AFC South: Jeremy Maclin
The Titans tight end said he was embarrassed after the Jaguars won 29-27 in Nashville on Nov. 10 to pick up their first victory. Since then, the Jaguars are 3-2 with victories over Houston (twice) and Cleveland. The Titans are 1-4 with a victory over Oakland.
There seems to be much more stability in Jacksonville, too, because of the uncertain status surrounding Tennessee coach Mike Munchak.
Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco and Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky break down Sunday’s matchup at EverBank Field.
DiRocco: Some Titans players were pretty vocal about being embarrassed due to becoming the first team to lose to the Jaguars. Is that something that still stings, and how have they rebounded from that loss?
Kuharsky: It definitely left a mark. They are only 1-4 since then. It kind of set a bar for how bad they can be and re-established their propensity to lose to teams that are really struggling. The Jaguars are on an upswing since that game, and the Titans are on a downward spiral. If Tennessee losses to the Jaguars again, the Titans will be in line to finish in third place in an awful division, which is well short of their goals and expectations. The Titans are a better team than they were last year. But losing closer isn’t a really big difference in the really big picture.
Let’s turn that around. How has life changed for the Jaguars since that Nov. 10 breakthrough?
DiRocco: I could go into a lot of stats that show how much better the Jaguars are playing, but that's not what's really important. The past six games have been more about the validation of the process, establishing the foundation of the franchise's rebuild, and confidence in the new regime. Coach Gus Bradley never wavered from the plan that he and general manager David Caldwell established. His message stayed the same throughout the eight-game losing streak to start the season: trust in the process, work hard, and focus on improving and not victories, and the victories will eventually come. Because that has happened, the players appear to have completely bought into what Bradley and Caldwell want to do, and there's a confidence in the locker room that the franchise is headed in the right direction.
We talked about Jake Locker the last time these teams met, but that was before he suffered a season-ending injury to his foot. How does that change the Titans' outlook on him and are they in the market for a quarterback in the offseason, too?
Kuharsky: Locker is certain to be on the 2014 Titans. His fourth year isn’t that costly and it’s guaranteed. But they can’t execute a spring option for his fifth year that would line him up for over $13 million. A lot of his fate depends on whether Munchak is back as the head coach. It’s possible they go forward with Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick and just-signed Tyler Wilson as their quarterbacks. It’s also possible they’d draft a new guy, and depending on how high of a pick he could land in competition to start. I think it’s less likely they chase a free agent like Jay Cutler if he comes free, but they have to assess all the possibilities. How can they completely commit to Locker based on his injury history?
One side effect of the Jaguars' surge is they aren’t going to be in position to draft the first quarterback taken. What’s your sense of what Bradley and Caldwell want in a quarterback and do you expect one to arrive in the first round?
DiRocco: Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said something interesting last week. He said he wants his QB to scramble around, take off running to get yards and take some chances throwing the football. To me, that sounds like a pretty accurate description of Johnny Manziel. I'm not sure how that reconciles with the ideas of his bosses. Bradley comes from Seattle, which has the mobile Russell Wilson. Caldwell comes from Atlanta, which has the considerably less mobile Matt Ryan. My sense is that Bradley and Caldwell probably lean more toward the Wilson end of the spectrum. People think that eliminates Teddy Bridgewater, but that's not the case. He's not a runner but he can run if needed. If he's around, I'd expect them to take him. If not, then I would still expect them to go quarterback. It's their most glaring need.
You mentioned Munchak's job status. What's your take on whether he will be back next season -- and should he be?
Kuharsky: He’s shepherded improvement, but his team lacks an ability to finish. He’s 0-4 in the worst division in football, 1-9 in the past two years. His teams have lost to the previously winless Jags in 2013 and the previously winless Colts in 2011. He’s 4-18 against teams with winning records when the Titans played them and 2-19 against teams that finished the season with a winning record. To me, three years is a sufficient sample size to know what you’ve got and those numbers are the most telling thing on his resume. Keep him and they deal with all the limitations connected to a lame duck coach. I don’t know what Tommy Smith, the head of the new ownership, will do. But the fan base overwhelmingly wants change, if that’s worth anything. People still pay for tickets because they’ve got investments in personal seat licenses they do not want to throw away. But a lot of people are staying home on Sundays now.
Cecil Shorts is done and Maurice Jones-Drew is uncertain. How can the Jaguars threaten on offense without their two best weapons?
DiRocco: They were able to put up 20 points and post their second-highest yardage total of the season, including a season-high 159 rushing, in last Sunday's loss to Buffalo. Running back Jordan Todman stepped up big time and ran for 109 yards (Jones-Drew cracked 100 only once in the first 13 games) and tight end Marcedes Lewis was more involved in the passing game than in previous weeks (four catches for 54 yards and a touchdown). But I'm not sure that is sustainable. Teams will certainly concentrate on stopping Lewis and make quarterback Chad Henne move the ball with three receivers who have a combined 75 career catches. Todman doesn't scare anyone, either. The Jaguars will have to be creative on offense (they've run gadget plays the past three weeks) and capitalize on every opportunity they get.
Kendall Wright was the sort of receiver the Titans were still missing as they look to become a more modern offense.
I like the additions for the Jaguars and the Titans, and at this point I’d certainly expect both guys to have good careers.
But I think early expectations for the two are unreasonably high.
Blackmon, still unsigned, is unlikely to pop in, learn the offense and make a bunch of plays for Blaine Gabbert on Sept. 9 at Minnesota.
Wright, just signed, is unlikely to take Kenny Britt's place if Britt isn’t ready or is suspended for the Titans Sept. 9 game against New England and produce like Britt could.
A.J. Green's 1,000-yard rookie year last season was the first for a receiver since Michael Clayton's for Tampa Bay in 2004.
Julio Jones made a big debut too, falling just 41 yards short of 1,000.
But receiver isn’t a spot where even highly-rated rookies generally get plugged in and make monstrous, immediate impacts. Maybe Green and Jones signified some sort of switch. But at this point I’m still inclined to see them as the exceptions rather than rewriters of the rule.
Per Keith Hawkins of ESPN Stats and Info, 16 first-round receivers who played as rookies in the last five years have averaged 44 catches, 615 yards and 3.8 touchdowns. That’s nice production from Green, Jones, Jonathan Baldwin, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, Britt, Calvin Johnson, Ted Ginn, Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis and Anthony Gonzalez -- but hardly phenomenal.
That’s as many catches as Mike Thomas had for the 2011 Jaguars.
It’s not far off the stat line of 2010 third-rounder Damian Williams for the 2011 Titans -- 45 catches, 592 yards and five TDs.
Can Blackmon and or Wright be impactful players for their teams this year?
It probably depends on your definition of impactful.
Comparably valued players have provided roughly three catches for 38 yards with a score once every four games in their first year in the league.
Certainly it’s possible Blackmon and Wright do more. Are they going to be Week 1 fantasy football MVPs because of the monster numbers they put up early?
If I was making a bet, it wouldn’t be on yes.
The Eagles had a 2-point third-quarter lead but weren’t doing much at all to move the ball.
Thanks to a couple of penalties and a tackle for a loss by Jacob Lacey, the Colts' defense got the Eagles into a second-and-26 at the Philadelphia 28-yard line. But Michael Vick chopped it to a third-and-4 at midfield with a-22 yard pass to Jeremy Maclin.
On that play, Vick faked a handoff and made a deep drop a bit to his left. With great protection, he threw a dart to Maclin, over Gary Brackett and in front of Lacey. Maclin had settled in some open territory, then slid a bit toward the sideline and caught the ball at the numbers.
The Eagles converted the third down with a 32-yard scramble by Vick.
They went on to finish a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard Vick push up the middle. That gave Philadelphia a 26-17 lead in the early fourth quarter and provided the winning margin in a 26-24 decision.
- On Kerry Collins' poorly thrown interception, he patted the ball several times and managed a pump fake before trying to find Nate Washington. Quintin Mikell got in front of Washington to make the play. Washington had a chance to turn into a defender, either getting in Mikell’s way, batting it down or wrestling it from him as he collected it.
- On the Eagles' trick play, Jeremy Maclin took the snap, gave it to LeSean McCoy and McCoy got the ball to Kevin Kolb who was wide left. Kolb was late throwing deep left and the throw was into a stiff wind. But Chris Hope stood and waited on the ball as if he were fielding a punt, completely unaware that Riley Cooper was still very much alive in the play. Cooper came in from Hope’s right, cut in front of him and pulled in a 37-yard reception that set up a touchdown.
On offense or defense, players like Washington and Hope (who made a nice play a bit later to break up a deep ball for Maclin) need to be more aware of where they are and who’s around them.
I expect a good second half and a close finish. Another miscalculation or two on balls in the air could spell doom for Tennessee.
- Luke McCown made some big throws as he completed 11 of 15 for 244 yards and three touchdowns -- a 73-yard touchdown to Troy Williamson, a 55-yaerder to Tiquan Underwood and a 30-yarder to John Matthews. It was good for a near-perfect 154.9 passer rating. But it wasn’t against the Eagles starters, and out of one game it shouldn’t fuel a quarterback debate.
- Scoring defense by the frontliners. While Philly had huge advantages in yardage and time of possession with its starting offense, it managed only six points with them.
- Deji Karim had a 68-yard kickoff return. More importantly, on his first couple against better players in coverage, he looked poised and got the Jags reasonably good field position.
- Two take-aways.
- Fourteen total rushing yards.
- Six penalties for 121 yards.
- Derek Cox flailing on a couple tackle attempts, including one on DeSean Jackson’s end-around.
- Philly quarterback Kevin Kolb finding enough time to allow Jackson and Jeremy Maclin to break free. The rush was without Aaron Kampman, Tyson Alualu and Austen Lane, who did not play. But still, Joe Cullen surely would have liked to see more from his rush men early.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Receivers Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin may wind up being NFL superstars. But from the day he got the job, Jaguars GM Gene Smith has talked about building from the inside out.
History suggests the Jaguars are a lot less likely to miss on offensive tackle Eugene Monroe than they would have been choosing a receiver, and surely their recent history of first-round failure at wideout was an influence.
Monroe doesn't have to be Jacksonville's left tackle on opening day Sept. 13 at Indianapolis. They signed veteran Tra Thomas as a buffer. Perhaps this puts incumbent right tackle Tony Pashos on notice. If Monroe is good in the preseason, might the Jaguars start him out on the right as he gets his NFL bearings, with plans to flip him to the other side in a year or two?
The Jaguars need to protect David Garrard better and give him better weapons to throw to. Without the time someone like Monroe can help give him, the people running the routes may not matter as much.
Jacksonville can sell this as a substance-over-style move.
And if the receiver market continues to be slower than anticipated, perhaps they still land a top-flight prospect with the seventh pick of the second round, 39th overall.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Greg in Chicago writes: Been a while since I read the blog. In re: Young, Cutler, etc... congratulations. You join every generation before yours in believing that those younger than you feel entitled.
Paul Kuharsky: Point taken. I just turned 40 and find myself saying, "Kids today..." too often. Nevertheless, I stand by the opinion. Jay Cutler, Vince Young and Matt Leinart don't strike me as guys who came into the league hell-bent on earning their way and proving their worth with hard work.
Garrison in Indianapolis writes: If Edge gets released in Arizona, any chance the Colts bring him back? Given Addai's ineffectiveness since halftime of the '07 Patriots game, Edge would probably feel like he could have the chance to start or heavily contribute in a backfield committee a la Rhodes and Addai in '06. He still maintains friendships with a lot of the players on the team and his relationship with management is nice enough that he has a Colts Super Bowl ring.
Paul Kuharsky: Possible if he'd do it for cheap. His friendships with other players on the team are irrelevant in this scenario. And if the Colts draft a back, I think they'll probably consider the position addressed. Bill Polian indicated Friday he likes the crop he already has.
Kobe in Newport writes: will the jaguars still pursue michael crabtree or jeremy maclin? or will they go after sanchez? I think that getting crabtree or maclin opens up all of the options for garrard and mo-jo. That would make the offense explosive and the defense has plenty of holes but it also has playmakers. Can you give me a prediction of the jags this coming year if they get maclin or crabtree?
Paul Kuharsky: The pick could be Crabtree or Maclin if they are there. I don't see them taking Sanchez, I see them trying to trade the spot to someone who wants Sanchez.
I still think they'd be the last-place team in the division. They have a lot of issues beyond receiver and it'll be hard to address them all with one draft.
Tobin in Denver writes: Reading through the blog mock draft, and I am shocked you would make the statement that Clay Matthews is a high-character athlete. This is the same Clay Matthews that created the group, "White Nation," which featured a graphic with the caption, "arrest black babies before they become criminals" on Facebook as a junior at USC. Whether a joke or not, this is not high-character and can not be brushed aside as being a stupid college kid not knowing the extent of his actions. I can't believe every sports media outlet disregards this fact. I hope some of his new non-white teammates give him a proper welcome to the NFL.
Paul Kuharsky: A fair point for sure and I should have been more careful with my wording there. I do believe, however, that Matthews is regarded by most scouts and teams as a good-character guy who did something very stupid, not as a guy with an incident in his past that suggests a future filled with more of them.
Brian in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: Would love your opinion on the new threads. To me the home jeresey looks a lot like the Eagles and the limited teal in the away is a bit confusing as Teal is supposed to be the primary. The biggest point of contention is the lack of gold in the uniform yet the logo uses it for shadow effect. I do think they look sleeker but as someone who thinks the Colts have a timeless look it is hard to fully grasp the think stripes over the thick ones.
Paul Kuharsky: I think simpler is better so I like what they've done and I don't mind the disappearance of the gold. I like the predictable home and away setup for a team without a lot of history or identity. I agree with you about the absence of teal in the road uniforms.
The pictures I've seen of the helmets haven't given me a true sense, I don't think. I worry the sparkle may make them look like the hoods of some of those Camaros from the early 80s. Look forward to seeing them in person at some OTAs in June.
Tom from Tempe, Ariz., writes: Would the jaguars have any interest in trading for a veteran like boldin? his physical style of play would do well for their offensive mindset, and as alot of people question his ability to separate from top level corners and double coverage, wouldn't the huge focus on the running game open him up alot? ... or does this scenario seem really unlikely - if they could even convince arizona to give him up.
Paul Kuharsky: No. The Jaguars are looking to stockpile picks, not deal them. If they trade two for Boldin, they've addressed wide receiver and killed their chances to effectively address a bunch of other spots like offensive line, defensive tackle and defensive back.
Andrew from parts unknown writes: With the draft this Saturday everyone is trying to fill holes left in their lineup. Who are the free agents which might fill some holes in the AFC south (especially my Texans)if the draft doesn't play out they want? I don't think this in particular would necessarily be good, but something like adding Rodney Harrison to the team to teach the young guys how to play better, add depth at a weak point and teach the team how to win when it is expected to (like against Oakland last year).
Paul Kuharsky: There are no major answers out there -- more role players, pieces and projects. Now some guys can get released after teams draft their replacements. Harrison to Houston could be intriguing, but I think they want to be younger.
But I don't believe in bringing in veterans with the objective of having them mentor. Mentoring is a nice additional bonus if they can play, but they have to be able to play. There are coaches in place to coach.
Zach in Blacksburg, Va., writes: I cannot fathom why David "Deacon" Jones is not on the list. He is arguably one of the greatest defensive ends in football history. He was drafted in the 16th round in the 14th round. Like Jerry Rice, who tops the list, he went to Mississippi Valley State (for one year). Anyone that makes an NFL team from this school is of hidden and/or underrated value. Jones not only made the LA Rams team; he made the LA Rams into a team. He is one of their greatest players of all time. As an end, he redefined the position and even contributed to football vocabulary with the term: sack. All in all, the list is good and helps show that the draft isn't over after the first round, and in the case of guys like
Jeff Saturday, the entire draft.
Paul Kuharsky: Zach is referring to this post about ESPN Stats & Information's list of the top draft values of all-time, and I chose his note to be representative of all the complaints I've gotten.
It's not a subjective list where we said "yes, yes, no, no" as we listed guys. It was the product of a specific formula created by ESPN Stats & Information -- which is thoroughly described in a box in the middle of the blog post. Based on thos criteria, the guys who didn't make the list didn't score higher than those who did.
Ben in Nashville writes: Paul, with the Falcons trading for Tony G. its beginning to look as if Brandon Pettigrew could possibly be around at 30. With Scaife being seemingly unhappy with his contract, would it not be smart to draft Pettigrew and possibly trade Scaife for a 2-4 round pick (not sure of his value)? The kid from Cal that they drafted last year seems to have limited upside and really is just another OL. Pettigrew seems to be a perfect fit for what the Titans do and is a top 15 talent in my opinion.
Paul Kuharsky: I don't think he's there at 30 -- and I agree with a recent post by NFC East mogul Matt Mosley that Philly should take him, not a running back.
If he is still on the board, it would not surprise me at all if the Titans took him.
They could carry Pettigrew, Scaife, Crumpler and Stevens this year without much issue, and be set for 2010 without Crumpler and Scaife. Or maybe they'd decide Crumpler is done in camp. Scaife is not under contract now, so he's untradeable. And once he signs the franchise deal, he's getting nearly $5 million, which people won't be anxious to trade for.
Harry in Nashville writes: Hey Paul, sorry I just missed you on the chat. Had a few questions for you though. Did VY seal his fate by making the comments about "just collecting his checks" earlier this week? Is it out of the realm of possibility that the Titans would draft a qb this year for the practice squad? Did Pacman end the chances of Percy Harvin becoming a Titan? If you were the GM would you take a CB, DE, or LB with the 1st pick?
Paul Kuharsky: Young's fate will be sealed by how he plays and acts, not by what he says in an interview.
You can't draft someone for the practice squad, anyone in the league could sign him away for his 53-man roster at any time.
If I'm the GM, I wait and see what's there. In the bloggers' mock I took Alphonso Smith.
If they don't fear Harvin -- and I believe they do -- they should.
What I think they are thinking inside the headquarters of the four AFC South teams on the eve of the draft:
Those writers, columnists, analysts and bloggers are clowns. They have no idea what we're going to do or who we like. But pass the clips packet around, we want to see what they have to say anyway, just for giggles.
A lot of speculation says we'll go linebacker at No. 15 and we could. But if the right defensive end or cornerback is there, we could go that way too. We could cause a riot if we go offense first. We'll tip the Houston authorities if we're going that direction.
We'd sure like to bump back to get extra picks -- the more candidates we have for jobs and roster spots, particularly for a defense with a new coordinator, the better.
Those writers, columnists, analysts and bloggers are fools. They have no idea what we're going to do or who we like. We don't even have the time to read that stuff for laughs, though we might squeeze in a second here and there for the ones about our great first-round hit rate.
We're not constructed like the majority of teams in the league. They don't have our quarterback to build around and protect, our linebackers aren't big enough for them, and our corners might not excel at the man coverage they like to play. Those factors enhance the chances that -- early, middle and late in this draft -- players we really like for what we do will be available to us.
All we've got to do is wait to go on the clock and snatch them up. Then we'll find a few more as undrafted free agents.
Those writers, columnists, analysts and bloggers are jokers. They have no idea what we're going to do or who we like. But it's nice to see us at the center off all this speculation, and we hope they saw the new uniforms and understand how the fresh start in look will extend from our threads to our roster.
Has Mark Sanchez gotten so hot that someone will have to trade over us at No. 8 to go get him? Bummer. That's unfortunate, but we will still benefit. If someone goes ahead of us for him, that means one more player we might covet -- Michael Crabtree? Jeremy Maclin? B.J. Raji? One of the top offensive tackles? -- will be pushed back and still on the board when our turn comes.
It's the first draft for GM Gene Smith and it is important to make a good first impression here.
Those writers, columnists, analysts and bloggers are windbags. They have no idea what we're going to do or who we like. (One former player turned radio host said he'd jump off a bridge in downtown Nashville if we took a center with that first pick. Let's nudge up those grades on Alex Mack, Eric Wood and Max Unger, boys.)
With no glaring need, we've got a heck of a deal here. Our hope is the teams picking 16-29 all don't value the guy we have rated 16th very highly, or keep finding someone they like a bit better. Then our choice is simple and we just haul in a great player who will eventually be a fixture for us.
Later, we'll make a couple deals to move up a bit to ensure we get a couple people we really see as fits. We can't trade our four compensatory selections, but 10 picks aren't making this roster, even to upgrade the back end.
Jon in silver spring writes: Paul, love the blog...have a question about the Texans draft needs. Im an old school Houston guy, and have been watching this team since they been in existence and one MAJOR aspect thats lacking is secondary...yet all i hear is them picking another LB or DL...when Malcolm Jenkins is out there, the guy from Mizzou is out there...what gives? Thanks.
Paul Kuharsky: I think it's that the linebackers are perceived to be more worth the 15th pick than the corners -- this corner class is getting middling reviews. I agree it's a need, especially when there is no guarantee of Dunta Robinson beyond this year. And they could well take a corner at No. 15. Really, it's too bad there is no first-round caliber safety. That would be a real solution, but this draft doesn't appear to have one. "The guy from Mizzou," I presume, is safety William Moore. He's rated as a second- or third-rounder and they could go for him there.
Chris Kirk from parts unknown writes: I've been waiting to see what you had to say about Rhodes leaving for Buffalo but I decided to go ahead and e-mail you for your thoughts. This move has to move Running Back up on the list of the Colts priorities to address in the draft right? I'm as big an Addai-hater as you'll find among Colts fans so I've been hoping for them to address that position anyway. That being said I could have seen Polian standing pat(no matter how much I disagree) since between Rhodes, Addai, and Ball/Simpson we would have had a nice mix of youth and vets in our Running Back corps. Looking back at most of the Addai apologists from your column about replacing a Colt a lot of them brought up Rhodes potential presence in a two-back system as a reason to expect better production from Addai. With Rhodes gone our already anemic run game just went on life support leaving us with one barely proven runner. With a number of mock drafts having Wells and /or Moreno available at twenty-seven and two Receivers already on the roster good enough to start for most teams how can the Colts possibly put Receiver as a higher priority than Running Back?
Paul Kuharsky: I don't think they are crestfallen that Rhodes is off the market, but I think they would have loved to have retained the option of coming back to him after the draft as a low cost guy for sure. This is one of the toughest questions of the offseason -- how much was Joseph Addai responsible for the Colts' run struggles, how much was on the line and how much was it that both were banged up?
I think a third receiver still ranks as at least as big of a need as a second running back, if they still see Addai as the lead guy -- and I expect they do. Look at it this way -- in which situation would you be more confident:
A) Addai goes down and they have to make do with Mike Hart, Lance Ball, Chad Simpson, mid- to low-draft pick or undrafted rookie.
B) Reggie Wayne or Anthony Gonzalez goes down and they have to rely on Roy Hall, Pierre Garcon, mid- to low- draft pick or undrafted rookie.
I think they survive A better than B, which leads me to conclude they spend a value pick on a receiver over a back. Also I think this is a much better draft for receivers than backs and there will be more attractive wideouts at 27 than runnning backs..
Hey, we could see receiver and running back as two of the first three. Bill Polian may think he can fix defensive tackle and linebacker with less than premium picks.
Give the Jacksonville Jaguars some credit. Though they've not been big players in free agency, they have made a couple moves that alleviate the pressure on them to absolutely spend a high pick on certain spots.
|Torry Holt signs a three-year contract with the Jaguars.|
It can be worth as much as $20 million and comes with no bonus but a $4 million guaranteed base salary this season.
The Jaguars could still pounce on Michael Crabtree or Jeremy Maclin at No. 8 in the first round Saturday. After Holt, Dennis Northcutt, Mike Walker and Troy Williamson are the team's receivers and that's hardly an all-star collection.
But by signing Tra Thomas earlier this offseason, they eased the pressure to find a tackle. And by signing Holt they've eased the pressure to find a receiver.
They will still, certainly, address those spots, but if they don't do so immediately, that will be OK.
Which may make Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji the best possible option for them in the first round if he lasts until No. 8.
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?
How reporters who cover the teams that play the Texans are looking at matchups against Houston, from Alan Burge.
Marlin Jackson's recovery from a knee injury is going well, writes Mike Chappell.
Chappell takes some questions.
No. 11 on John Oehser's list of the best draft picks of the Bill Polian era.
A look back at the Colts' 2007 first round, courtesy of Oehser.
An assessment of the tight ends in this draft, from Oehser.
Part two of a Colts.com look at receivers coach Clyde Christensen.
"We believe he's the feature guy and it's his time," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said of a new contract for Maurice Jones-Drew. Michael C. Wright's story.
Cole Pepper wonders whether the Jags did the right thing with the contract for Jones-Drew.
Jason Cole isn't looking forward to several Jaguars games.
Jeremy Maclin is the ideal pick for the Jaguars at No. 8, says Will Brinson.
Jim Wyatt sees 12-4 for the Titans, and the Colts.
The Titans will stick with their best player available draft-day thinking, writes Gary Eswick.
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
No. 15: Houston Texans
No. 27: Indianapolis Colts
No. 30: Tennessee Titans
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Team needs: Receiver, defensive tackle, offensive tackle, defensive back
|AP Photo/Michael Conroy|
|It's unlikely that Boston College defensive lineman B.J. Raji will still be on the board at No 8, but if he is, expect the Jaguars to jump.|
Plan B: The Jaguars have lots of holes and if they can't address one directly with No. 8, the way Smith has talked of building through the draft, it's hard to imagine he wouldn't want to bump back to gather extra picks. Maybe the Jaguars are really interested in USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. But they struggled to sign Harvey last season. It would surely be harder to strike a deal with a top 10 quarterback who they don't expect to start this year. Perhaps they want someone else who's interested to come up and get Sanchez here. The Jaguars traded into this pick last year, so teams will have a good sense of what it would take to make a deal.
Scouts Inc. take: "After signing Tra Thomas, the Jaguars are now able to draft a project offensive tackle later in the draft as opposed to reaching in the first round for Andre Smith or Michael Oher. But, the Jaguars are not deficient in terms of glaring needs and wide receiver ranks right at the very top of that list. Michael Crabtree would be the ideal selection and in my opinion, as getting the best player in the draft at number eight would be a complete steal. Still, chances are that Crabtree doesn't make it that far. Is Jeremy Maclin worth that pick for Jacksonville? He certainly could be considering the position he plays and his big play ability, but overall, he isn't polished enough to come in an immediately be a go-to option. Two defensive players to keep an eye on are B.J. Raji, who is also unlikely to still be available but would be a tremendous get for the Jags, and Malcolm Jenkins, who could be exactly what Jacksonville needs to sure up their ailing and thin secondary. Mark Sanchez has been mentioned here, but I just don't see that happening." -- Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.
Who has final say: Jack Del Rio's desires will certainly be heard, but Smith made it clear when he took the post that he's got the final say on both draft picks and the roster.
On the Clock: Oakland Raiders, April 10.
|Scott Boehm/Getty Images|
|The Jaguars traded up for the No. 8 pick in the 2008 draft to select Derrick Harvey. This year, they may be looking to trade out of that same spot.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
A dip into the Jaguars' section of the mailbag:
Jeff from Jacksonville writes: Paul I have a two part question regarding the jaguars and the draft. First I believe that the Jags have put a smoke screen regarding drafting a QB in the first round, (although I do believe that they would do so if things did not work out the way they plan) I think that there main plan is to trade down and accumulate extra pics. Gene Smith has been preaching this since his first press conference and I dont believe it has changed. With the rise of Mark Sanchez from his workout, what are the chances that he might not even be there with the 8th pick for the Jaguars to try and trade, could it be that the Jags smoke screen was to big and now teams will try to trade in front of them to get Sanchez. Secondly, if Sanchez is avaliable what teams would probably be in the running for 8th pick from the Jags and what would be the compensation. The Jags are in a interested situation, they basically set the trade value for the 8th pick last year (which at the time looked like a steal since they didnt have to give up next year's first or a second) but now they are probably going to be looking for more than they paid last year for the same pic, I would love to hear your opinion on these two questions, like many, I check your blog everyday, I hope you have some new info for the team next week since they start off-season workouts. Thanks Paul, keep up the great work.
I'm not convinced the Jaguars will take Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez if one of them is available at No. 8 and agree with the idea that they'd like to trade down to accumulate picks. If Michael Crabtree, B.J. Raji, Jeremy Maclin or an offensive tackle they are in love with -- maybe Michael Oher -- remains available, they could be happy to stay put and address a need.
As for potential suitors: Teams that draft after the Jaguars who could want a quarterback include San Francisco (10), the Jets (17), Tampa Bay (19), Detroit (20, if the Lions don't use No. 1 on a quarterback) and Minnesota (22).
I really like Jeff's point that by trading into the eighth spot last year for defensive end Derrick Harvey, the Jaguars set the value for the very pick they may try to trade out of a year later.
Revisiting 2008: The Jaguars got the eighth pick in the draft from Baltimore in exchange for:
- No. 26 overall -- Ultimately used by Houston on left tackle Duane Brown out of Virginia Tech
- No. 71 overall (third round) -- Used by Baltimore on linebacker Tavares Gooden out of Miami
- No. 89 overall (third round) -- Ultimately used by Houston on running back Steve Slaton
- No. 125 overall (fourth round) -- Ultimately used by Oakland on receiver Arman Shields out of Richmond
(Quick aside: The Texans did pretty well with picks that first belonged to the Jaguars, didn't they? Duane Brown may be a long-term starter and Steve Slaton had a fantastic rookie season.)
Based on the numbers on the draft value chart we have up at ESPN.com, the Jaguars "won" the trade with Baltimore -- No. 8 is worth 1,400 points and the four picks Jacksonville gave up were worth 1,127 points. (The Ravens wound up trading back up to No. 18 for Joe Flacco.)
A trade partner for Jacksonville later this month has a blueprint for what it will cost to get to No. 8.
A similar deal out of the spot this year would leave the Jags with 13 picks, including three third-rounders and two fourth-rounders.
Here's what they have right now:
Round and Overall pick
* -- from Miami
** -- Compensatory selection.