Friday, March 29, 2013
Eight in the Box: WR status check
By Matt Williamson
» NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South
How does each team look at wide receiver, and what still needs to be done?
Houston Texans: Work is needed here. Kevin Walter was released, and the great Andre Johnson will turn 32 in July. Everyone else from this group is highly unproven. Lestar Jean, DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin have each shown glimpses of being competent NFL wideouts, but again, they are extremely unproven. Posey is nursing an Achilles injury and will not be ready for the start of the season. Not only should the Texans consider using an early draft pick on a player such as DeAndre Hopkins or Robert Woods, two prospects who are further along in their development than most incoming rookies, but signing a proven player such as Domenik Hixon or Brandon Lloyd also would make a lot of sense.
Indianapolis Colts: Gone is Donnie Avery, and Reggie Wayne is 34. T.Y. Hilton had a very promising rookie season, and I am high on LaVon Brazill, whose role should expand in his second season. Wayne is clearly still playing at a very high level, but adding one more veteran here, preferably a guy with size and deep speed for the Colts’ heavy downfield passing attack, would be prudent. The name most linked to the Colts of late is Darrius Heyward-Bey. This would be an excellent fit. Although Heyward-Bey has never lived up to his high draft selection (and probably never will), he can help a team with his downfield abilities.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars need everything right now, so you would not think wide receiver would be high on their want list, considering Justin Blackmon’s rookie season was promising and Cecil Shorts has emerged as a starting-caliber NFL wideout. But with Laurent Robinson gone, the cupboards behind Jacksonville’s starters are quite bare. Also, Shorts’ concussion situation (he suffered two in a month and was put on injured reserve late in the 2012 season) is certainly an area of concern. But again, this team needs help all over the roster, and with no stud wide receiver in this draft, the earliest Jacksonville will add receiver help is Round 2. Fortunately for the Jaguars, this is a deep draft at the position, so adding a midround prospect along with a late free-agent signee (maybe Julian Edelman or Austin Collie) would be logical.
Tennessee Titans: Kenny Britt is a very difficult player to count on because of his off-the-field activities and difficulty staying on the field due to health. But he also is capable of being one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Kendall Wright is a keeper and could be on the verge of a breakout sophomore season. Wright’s play in 2012 was one of the most promising things about Tennessee’s season, but Nate Washington’s play wasn’t up to his usual standards. Maybe a slot guy such as Edelman or Collie would be a good fit here, or a free-agent project such as Ramses Barden, but more likely, the Titans will draft a wide receiver in the third or fourth round to come in as their fourth receiver and provide some insurance for Britt’s antics.