Friday, April 27, 2012
The big theme: Receivers and rushers
By Paul Kuharsky
It’s very likely that after the second round is over Friday night, we’ll say the same thing about three teams in the AFC South: That they’ve added a receiver and a pass-rusher.
Jacksonville grabbed Justin Blackmon and with the sixth pick tonight, 38th overall, it will eye a pass-rusher.
Tennessee pounced on Kendall Wright and with the 20th pick tonight, 52nd overall, it will eye a pass-rusher.
Houston snatched Whitney Mercilus and with the 26th pick tonight, 58th overall, it will eye a receiver.
Even if things don’t unfold that way, all three of the teams will wind up addressing both receiver and pass-rusher in this draft. The Colts, too, will add in both areas.
Sensing a theme?
Three of these four franchises are run-based teams. Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster and Chris Johnson are top-flight backs, though Johnson has some bouncing back to do. Chuck Pagano is talking of the need for Indianapolis to run effectively, too.
But run-based is going the way of the dodo bird. No matter you’re pre-draft roster, no matter the philosophy in your DNA, no matter the path that’s given you some success, you must acknowledge it’s a passing league.
Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees are taking their teams deep into the playoffs and winning Super Bowls by throwing it, not by handing it off. Even if your quarterback is not of that stature, you need to mirror that approach.
You need the guy to throw it, and all the teams of the AFC South now feel they have that guy.
You need guys for him to throw it to. Enter Blackmon and Wright and maybe tight end Coby Fleener for the Colts with the second pick of the second round tonight.
You need guys to harass the guy throwing it for the other team. Enter Mercilus and another influx of rushers I expect tonight.
It’s more than a coincidence that the road into the AFC South is bringing in receivers and rushers.