AFC South: Depth check

Depth check: Tennessee Titans

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
4:11
PM ET
I’ve been pondering depth in the AFC South, and thought as we await the start of training camps we should look at what position groups compose the deep end and which compose the shallow end on each roster.

Our last look is at Tennessee...

Deepest: A case could be made for wide receiver, considering the Titans have Kenny Britt, Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, Damian Williams and Lavelle Hawkins. But with Britt’s health a concern, Wright untested and Williams and Hawkins still developing, I resist. So it’s quarterback. You need a franchise quarterback to win in the NFL, so having two may be oversold. But the Titans can win with veteran Matt Hasselbeck under center and they can win with second-year man Jake Locker. There aren’t a lot of teams with two legitimate QB options or a backup the caliber the Titans will have.

Thinnest: It’s the interior offensive line. Incumbent starting center Eugene Amano watched the team bring a parade of veteran centers through team headquarters during free agency, but come up empty. They have no great challengers to him, with Kevin Matthews at the top of the list. Leroy Harris is flipping sides to right guard and wasn’t great last season, either. The alternate option there is another unproven guy who was not drafted when he joined the team in 2008, Fernando Velasco.
I’ve been pondering depth in the AFC South, and thought as we await the start of training camps we should look at what position groups compose the deep end, and which compose the shallow end on each roster.

Next up is Jacksonville …

Deepest: It’s tempting to say linebacker, but Clint Session has to prove healthy to make it a four-pack with Russell Allen as the extra. And four isn’t that deep. So I go cornerback, where the starters might not be as good, but the team has solid options beyond its top three (Derek Cox, Rashean Mathis and Aaron Ross) in William Middleton and Kevin Rutland, and two others who got time last season showed some potential: T.J. Heath and Ashton Youboty.

Thinnest: Offensive tackle. Eugene Monroe is solid on the left side, but needs to emerge as elite. The team is counting on a big comeback from Eben Britton on the right after a season pretty much lost to a back injury. But beyond those two I don’t have much faith. They like second-year man Cameron Bradfield, who’s unproven, and they gave a new deal to veteran Guy Whimper, whose play was too inconsistent during a lot of work last season. Better protection for Blaine Gabbert is a priority. If Britton has a setback or something happens to Monroe, do they really feel like they can offer it with those guys?

Depth check: Indianapolis Colts

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
10:58
AM ET
I’ve been pondering depth in the AFC South, and thought as we await the start of training camps we should look at what position groups compose the deep end, and which compose the shallow end on each roster.

We’ll start in Indy…

Deepest: Depth is an issue all around for a rebuilding roster. It’s possible they have four legitimate options at running back with Donald Brown, Delone Carter, Mewelde Moore and rookie Vick Ballard. And I don’t know who the third tight end will be, but they sure feel good about their first two, second-rounder Coby Fleener and third-rounder Dwayne Allen.

Thinnest: They have numbers at cornerback, but beyond Jerraud Powers, we have no idea who can play. I worry about offenses working hard to get the Colts into nickel and dime, and challenging corners until they prove they can hold up. I also wonder about defensive end, where free-agent addition Cory Redding is a proven 3-4 end, but there really is no one else who’s proven himself at the spot at the NFL level. Fili Moala and Drake Nevis will have the chance to show it’s not an issue.

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