AFC South: Evander Hood

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • Peria Jerry and Evander Hood are possibilities for the Colts in the first round, writes Mike Chappell.
  • No. 6 on John Oehser's list of the top 25 picks of the Bill Polian era.
  • Bringing back Matt Giordano was a good move for the Colts, writes Oehser.
  • A look at defensive end in the draft, from Oehser.
  • Polian says he is rarely surprised by what unfolds in the first round, says Colts.com.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • The Jaguars got a No. 1 receiver in Torry Holt, writes Michael C. Wright.
  • A breakdown of receivers in the draft, from Wright.
  • Vic Ketchman's mailbag from Jaguars.com.
  • Five players the Jaguars could consider at No. 8, according to Cole Pepper.

Tennessee Titans

  • Jim Wyatt reviews his Sunday talk with Vince Young.
  • A look at Percy Harvin from a Tennessee perspective, from Jim Wyatt.

Mock with an emphasis on need

April, 17, 2009
4/17/09
1:22
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

I don't want to overwhelm you with constant looks at mock drafts.

But no newspaper person in America is more draft savvy than Rick Gosselin in Dallas. His new mock focuses more on team needs, and comes with a big change at the top -- He gives Detroit former Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry.

Here's his AFC South first round:

No. 8: Jacksonville Jaguars -- Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith

My thoughts: Goose calls him the best blocker in the draft, and the Jaguars certainly could use that. But does Smith's poor preparation for the draft speak to issues they would have to deal with throughout his career?

No. 15: Houston Texans --Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo

My thoughts: With Orakpo and Antonio Smith added to the defensive line, the Texans would be a lot better up front. And that means they'd be better all around on defense.

No. 27: Indianapolis Colts -- Missouri defensive tackle Evander Hood

My thoughts: This would break with how the team has addressed the position for years. But perhaps it's time for just that.

No. 30: Tennessee Titans -- Ohio State middle linebacker James Laurinaitis

My thoughts: I mentioned him as a possibility Thursday. Gosselin must project Laurinaitis as a guy who can play outside, because the Titans don't put a premium on the guy in the middle, which is a part-time job in their defense.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Todd McShay's got a new mock draft up, so here's a look from the AFC South perspective:

No. 8: Jacksonville

Receiver Jeremy Maclin, Missouri

My thoughts: Certainly a possibility, especially if Michael Crabtree is gone as he is here. But as much as the Jaguars need a weapon for David Garrard, inserting B.J. Raji next to John Henderson could have a bigger impact.

No. 15: Houston

Outside linebacker Brian Cushing, USC

My thoughts: It's been Cushing or Clay Matthews virtually everywhere as analysts have tried to predict what the Texans will do. Which makes me think they could go a different direction. In this scenario, maybe defensive tackle Peria Jerry?

No. 27: Indianapolis

Defensive tackle Evander Hood, Missouri

My thoughts: Would make a lot of fans happy, but run counter to Bill Polian's track record at the position. If they love a remaining receiver like Hakeem Nicks, giving Peyton Manning another weapon could be the move with the first pick.

No. 30: Tennessee

Cornerback Vontae Davis, Illinois

My thoughts: What worries me here is McShay's comment about Davis' questionable work habits. But they need a corner for depth and as a starter beyond this season. Or how about James Laurinaitis if they project him as an outside linebacker?

Stuff a mock in it

April, 13, 2009
4/13/09
4:31
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

New mock drafts from the National Football Post and NFL.com. We hit the AFC South highlights for you here, but you can find West Bunting's three-round draft here, and Steve Wyche's first round here. Also included, Don Banks' mock from late last week.

Bunting, interestingly, has defensive tackles as the first three picks in the AFC South.

You can still drag and drop guys into our draft list to do your own mock.

No. 8: Jacksonville Jaguars

Bunting: Defensive tackle B.J. Raji, Boston College
Wyche: Receiver Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
Banks: Maclin

No. 15: Houston Texans

Bunting: Defensive tackle Peria Jerry, Mississippi
Wyche: Defensive end/linebacker Aaron Maybin, Penn State
Banks: Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State

No. 27: Indianapolis Colts

Bunting: Defensive tackle Evander Hood, Missouri
Wyche: Hood
Banks: Linebacker James Laurinaitis, Ohio State

No. 30: Tennessee Titans

Bunting: Cornerback Vontae Davis, Illinois
Wyche: Receiver Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina
Banks: Davis

Four rounds of Mel's mocking

April, 9, 2009
4/09/09
12:39
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Ready to go four rounds deep? Here's what Mel Kiper is saying in a new four-round mock draft posted Thursday.

I think a Texans' fan would have to be very happy if the first two picks went like this.

Jacksonville Jaguars

No. 8: Defensive end Brian Orakpo, Texas
No. 39: Wide receiver Brian Robiskie, Ohio State
No. 72: Cornerback Bradley Fletcher, Iowa
No. 107: Quarterback Rhett Bomar, San Houston State

Houston Texans

No. 15: Linebacker Brian Cushing, USC
No. 46: Defensive tackle Evander Hood, Missouri
No. 77: Cornerback Keenan Lewis, Oregon State
No. 112: Defensive end David Veikune, Hawaii
No. 122: Receiver Mike Thomas, Arizona

Indianapolis Colts

No. 27: Defensive tackle Peria Jerry, Mississippi
No. 61: Receiver Derrick Williams, Penn State
No. 92: Linebacker Jason Phillips, TCU
No. 127: Running back Javon Ringer, Michigan State
No. 136: Linebacker Jonathan Casillas, Wisconsin

Tennessee Titans

No. 30: Receiver Percy Harvin, Florida
No. 62: Cornerback D.J. Moore, Vanderbilt
No. 94: Linebacker Marcus Freeman, Ohio State
No. 130: Guard Louis Vasquez, Texas Tech
No. 135: Defensive tackle Terrance Taylor, Michigan

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Houston Texans

  • Gary Kubiak says the Texans need a boost from Amobi Okoye and Duane Brown, writes John McClain.
  • DeMeco Ryans has fired his agent, Kirk Wood, says McClain in a blog entry.
  • Links to radio interviews with linebacker prospects Clay Matthews and Clint Sintim, courtesy of Lance Zierlein.

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Maurice Jones-Drew was not at the first official workout of the Jaguars' offseason conditioning program, reports Michael C, Wright.
  • Strength coach Luke Richesson says, "If you aren't here, you're against us." Cole Pepper looks at the start of Jacksonville's conditioning program.

Tennessee Titans

On the Clock: Houston Texans

April, 1, 2009
4/01/09
11:36
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Team needs: Defensive tackle, outside linebacker, safety, running back.

 
  Chris Morrison/US PRESSWIRE
  USC linebacker Clay Matthews could fill a void for the Texans.

Dream scenario: All indications are that the Texans are expecting to address linebacker with the 15th pick in the draft. Ideally, they'd have their choice of the two USC guys projected to be selected around the middle of the first round -- Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews Jr. Matthews may be viewed as having a bit more upside as he has not reached his peak. And the Texans have inside information on him, as his uncle, Bruce Mathews, is now a part of Gary Kubiak's staff. At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Matthews would give the Texans the sort of size -- and hopefully the sort of durability -- they covet.

Plan B: Boston College's B.J. Raji will be out of range, but the Texans will have to consider a defensive tackle who can get some interior push, take some attention away from Mario Williams and help Amobi Okoye get back on track. Candidates at No. 15 might be Peria Jerry of Mississippi or Evander Hood of Missouri. A team in need of a lot of help on defense probably cannot afford to go offense, but Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells would have to be tempting to a team in need of a big back to pair with Steve Slaton.

PollCenter: On the Clock
What is the Houston Texans' biggest positional need? VOTE

Scouts Inc. take: "Houston is in a very good position for draft day. It will be tempting to add a first-round running back like Beanie Wells, but offensive line coach Alex Gibbs certainly has never needed running backs with strong pedigrees in order for his ground game to be successful. The obvious answer for Houston is to go with defense -- and I certainly would not object. Even a situational pass rusher like Aaron Maybin could yield immediate dividends, as Antonio Smith could move inside on passing downs and Maybin would line up opposite Mario Williams. Clay Mathews Jr. also makes a lot of sense. I can live with the Texans' defense at each level, especially with their ability to put points on the board on offense, but another playmaker at any level would surely be a welcome addition. One wild card to consider: Percy Harvin -- just a hunch, but wow, he could do great things with this group. If Matt Schaub can finally stay healthy, the Texans are not all that far away from becoming a contender. This draft could put them over the top." -- Matt Williamson, Scouts Inc.

Who has final say: General manager Rick Smith and coach Gary Kubiak work to find a consensus, but the Texans won't wind up with players Kubiak doesn't endorse.

Now On the Clock: New Orleans Saints, April 2.

Previous On the Clock: San Diego Chargers. The team-by-team series.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Often times mock drafters or fans (or mock drafter fans) who aren't fully aware of a team's depth chart will connect the easiest dots.

The Titans, for example, lost Albert Haynesworth, therefore a lot of people presume they automatically need a replacement defensive tackle and put them down for one at No. 30.

 
  Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
  Just because the Titans lost Albert Haynesworth through free agency doesn't mean they are dead-set on a replacement in the first round.

Except that the Titans drafted Jason Jones in the second round last year and he was impressive as a rookie, with five sacks in 13 games. They signed free agent Jovan Haye, a favorite of defensive line coach Jim Washburn. They like starter Tony Brown very much, and they like Kevin Vickerson as their biggest body -- enough so that he got a contract extension during the 2008 season.

The Titans may well be in best-player-available mode and if Evander Hood is there at their spot and they see him as a great value they could take him.

But it's hardly a foregone conclusion.

Similarly, I believe it's a mistake to cross left tackle off the list of potential picks for Jacksonville just because they signed free agent Tra Thomas. They still need a long-term solution, and if the best tackle at No. 8 is a better value to them than what's left at receiver, defensive tackle or cornerback -- or if they aren't taking a quarterback or trading the pick to someone who wants one -- they may well take a potential offensive line anchor.

The Scouts Inc. needs board looks pretty good to me, so I'd keep an eye on that. It gets adjusted based on any new developments.

Meanwhile, here's an up-to-date rundown of the primary needs, in my view, for the teams of the AFC South:

HOUSTON TEXANS

Defensive tackle: Amobi Okoye needs some help inside to be the player the Texans envisioned, and an effective tackle who demands attention will help the continued push to upgrade the line and produce more consistent pass pressure.

Defensive back: There is evidence that Jacques Reeves wasn't as bad as portrayed last year as the corner opposite Dunta Robinson once Robinson returned from injury. But competition for the second and third spots would be good to add with Reeves and Fred Bennett. And none of the top three safeties are overwhelming -- Eugene Wilson at free and Dominique Barber at strong are the starters, with Nick Ferguson as depth. The Texans should add the best overall defensive back they can find, maybe a couple.

Outside linebacker: The Texans can use a bigger, more rugged outside 'backer who can rush the quarterback and drop into coverage.

Running back: Steve Slaton was a godsend in the third round last year. Now the Texans need to find a bigger guy to take some of the carries and serve as a heavier changeup.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Defensive tackle: The Colts lost the big bodies in the middle of their line, space-eating run-stuffers Quinn Pitcock and Ed Johnson, right at the start of last season and they need to spend to get quality replacements.

Receiver: Anthony Gonzalez can become a full-time guy with Marvin Harrison gone, and he or Reggie Wayne can kick into the slot in the often featured three-wide sets. Still, a third quality wideout is a necessity, and it won't be a surprise if Bill Polian uses No. 27 to address the position.

Outside linebackers: This group needs to be replenished as two guys who've seen significant time in the last two seasons, Freddy Keiaho and Tyjuan Hagler, appear out of the picture. But the Colts restock their linebackers often through the draft and with undrafted rookies.

Running back: Was Joseph Addai banged up and suffering behind an injured line, or is he not going to be able to carry the load? The Colts like Mike Hart, who's coming off a bad injury. But they haven't re-signed Dominic Rhodes and need more.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Receiver: A perpetual need. They are down Reggie Williams, a free agent they have no interest in, and Matt Jones, who was cut after a new round of trouble. To get a true read on David Garrard, he needs real weapons on the outside.

Defensive tackle: GM Gene Smith has talked a lot about building from the inside-out and the Jaguars thrived when John Henderson and Marcus Stroud gave th
em an identity. Their plans to replace Stroud after a trade failed, and they need a better partner for Henderson that will help toughen them and could be a good influence on him.

Cornerback: Brian Williams can play opposite Rashean Mathis or he can play safety. Free-agent safety addition Sean Considine is an X factor here. But even if he's in the lineup and the Jaguars have their two starting corners, they need nickel candidates and depth badly.

Left tackle: As mentioned above, the addition of Thomas does not mean the Jaguars are done addressing this spot. Garrard needs not only better weapons but better protection and the offense is built around running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who needs consistent long-term blocking.

TENNESSEE TITANS

Receiver: They hope for big things from free-agent addition Nate Washington, but considering how long they've lacked a dynamic weapon outside, they can't have enough candidates for the role. A legitimate big-play threat can help create things for Chris Johnson, the running back who's the centerpiece of the offense.

Cornerback: Beyond starters Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper and nickel Vincent Fuller, the Titans have only unproven Cary Williams. The expectation is the Titans will draft a corner who would be in line to replace Harper in 2010 and they need the depth now after losing Eric King and Chris Carr in free agency.

Outside linebacker: Stalwart Keith Bulluck is heading into a contract year and should the Titans have trouble holding on to him or decide not to, they could use an heir in place and it's unclear if Stanford Keglar can be that guy. Better depth and a player who could be a big special-teamer will be nice to have in 2009.

Offensive tackle: Daniel Loper was a versatile swing guy who backed up both Michael Roos and David Stewart and could move inside to play guard. He went to Detroit as a free agent. Maybe Mike Otto is the new third tackle, but a versatile lineman is a need for depth.

On the Clock: Indianapolis Colts

March, 19, 2009
3/19/09
9:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

 
  Dale Zanine/US Presswire
  North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks could step in as the No. 2 receiver for the Colts.

Team needs: Defensive tackle, receiver, outside linebacker, running back

Dream scenario: The Colts have major holes to patch on defense, and they will spend a lot of picks on those spots. But team president Bill Polian is obligated to surround Peyton Manning with the best weapons possible as the quarterback comes off his third MVP season. So it would help the Colts play to their strength if a quality wide receiver is available at No. 27.

Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey will probably be gone, and while he needs polish, he would be a vertical threat who could pull attention away from Wayne or make defenses pay. At least a couple scouts think Rutgers' Kenny Britt and North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks are capable of very quickly stepping in as the second receiver, behind Reggie Wayne but ahead of slot-specialist Anthony Gonzalez. At 6-foot-3, 218, Britt would bring the sort of size Manning hasn't thrown to. Nicks has potential to be Marvin Harrison-like, although he won't be as exciting after the catch.

Plan B: Polian has said the best defensive tackles usually disappear in the first 15 picks, then don't re-emerge as a value until the latter rounds of the draft. But the guys rated as the second- and third-best defensive tackles in this draft could be around in the late 20s -- Mississippi's Peria Jerry and Missouri's Evander Hood. They both can help settle the Colts down against the run up the middle and help collapse the pocket and get to the passer.

Scouts Inc. take: "If history has taught us anything about the Colts' organization it is that Bill Polian and Co. will use first-round picks to surround Peyton Manning with plenty of skill-position talent. It is a long, illustrious list of first-rounders and that trend could continue once again this year. With Wayne, Gonzalez and Dallas Clark -- all former first-rounders -- in the fold right now, another wideout might not appear to be as high of a draft priority as defensive tackle, which is a position made up of adequate-at-best starters. But the Colts' decision-makers understand what has made them so successful throughout the Manning era and probably will continue with that strategy. While defensive tackles like Peria Jerry, Ziggy Hood and Ron Brace will be attractive to Indianapolis, do not be surprised when Britt or Brian Robiskie's name is taken to the podium for the Colts in Round 1." -- Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.

Who has final say: Polian equals personnel in Indianapolis. His scouts know what works in the Colts' schemes and the coaches he'll get input from include new head coach Jim Caldwell and new defensive coordinator Larry Coyer. But one of the league's best drafters has the final word.

Now on the clock: Baltimore Ravens, March 20.

Previous On the Clock: New York Giants. The team-by-team series.

On the Clock: Tennessee Titans

March, 17, 2009
3/17/09
9:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Team needs: Receiver, cornerback, outside linebacker, offensive tackle

 
  Charles Sonnenblick/Getty Images
  The Titans could take a wide receiver like Florida's Percy Harvin if he falls to them at No. 30.
Dream scenario: This is a team that could be poised for a first round like 2000, when Keith Bulluck fell to them at No. 30 when they weren't hunting for linebackers. The good player who falls could be their man, regardless of position.

The Titans have a long history of holding off on receivers; they have not drafted one in the first round since Kevin Dyson in 1998. But here is a draft in which they are not desperate for help at any spot, so the best-case scenario would be they are enamored with one of the receivers who could still be around at No. 30 -- Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina, Kenny Britt of Rutgers or Percy Harvin of Florida. Tennessee doesn't traditionally give rookie receivers a lot of work, and if the Titans go against tradition and pick one here, they'd likely give him the time he needs to develop while counting on Justin Gage, free-agent addition Nate Washington and second-year man Lavelle Hawkins in 2009. Whether a first-round receiver would be in line to help now or later, the goal is to threaten down the field and keep teams honest, opening some room for running back Chris Johnson.

Plan B: The Titans are run by a couple of former NFL defensive backs in GM Mike Reinfeldt and coach Jeff Fisher and are of the belief they can never have enough quality cornerbacks. Cortland Finnegan should be a fixture for years and Vincent Fuller is a solid nickel back. But Nick Harper is getting older and having a quality replacement on board for beyond 2009 would be a sound move. Prospects such as Wake Forest's Alphonso Smith, Vanderbilt's D.J. Moore and Connecticut's Darius Butler all lack height, but may be possibilities as quality cover guys.

Scouts Inc. take: "While they have long-term questions at the quarterback position, the Titans need to take a win-now approach to this draft and have to find a wideout with both short-term and long-term potential on the edge. Signing Nate Washington wasn't a bad maneuver, but they still very much lack anyone resembling a No. 1 wideout. Finding someone of that caliber will not be easy with the 30th overall selection, but a player like Rutgers' Kenny Britt or North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks would be a great addition. Losing Albert Haynesworth will not be easy to overcome, so it wouldn't be out of the question for Tennessee to look at a defensive tackle like Boston College's Ron Brace or Missouri's Ziggy Hood if a suitable wideout isn't available. The Titans' goal will be to find one top playmaker on offense and some players to contribute and compete for playing time along the defensive line, at middle linebacker and cornerback on defense."  -- Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.

Who has final say: Fisher isn't going to find himself with draft picks he didn't want, but Reinfeldt runs the draft room. 

Now on the clock: New York Giants, March 18.

Previous On the Clock: Arizona Cardinals. The team-by-team series.

Stuff a mock in it

March, 12, 2009
3/12/09
1:51
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Opened my mailbox Wednesday (the kind outside at the end of a driveway), found Albert Pujols on the cover of Sports Illustrated, flipped inside to Jim Trotter's mid-March mock draft, scanned it, and immediately had this thought:

That's a nightmare scenario for the Jaguars.

In Trotter's draft, the top two offensive tackles, the top two receivers and the top defensive tackle are all gone before the Jaguars come around at No. 8. He's got them taking Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, a player I'm hearing has sinking stock.

I'll bet the Jaguars are hoping things don't pan out like this projection.

Onward...

Here's a mock-by-mock roundup of the AFC South, with some thoughts splashed in.

The mockers in addition to Trotter: Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, Don Banks, Rob Rang, Chad Reuter, Pete Prisco and Pat Kirwan of NFL.com.

Jacksonville, No. 8

Kiper: Quarterback Mark Sanchez, USC
McShay: Receiver, Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
Trotter: Jenkins
Banks: Quarterback Mark Sanchez, USC
Rang: Quarterback Josh Freeman, Kansas State
Reuter: Offensive tackle Michael Oher, Mississippi
Prisco: Quarterback Matthew Stafford, Georgia
Kirwan: Sanchez

My thoughts: There are two ways to view a quarterback pick here (and I think Freeman would be a stretch) considering the Jaguars are just a year removed from a big contract for David Garrard. It's a smart move for new GM Gene Smith, who was not the decision-maker when that deal was made, if he's not sold on Garrard. Or it's a major white flag for an organization that was sure it had a long-term guy less than 12 months ago. Prisco's got as good a read on the Jags as anyone, so put stock in his thinking here. But boy they have other spots in which they need help. I don't think Crabtree will be there at No. 8, but he'd be hard to resist no matter who the QB is.

Houston, No. 15

Kiper: Outside linebacker Brian Cushing, USC
McShay: Defensive end Robert Ayers, Tennessee
Trotter: Cornerback Vontae Davis, Illinois
Banks: Linebacker Clay Mathews, USC
Rang: Running back Chris Wells, Ohio State
Reuter: Matthews
Prisco: Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland
Kirwan: Wells

My thoughts: Hearing more and more linebacker talk, and if Cushing or Matthews is judged the value, I'd have no beef. I think it's got to be a defender. But if Heyward-Bey is what he appeared to be at the combine, I'd ask the same question Prisco does -- could you imagine him paired with Andre Johnson?

Indianapolis, No. 27

Kiper: Defensive tackle Peria Jerry, Mississippi
McShay: Defensive tackle Evander Hood, Missouri
Trotter: Linebacker James Laurinaitis, Ohio State
Banks: Laurinaitis
Rang: Hood
Reuter: Jerry
Prisco: Hood
Kirwan: Laurinaitis

My thoughts: It's easy to give the Colts the best defensive tackle or outside linebacker left here. But I think they will have more good options to choose from at wide receiver and won't be surprised by virtually anything considering how Bill Polian goes with best player available regardless of need.

Tennessee, No. 30

Kiper: Defensive end Everette Brown, Florida State
McShay: Receiver Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina
Trotter: Defensive end Tyson Jackson, LSU
Banks: Ayers
Rang: Cornerback Darius Butler, Connecticut:
Reuter: Butler
Prisco: Laurinaitis
Kirwan: Ayers

My thoughts: Right now, cornerback is the biggest need, but one signing and the Titans won't be desperate for anything. Still, they don't value middle linebackers like a lot of other teams, so I just don't see Laurinaitis. And while they could go Ayers, Brown or Jackson if he's the best on their board, they have a pretty deep pool of defensive ends. The guy who slips and everyone wonders how he's still there, that's who I think they'll take.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Larry from parts unknown: Hey PK. You have spoken (or included links to articles, i cant remember which) about the colts needing to re-sign Dominic Rhodes. With Edge asking for his release from the Cards and the seeming lack of available places for him to go, do you think it is possible that he could return to Indy on the cheap (comparable to what it would take to bring back Rhodes)? I'm not sold at all on Mike Hart (probably because i just dont like U of Michigan. Thanks. -Larry

Paul Kuharsky: That's an interesting question. Possible, but unlikely. Rhodes is old, but Edge is older and has more wear and tear. Going and re-signing Rhodes was a kind of rare circumstance for the Colts. Never say never standard disclaimer, but a return for James seems unlikely to me. And I think they like Hart much more than you do.


Martin in SLC writes: Do the Titans even have Hayward-Bay on their radar or does the loss of Albert place more need for defense in the draft? I know they drafted Jones last year and Tony Brown had a good seaon, but knowing the Titans, I have a feeling that isn't good enough up front. Look forward to see what you think.

Paul Kuharsky: Sure, Darrius Heyward-Bey is on their radar. I think he will be gone before 30, but I think they will look closely at him, Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt.

I don't think defensive line is the concern -- I didn't think so even before they signed Jovan Haye. They've got no corners under contract beyond Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper (and nickel Vincent Fuller), so right now I see them leaning cornerback and waiting on receiver.


Dennis from parts unknown writes: couldn't the colts add two big d tackles and still be qick evrywhere else

Paul Kuharsky: How about one? They could have one real big and one bigger than the rest, but still they'd need them to be able, at least, to move quickly laterally.


Matthew in Washington, D.C., writes: Do you think that Maurice jones-Drew can handle being the main running back? I think if he gets a bit more work he can continue to be effective, but that he will benefit from being paired with another guy who's got some of the skills Taylor had...

Paul Kuharsky: I think he can. But I think they need a better guy to work with him than Greg Jones. That's two power runners. MJD benefited big-time from having a creative guy like Fred Taylor as the counter, and I think the Jaguars would benefit from attempting to pair Jones-Drew with someone Taylor-like.

(Read full post)

Talk the mock, walk the mock

February, 28, 2009
2/28/09
10:15
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

New mock drafts are in from Todd McShay, Rob Rang, CollegeFootballNews.com and Steve Silverman.

A brief break from free agency for a scan of the selections:

Jacksonville Jaguars, No. 8

McShay: Receiver Jeremy Maclin, Missouri
Rang: Tackle Michael Oher, Mississippi
CFN: Oher
Silverman: Oher

Houston Texans, No. 15

McShay: Quarterback Matt Sanchez, USC
Rang: Defensive end Brian Orakpo, Texas
CFN: Defensive end Tyson Jackson, LSU
Silverman: Cornerback Vontae Davis, Illinois

Indianapolis Colts, No. 27

McShay: Receiver Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina
Rang: Defensive tackle Evander Hood, Missouri
CFN: Nicks
Silverman: Cornerback D.J. Moore, Vanderbilt

Tennessee Titans, No. 30

McShay: Defensive end Robert Ayers, Tennessee
Rang: Defensive end Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech
CFN: Davis
Silverman: Defensive tackle Peria Jerry, Mississippi

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

And on my final day in Indianapolis, we've actually seen the sun. Left over defensive linemen are talking this morning, and then we'll see a parade of defensive backs.

The AFC South highlight of the day will be a highlight for all the assembled media and has become a final day tradition. Colts president Bill Polian will talk, offering thoughts on position strength in the draft and hitting, undoubtedly, on a variety of league issues. He'll also be asked about Marvin Harrison.

Onward, to some headlines:

Houston Texans

  • A look at the tough story of Rice tight end James Casey, from John McClain.

Indianapolis Colts

  • Jeff Saturday's agent says the Colts aren't talking contract, says Mike Chappell.
  • A decision on Marvin Harrison is looming. Chappell takes a look.
  • Not every legendary receiver spends his whole career with one team, says Chappell.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • No moves in free agency would make for a better year than last, but with all their holes the Jaguars will have to do at least a bit in free agency, says Michael C. Wright.
  • Wright's excellent list of top free agents by position.

Tennessee Titans

  • Jim Wyatt looks at risk and reward of going into the salary range Albert Haynesworth is looking for.
  • The Titans met Saturday with Haynesworth's agent, Chad Speck, and the team upped its offer, according to Wyatt.
  • David Climer asks the big question regarding Haynesworth: Why did the Titans let it come to this?
  • A look at USC linebacker Clay Matthews, nephew of Oilers/Titans legend Bruce Matthews, from Wyatt.
  • Would Evander "Ziggy" Hood be a good option for the Titans if they lose Albert Haynesworth and need to add depth at defensive tackle? Terry McCormick ponders.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

I asked Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com's senior analyst, to share his thoughts on the Tennessee Titans in the first round given these parameters -- their primary needs are wide receiver, cornerback and defensive tackle or outside linebacker.

Here's what Rang had to say in our e-mail exchange:

WR: Remains an area of need for this team, though they have refused to spend a 1st round pick on this area since Kevin Dyson... Florida's Percy Harvin makes the most sense due to his speed and agility. North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks has the body control and sneaky speed to make big plays in an offense that forces the safeties to come up against the run. Even Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey, who remains a bit of a track star in shoulder pads, could be a Bernard Berrian-like big-play threat on the outside.

CB: At this point it looks like the top three CBs -- Malcolm Jenkins, Vontae Davis, D.J. Moore -- will be long gone. The others have speed or size questions. Utah's Sean Smith could move up with a strong workout, as could two other western corners flying up the board -- Oregon's Darius Byrd and San Jose State's Coye Francies -- each offer a presence in tight man coverage that make them a nice fit in Tennessee.

DT: Evander "Ziggy" Hood is big and athletic enough to make some sense for the Titans at this point in the draft, but certainly wouldn't come close to matching the production lost if Big Albert [Haynesworth] left.

OLB: Good value late in the first round at outside linebacker... The Titans are willing to gamble on small school and intangible guys more than other teams, meaning that Northern Illinois' Larry English and USC's Clay Matthews, Jr. make some sense.

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