AFC South: David Pugh
They are easy matches for mock drafters.
Give the Colts the best defensive tackle you can find at 27. Insert the top remaining wide receiver next to the Titans' line at 30.
But presuming those picks is a mistake on both counts, unless you are banking on those teams breaking from their staunch recent histories.
Indianapolis looks to draft the best player available early on, and after a couple top interior linemen go early, team president Bill Polian said defensive tackle value doesn't usually re-emerge until the later rounds.
And the Titans, who once passed on Randy Moss, haven't touched a receiver in the first round since they took Kevin Dyson ahead of Moss in 1998, giving off a vibe since that it's just too unpredictable a position to value so highly.
|Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images|
|The Colts would be bucking a trend by picking Ole Miss DT Peria Jerry in the first round.|
Indianapolis suffered on the interior defensive line last season, not because it had planned poorly, but because of two surprises: Quinn Pitcock, a fourth rounder out of Ohio State in 2007, decided to quit football before training camp last year. Ed Johnson, who'd been an impact player as an undrafted free agent in 2007, was on a zero tolerance policy, got in some trouble after one game in 2008 and was let go.
The Colts will add multiple interior linemen between now and training camp, but they will likely come with a pick or two later in the draft, and inevitably, with a potential diamond in the rough they don't even need to spend a pick on. Besides Pitcock, Polian hasn't drafted a defensive tackle since 2002, when Larry Triplett was a second rounder and David Pugh a sixth rounder. In 11 years, Polian's drafted five players at the position, only Triplett higher than the fourth round.
"I've always approached the draft as take the best player no matter what the position is," Polian said. "Don't worry about filling a need, you can do that later in the draft. Take the best player in the first two rounds, whoever he is."
So it's fair to say through much of his tenure he hasn't seen a lot of defensive tackles of value available with his highest picks?
"Yeah, that's probably correct," he said. "They go in the first 15 usually, then you see them resurface in the latter rounds -- five, six, seven."