his first team, the Carolina Panthers. Statistically speaking he's had more bad seasons than good. He IS an INT machine. The only reason he didn't last year was because the Titans running game was incredible, take that away and we see Collins true colors.Over the hill Mediocrity at best. I don't want to waste anymore of your time so in closing I'll just say this. Tennessee fans quit on VY long before VY quit on the team. I don't know how many times we see players "quit" in games then they get back out there and do it. Vince quit, got back out there and did it and blew his knee up for a team that could obviously give a crap less about him. So be fair Jeff and Bud, let VY go seek out another team where he might have a chance to start and you can continue your quest for absolute mediocrity.

Paul Kuharsky: Wow, you've given me a lot to cover there.

Firsthand knowledge of VY: I was at his pro day in Austin, on the conference call with him minutes after he was drafted, at his news conference the following day, at his initial practices a week or so later, etc. I covered him as a reporter at The Tennessean and now as a Nashville-based blogger for ESPN.com. As for Cutler, while I was with him for his Senior Bowl week in Mobile, I've never been to a Denver training camp or practice. Given all that, it makes perfect sense that I know a lot more about Young than Cutler, no?

It's part of my old job and my new one to have a bit more to go on than Joe Fan. Collins had issues in his past and worked through them to become a responsible professional, no one is denying that. Young has issues in his present, and there are no indications he has worked through them. His locker is right next to the locker of a guy who went through similar stuff and made it, and there is no indication he's taken advantage of Collins as a resource to any degree.

That interception machine threw seven picks last season, tied with Chad Pennington for the second-fewest of any regular starter in the league.

Fans aren't obligated to stick with players. Fans are entitled to boo or like or dislike anyone they chose. Players don't have that freedom of choice when it comes to quitting on their teams -- it's hardly an apples to apples comparison. They get big paychecks to give them team maximum effort. If they quit and collect checks simultaneously, they eventually get shown the door.

If you follow the Titans, then you know how incredibly difficult it is to lose a starting job on a Jeff Fisher-coached team. That Young got himself benched by the most loyal coach in the NFL speaks volumes. DeRon Jenkins and Lamont Thompson couldn't even do it.