AFC South: Jerome Mathis

The Pro Bowl is a watered-down disaster and has no more outspoken critic than I.

But it’s still used as a measuring stick, and since it’s a watered-down disaster for everyone, it’s not unreasonable to look at for comparison purposes. (And it didn't used to be quite as diluted.)

The Texans released this team-by-team list of draft picks and college free agents who’ve gone to the Pro Bowl since 2002. If a team drafted a player or signed one as an undrafted free agent and he went to the Pro Bowl with another team, he still counts.

There are some quirks in the list. It gives the Texans credit, for example, for having drafted Jason Babin. But Houston traded up to draft Babin and then completely miscast him as an outside linebacker in a 3-4. He was a bust for the Texans. But he went to the 2010 Pro Bowl after becoming a productive pass rush end with the Titans.

The Texans have found Pro Bowlers in top picks, as you’d expect -- Andre Johnson, Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing and Babin. Owen Daniels was the 98th pick and Jerome Mathis was 114th. Those are the more impressive Pro Bowlers to me.

The Jaguars have only found a couple of Pro Bowl-caliber players with lesser picks or in college free agency. David Garrard was drafted 108th and Montell Owens was undrafted. (Yes, Garrard did have one Pro Bowl-worthy season.)

The Colts and Titans have fared better in this category.

Indianapolis found Robert Mathis 138th, Cato June 198th and Antoine Bethea 207th. Mathis and Bethea remain key players.

And Tennessee unearthed Marc Mariani 222nd and Cortland Finnegan 215th. The two have combined to help fill the crater left by the No. 6 pick in the 2005 draft, Pacman Jones.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Houston Texans

  • With OTAs (organized team activities) starting next week, we'll get a glimpse of the Texans' defensive changes, writes John McClain.
  • Former Texans kick returner Jerome Mathis has signed to play in the CFL, says Nick Scurfield at houstontexans.com.
  • Boomer Grigsby, whom you might remember from "Hard Knocks," is now with Houston, says Brooke Bentley of houstontexans.com.

Indianapolis Colts

  • Tony Dungy visited Colts headquarters and found out his security code still works, writes Mike Chappell.
  • In Jarrett Bell's examination of pension issues, Bill Polian says he anticipates the Colts will be without Tom Moore as well as Howard Mudd, his first public acknowledgment of Moore's intention to leave. Thanks to Indy Football Report for pointing us to the link.
  • The top five most underrated Colts, from John Oehser.
  • A look at rookie receiver Austin Collie, from colts.com.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

  • Chris Johnson wants to lead the league in rushing and collect the MVP award, writes Jim Wyatt.
  • Cortland Finnegan on the potential for more towel stomping: "No, absolutely not. Certain individuals may do that, but that's not what this team is all about. That's not what this coach is about, that's not what our team is about. You do it in between the lines ... the rest of it is unacceptable." Read the test of his chat at NFL.com here.
  • David Climer says Alge Crumpler isn't tortured by his deadly fumble in the playoff loss to Baltimore.
  • Jeff Fisher seemed to downplay the Titans' interest in Drew Bennett, who was in for a physical, writes Wyatt.
  • Kerry Collins empathizes with Brett Favre, says Wyatt.
  • Tony Brown is ahead of schedule recovering from a shoulder issue, says Terry McCormick in this notebook.
  • Wyatt's practice observations from Tuesday's OTAs.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Johnson

Texans receiver Andre Johnson has been named the NFL Alumni Wide Receiver of the Year. Johnson led the NFL in receptions (115) and receiving yards (1,575), becoming the first player to do so since Cincinnati's Chad Johnson in 2005.

Here are some details the Texans just passed along:

  • Johnson also won the award in 2006.
  • He joins WR Jerome Mathis (2005) and DE Mario Williams (2007) as prior Texans to receive the award. The Texans hold the distinction as the only team in the NFL to have a player honored over each of the last four seasons.
  • Johnson will be honored along with the other 2008 recipients at the 27th annual Player of the Year Awards Dinner, to be held Friday, January 30, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency Tampa. During the awards ceremony, each honoree will receive his NFL Alumni Player of the Year award from a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who once played the same position.

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