Monday, May 17, 2010
Pondering undrafted rookies
By Paul Kuharsky
Tom Gower of Football Outsiders revisited a recent ESPN.com Insiders piece looking at the remaining holes in the AFC South. More interesting were his new thoughts on each teams' undrafted rookie pool, which gave me one thing to ponder for each of our teams.
Gower suggests one of two undrafted fullbacks, Jack Corcoran or Isaiah Greenhouse, could push Vonta Leach at fullback. We’ve focused almost exclusively on the running backs and the interior offensive line in discussing the Texans' run woes, and we presume second-rounder back Ben Tate and a healthier interior line that added free agent Wade Smith will be the cure. But was Leach, in fact, part of the problem as Gower suggests? I’ll be interested to see if Corcoran or Greenhouse has a chance to press for action over Leach, who’s been very popular with coaches, teammates and fans.
Say Gower: “Western Michigan's Tim Hiller could also potentially unseat Curtis Painter for the job of Colts’ preseason quarterback.” I’ve said repeatedly that people make too much too soon about finding Peyton Manning’s successor. It is a preseason and end-of-regular-season job. If Manning goes down somewhere between the two, the Colts' season goes down as well. Hiller has some very good reviews as he joins the team. While they invested a sixth-rounder in Painter a year ago, Hiller certainly has a chance to win the reserve role.
Cecil Newton could be challenged for the role as young up-and-comer in the interior offensive line mix by John Estes. While the presumption is the team wants to improve inside by replacing Brad Meester, he could hold on and the change could come with Uche Nwaneri. If Meester or Nwaneri continue to give the team reason to look to alter things, we could see veteran Kynan Forney win the left guard job. A big push by Estes or Newton could also have a bearing on how things shake out.
There is room for a No. 3 back after the dumping of LenDale White moved Javon Ringer into the backup role behind Chris Johnson. That means undrafted rookies LeGarrette Blount and Stafon Johnson will garner a great deal of attention in camp. Seems to me Ringer is more like Johnson, and the bigger, more physical Blount is the guy the Titans would like to see step forward.