AFC South: C.O. Brocato

Reading the coverage ...

Houston Texans

It’s time for the Texans to become one of the big boys in the NFL, and signing Nnamdi Asomugha would do just that, says Jerome Solomon. I think they should pursue the cornerback hard, but I am wary of the team and the town thinking that if he goes to Houston, the Texans have made it.

Less contact is a good thing as far as Richard Justice is concerned.

Indianapolis Colts

Finally we can think about action on the field again, writes Bob Kravitz. A very interesting point here: Kravitz says the Colts win with the limit on bonuses for undrafted rookies. Even more will head to Indy, where they know they will have a big chance to make it.

As I wrote last night, Peyton Manning’s deal can’t break the bank, according to Jim Irsay. Here’s Mike Chappell’s story on it.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars will be looking to add about 30 players, says Tania Ganguli. Only two of their seven unrestricted free agents still have name plates in the locker room: Kirk Morrison and Adam Podlesh.

Jacksonville’s got about $35 million to spend, says Ganguli.

It’s go time for the team’s ticket campaign, says Vito Stellino.

Jack Del Rio has concerns about his players’ conditioning, says Ganguli.

Tennessee Titans

Amid the frenzy, the Titans will have to move Vince Young by Friday to avoid his roster bonus, says Jim Wyatt.

Jake Locker is in Nashville and ready to go, says Wyatt.

Player workouts at Father Ryan High School are finally over as they return to the Titans’ facility today, says John Glennon.

The Titans made some front-office moves, says Glennon. Highly respected, long-time scout C.O. Brocato has shifted to a consultant role.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE -- A while back, a reader asked about whether the high salaries attached to the earliest picks of the draft had altered the draft value charts around the league. Teams use such charts, which assign a point value to every pick, to weigh and balance trades. GMs and coaches like to talk about how theirs are different, but the general construct is similar.

I asked Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt this week if he's got a new chart and if he thought most teams had altered theirs.

"Some of the trade charts have changed addressing the trade value of those top picks and it has gone down," he said. "What those picks were, it's not that way anymore. I think it's there is a burden associated with having those top 10 picks.

"...But you have two sets of charts -- depending on which way you're going, up or down, you pull out the appropriate one," he added as we laughed.

The early phone check-ins are usually 50-50 with teams talking about expecting to look to move up or back, Reinfeldt said. This time more people are talking about moving back.

Here are a few highlights from the Titans' pre-draft news conference Thursday:

  • National supervisor of college scouting C.O. Brocato said USC linebacker Rey Maualuga can play inside or outside, and he thinks his college teammate Brian Cushing, an outside backer by trade, can play inside. He said he views the third USC linebacker, Clay Matthews, as strictly an outside guy.
  • Brocato likes the crop of linebackers and tight ends but said running backs have fallen off.
  • Scouting coordinator Blake Beddingfield said there "is a value on every player" and that the Titans hadn't taken anyone off the board. But he joined the laughter when asked if Florida receiver Percy Harvin was a seventh-rounder on the Titans' board.
  • I believe the Titans will steer clear of Harvin because of the issues surrounding him. But director of college scouting for the Eastern region Mike Ackerley said Harvin is "the most explosive player in this draft by far," that he has no doubt Harvin can run routes and be a top receiver who can also work as a return man and that "he can play wherever he wants."
  • Reinfeldt said a number of receivers have grades that would make them worthy of the 30th pick, and such grades mean those players should be able to be productive early.
  • Weight gained by Hakeem Nicks after the combine was not a concern, Ackerley said. So much of a premium is put on 40 times at the combine, everyone drops weight for that, then gets bigger and stronger by the time pro days arrive.
  • Malcolm Jenkins, Vontae Davis and Alphonso Smith have separated themselves into the first tier of corners, but there is not that much space between them and the next group, Ackerley said.
  • Reinfeldt was coy when asked questions that were clearly aimed at getting him to show if the Titans have any real interest in trading for Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards. He said at some point the Titans would like to add a veteran receiver to the mix, which made it sound like it wasn't going to be a top name. He mentioned that after the draft some veterans would shake free. Asked if the team has to have another veteran wideout, he said: "It would be nice; I don't think it's a necessity."
  • Brocato gave a rave review of Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman. "He's got everything you want for a quarterback," he said.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Legendary Titans scout C.O. Brocato wasn't quite himself for the last few drafts, when health issues slowed him down and sapped some of the energy that made him a feisty advocate or critic of players.

He is heading toward his 35th season with the franchise and will turn 80 on Halloween -- and now he carries the title of national supervisor of college scouting. As such, he cross-checks every prospect west of the Mississippi.

At the 2006 scouting combine in Indianapolis, trouble with his artificial hip landed him in the hospital and he's dealt with other health issues in recent years.

But he's feeling more like himself now, according to general manager Mike Reinfeldt, who said it's a good thing for the organization to have the veteran scout's energy back in meetings. The Titans just finished setting their draft board Tuesday afternoon and will spend the rest of the week revising it.

Here's Reinfeldt on Brocato:

"He's got his verve back a little bit, he's got his swagger back, he's back to the old C.O. I think he did a heck of a job the last couple years, but he did have some health issues that he fought through, and he's kind of got his energy back. He's always had the passion, but now he's got the energy and the stamina to go with it."

"I think it's a big thing -- there are a lot of conversations with the scouts, a lot of interaction with the players and I think the experience and overall knowledge he brings, are important, the with the different resources he has and all the players that he's seen. I think he brings a great ability to bring the group together, too."

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Pre-draft press conferences can be some of the most awkward around the NFL.

Teams like GMs and/or coaches to provide some fodder for reporters, and we want to hear from them. But their objective at the podium or table is typically to offer little real information or even to put a last bit of misdirection in the air.

The Jaguars just wrapped up their pre-draft press conference Tuesday afternoon, and we expect to be able to get a taste of what general manager Gene Smith, coach Jack Del Rio and director of player personnel Terry McDonough had to say later on.

Here's when you can expect to hear from the rest of the division:

  • Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith will talk Wednesday at 2:30 ET, and you can see it live at houstontexans.com.
  • Tennessee Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt, national supervisor of college scouting C.O. Brocato, director of college scouting Mike Ackerley and scouting coordinator Blake Beddingfield will talk Thursday at 2 p.m. ET.
  • Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian will talk with local press at 2 ET Friday.

We'll do our best to sort through those press conferences and hit any highlights.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Longtime Oilers and Titans scout C.O. Brocato is recovering in Texas from serious stomach problems that cropped up after he had three vertebra fused on May 27. But he said he expects to be in Nashville to watch training camp on schedule in the first week of August.

"I guess I pick up every bug that comes around in the hospital," he joked, referring back to a staph infection he dealt with in 2007 after surgery on his left hip. "I got the bug and it went in my stomach and it just ate me up."

The problems landed him back in the hospital where doctors discovered the infection and put him on a course of medicine including two new antibiotics.

"It's beginning to clear up a little bit now, so I am doing OK," he said. "I'm getting to where I walk around the house and everything now. It's not bad."

Brocato, 78, is hugely popular among other scouts and with college programs around the country, particularly in Big 12 country. At significant workouts that draw crowds, his colleagues typically defer to his stopwatch time when players run the 40.

This season will be his 34th with the franchise. Under Mike Reinfeldt, who took over as general manager in 2007, Brocato is national supervisor of college scouting and cross checks all prospects west of the Mississippi.

He's eating anything he wants, though keeping it light, and he was instructed to scrap his walker and use a cane.

Brocato said it's the right time of year for a scout to be sidelined and looks forward to getting into his usual routine as training camp and the college season approach.

In April of 2005 I asked Floyd Reese, then the Titans GM, what he instantly knew about a player if Brocato liked him.

"When C.O. likes a guy, I know a couple of things," said Reese, who now works at ESPN. "I know he's going to be tough. I know he is going to play his (butt) off. Now is he necessarily going to be blessed? Maybe not. Is he going to come out and run a 4.4 and be a big pretty gazelle? Maybe not.

"But I know those two things are for sure."

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