Thursday, April 25, 2013
Non-immediate needs in AFC South
By Paul Kuharsky
Over at NFC North central, Kevin Seifert wrote a nice companion piece to his podcast on hidden needs for his teams.
Look beyond the obvious needs and a smart team is also lining up successors for holes that could arrive in a year. Fans are often surprised to see those picks.
So let’s look at spots we could see the AFC South address more for 2014 than 2013.
Defensive lineman Antonio Smith and inside linebacker Brian Cushing are big priorities for contract extensions, and I don’t believe they will be looking to replace either.
Nose tackle qualifies as a need now in my eyes, but starter-to-be Earl Mitchell is heading into a contract year.
Running back Arian Foster is a long-term fixture, but Ben Tate is not under contract beyond 2013.
Tight end Owen Daniels will be around, but Garrett Graham is not signed past this season.
Guards Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks could both be starters in 2014, but Wade Smith’s deal expires.
Cornerback is a need now, but Vontae Davis can be a free agent after this season, which could recreate the need in a year.
Versatile safety Antoine Bethea is entering the final year of his deal.
The Colts could draft a running back who can contribute this year. Donald Brown isn’t a core guy and is in his final year.
Defensive tackle looks like it was addressed, but Sen'Derrick Marks only got a year deal and the only two guys who are forecast to do much that they’ll still have in 2014 are Tyson Alualu and Roy Miller.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew won’t get an extension before the end of 2013, so while Justin Forsett is in place for two years they need another back.
Receiver Kenny Britt is in a contract year, and even if he finally gets it together, the Titans may want to pay him back for the headaches he’s caused by looking elsewhere.
Safety Bernard Pollard signed only a one-year deal. The Titans should be looking to develop a fourth guy behind him, Michael Griffin and George Wilson.