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Tuesday, March 17, 2009
First-round batting averages, 2000-06

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

When the Jaguars parted ways with receiver Matt Jones Monday, it sent me fishing through the recent draft histories of the four teams of the AFC South.

The Jaguars' poor record with first-round picks in recent years -- think R. Jay Soward, Reggie Williams and now Jones -- is a big part of why they are rebuilding. The Colts' strong record with first-round picks -- think Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney and Dallas Clark -- is a big part of why they are always in the playoffs.

It's pretty much a given that players drafted in the first round in the last two drafts are still going to be around -- Houston's got tackle Duane Brown and defensive tackle Amobi Okoye; Indianapolis has receiver Anthony Gonzalez and traded out of the first in 2008; Jacksonville has safety Reggie Nelson and defensive end Derrick Harvey; Tennessee has safety Michael Griffin and running back Chris Johnson.

What about from 2000-2006?

Forget about picks traded away on or before draft day. First-rounders from that span should be established core guys in their primes, players their teams wanted to resign and make a part of things for the long term.

This is unscientific, of course, but here's the scorecard:

AFC South in the first round, 2000-2006
Team First rounders left First round picks Batting average
Indianapolis 5 6 .837
Houston* 4 6 .667
Tennessee 2 5 .400
Jacksonville 2 7 .286

And how about outright first-round busts in the same span?

In my subjective opinion, that scorecard is:

Colts -- 0

Texans -- 2 (David Carr, Jason Babin)

Titans -- 2 (Andre Woolfolk, Pacman Jones)

Jaguars -- 3 (Soward, Reggie Williams, Jones)