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Tuesday, July 26, 2011
With Mikell gone, Weddle should be target

By Paul Kuharsky

The market at one of the AFC South's most needy positions has been set by a team outside the division.

According to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter, St. Louis has agreed to pay former Eagles safety Quintin Mikell $28 million over four years. Mikell is a quality player and a quality leader. That he's already off the market weakens a pool at the position that is not especially deep. Scouts Inc. had Mikell as the top-rated safety in free agency. But Eric Weddle is close behind and he’s 26 years old to Mickell’s 30.

Safety Eric Weddle
Jacksonville and Houston have shown interest in safety Eric Weddle.
So Weddle could command even more money.

Both the Jaguars and the Texans have, at the very least, made inquiries about Weddle, who can cover in space and step up to hit a running back. That sort of versatility in a safety is exactly what both Jacksonville and Houston need as they try to play better defense.

While the Texans could look to make an even bigger splash by signing Oakland free-agent corner Nnamdi Asomugha, Weddle could be the Jaguars’ best pick up if they pursue and land him.

I’m not on the Weddle camp’s pay roll, but I have been touting him for month.

The AFC South has one great safety in Indianapolis’ Antoine Bethea and one up-and-down safety who can be very good in Tennessee’s Michael Griffin. Glover Quin is expected to move from corner to free safety for Houston and may fare well there.

Beyond those three, there are five question marks of varying degrees at the position in the division. (That's giving the Colts a blank at strong safety, where the steady Melvin Bullitt is a free agent too.)

Doesn’t this review of Weddle from Scouts Inc. sound like a nice guy to fit one of those spots?
"Weddle is a little undersized [at 5-foot-11, 200 pounds] but plays bigger than he measures. He has an excellent nose for the ball and understands angles in run support and in deep coverage. He has great route recognition and does an excellent job of reading the quarterback's eyes from deep zone. He has good range and shows good ball skills. He may not blow ball carriers up, but he will wrap up and get the job done."