AFC South: Danierl Loper
Young talent at offensive tackle is a commodity and a necessity.
Via The Sporting News, RealScouts put together this list of the 20 top tackles.
I think Titans right tackle David Stewart, a mauler who gets under defensive linemen's skin, is a glaring omission.
This seems like a good time for a look at each team's status at tackle:
Houston -- Duane Brown didn't play full games as a rookie last year as his coaches rotated Ephraim Salaam in to ease his workload. Salaam is gone, and Brown needs to show he can handle a full load. Winston is a very good player who earned a contract extension. Rashad Butler ranks as the backup. He was a third-rounder for Carolina in 2006.
Indianapolis -- Tony Ugoh remains a source of debate at left tackle. Will he prove tougher in his third year? How will he do without retired position coach Howard Mudd in his ear? Veteran Ryan Diem mans right tackle and is steadier. Dan Federkeil backed up both last year though it was the versatile Charlie Johnson who played four games for Ugoh when he was hurt and even after he appeared healthy.
Jacksonville -- The Jaguars are revamping at the spot and spent their top two picks on Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. Britton could wind up playing guard early on, depending on how the Jaguars sort things out. But with those two, and the addition of veteran Tra Thomas, they should be far better off than they were a year ago when Khalif Barnes was the starter on the left side. Tony Pashos, the incumbent right tackle, will have to play well to hold on to his spot.
Tennessee -- The Titans are set with Roos, an All-Pro, and Stewart. But their biggest personnel question on offense could be who backs those two up. Daniel Loper was an excellent utility part who could play outside or guard, but he left for Detroit as a free agent. Now the Titans hope Mike Otto, a 2007 seventh-rounder, or fourth-round rookie Troy Kropog can step forward and provide security. A late veteran addition with experience is a possibility.