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Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Kiper's re-draft of 2006, AFC-South style

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

In re-drafting the 2006 draft, Mel Kiper’s looking at the promise of guys going forward and their worth and he’s not really factoring in team needs.

Here’s what he did for the AFC South.

1) Houston Texans -- Haloti Ngata, DT Oregon

Kiper: “He's played in 94 of 96 possible regular season games, plays a premium position, is a Pro Bowl shoo-in and would dominate in any system. Safe to say the guy Ray Lewis pushed for to free up the Baltimore linebackers has worked out just fine, and the future holds plenty more.” Previous draft spot: No. 12

Kuharsky: If we are living in a fantasy land where we simply add the new pick, subtract the old pick and head into 2012, then wow. Defensive tackle is the only “weak” spot in the Texans' front seven. Add Ngata and this group would be off the charts.

3) Tennessee Titans, Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, UCLA

Kiper: “Coming off a year in which he was close to unstoppable even within an offense that was far too easy to stop, Jones Drew has over 1,700 yards more than any other running back in this draft class after six years. Given his body type, he could be good for another five years, which puts him in elite territory historically.” Previous draft spot: No. 60

Kuharsky: The Titans were quarterback desperate but Kiper's not looking at that as much as Jones-Drew would be a perfect power-running game for Jeff Fisher or Mike Munchak. If we’re ignoring need and heavily weighing what’s to come, wouldn’t Jay Cutler be better? (He lasts until the Raiders at No. 7.)

28) Jacksonville Jaguars, Marcus McNeill, OT, Auburn

Kiper: “Really hope that McNeill can come back in 2012 fully healthy. At his best, he's a big-time talent at left tackle, and his play early in his career made that clear. He drops some here because it's hard to project if he'll be at that level again.” Previous draft spot: No. 50

Kuharsky: With McNeill and Eugene Monroe as tackles, the Jaguars could kick Eben Britton inside or concentrate on building up an interior that could protect Blaine Gabbert in addition to blocking for Jones-Drew.

30) Indianapolis Colts, Danieal Manning, S, Abilene Christian

Kiper: “This is a player who cracks the first round because I still think his best is yet to come. Manning has been a solid return man, but his play in the secondary has been underrated, and he had a solid year for the Texans.” Previous draft spot: No. 42

Kuharsky: It’s funny, their own find at safety, Antoine Bethea, is gone three picks earlier in this scenario. Manning would be a nice fit going forward paired with Bethea, as rebuilding/replenishing the secondary is a big key for the revamping Colts.

Beyond Jones-Drew and Danieal Manning, eight other players currently in the AFC South made Kiper’s redrafted first round:

5) Mario Williams (DE, NC State) to the Green Bay Packers

16) DeMeco Ryans (LB, Arizona) to the Miami Dolphins

18) Johnathan Joseph (CB, South Carolina) to the Dallas Cowboys

24) Eric Winston (OT, Miami) to the Cincinnati Bengals

25) Marcedes Lewis (TE, UCLA) Pittsburgh Steelers

26) Owen Daniels (TE, Wisconsin) to the Buffalo Bills

27) Antoine Bethea (CB, Howard) to the Carolina Panthers

32) Cortland Finnegan (CB, Sanford) to the New York Giants