AFC South: Jon Asamoah

Plenty of speculation will take place from now until NFL free agency actually beings Tuesday after 4 p.m. ET.

From the Atlanta Falcons' perspective, upgrading the lines needs to be the emphasis. In terms of the offensive line, one player makes the most sense to pursue immediately.

Asamoah
The Falcons want to add a big, tough offensive guard, and the Kansas City Chiefs' 6-foot-4, 305-pound Jon Asamoah fits that criteria. Asamoah was drafted by Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli when Pioli was the Chiefs' general manager, so there is a natural tie. Immediately after the draft, Pioli raved about Asamoah's versatility as a guard with the ability to play center.

But will Asamoah even reach free agency? NFL Nation Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher wrote about the tough decision Kansas City has in keeping either Asamoah or fellow offensive guard Geoff Schwartz. Asamoah actually lost his starting job to Schwartz late last season after suffering a shoulder injury.

Asamoah, who turns 26 in July, is ranked the third-best guard bound for free agency behind Carolina's Travelle Wharton and Schwartz by Pro Football Focus. He has earned a reputation for his pass blocking, which is key for a Falcons team emphasizing the need to protect Matt Ryan next season. Ryan was the league's most pressured quarterback in 2013.

Instability at the right guard spot sure didn't help Ryan's cause. Garrett Reynolds, who was released Feb. 18, got pushed back way too often after beginning the season as the starter. Reynolds got replaced by Peter Konz, who moved over after losing his starting center spot to Joe Hawley. Konz didn't fare much better at guard. Harland Gunn also got an audition at right guard late in the season.

What the Falcons need is someone who will be a stable force at right guard for years to come. Sure, plugging in an aging veteran could help for next season, but the Falcons have to look well beyond. That's another reason Asamoah makes sense.

It will all come down to the price tag, as with most moves in free agency. The Falcons already committed $7.6 million per season to left guard Justin Blalock. Both Blalock and tackle Sam Baker count $13.71 million against the $133 million cap in 2014.

Asamoah made $1.323 million with the Chiefs last season. Paying him somewhere between $4-5 million per year might be manageable.

Free-agency series: Offensive line

February, 28, 2014
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Here is the fifth of a 10-part series breaking down the Jacksonville Jaguars' free-agency needs, position by position:

Offensive line

Who is on the roster: OT Cameron Bradfield, G/C Mike Brewster, OT Luke Joeckel, C Patrick Lewis, OT DeMarcus Love, G Jacques McClendon, G Stephane Milhim, G Drew Nowak, G Uche Nwaneri, OT Austin Pasztor, G Will Rackley, and OT Sam Young.

Joeckel
Analysis: Injuries hurt the unit early in the season and really impacted it late. The group struggled in the transition to a zone-blocking scheme early in the season as well, which is why the Jaguars finished the first eight games last in the NFL in rushing. Joeckel, whom the Jaguars took with the No. 2 overall pick, spent the first four weeks of the season at right tackle before moving to his natural spot at left tackle following the trade of Eugene Monroe. He played less than a quarter against St. Louis before suffering a fractured ankle, but he was handling Robert Quinn (who finished with 19.0 sacks) pretty well before he got hurt. His injury forced Bradfield and Pasztor into the lineup, and Pasztor played surprisingly well. The team is encouraged by his potential. The biggest issue is the interior of the line. Brad Meester retired, so the Jaguars need a center. Nwaneri was solid at right guard, but left guard was an issue because Rackley played hurt all season and the Jaguars could never generate much push in the middle of the line.

NFL free agents of interest: C Alex Mack, C Ryan Wendell, C Brian De La Puenta, G Jon Asamoah, G Geoff Schwartz, and G Rich Ohrnberger.

Need meter: 9. After quarterback and leo, the interior of the offensive line is the Jaguars’ biggest need. GM David Caldwell has said the team would like to address that in free agency, and it would be a surprise if the Jaguars didn’t sign at least two starters, including a center, within the first few weeks of free agency. It’s unlikely the Jaguars would target the big names that are available, mainly because of cost, but if those players linger on the market and the price drops, the Jaguars would get involved. Even though Joeckel is talented and seemed to thrive in the very limited time he spent at left tackle, there are still questions about him, so the Jaguars might opt to add some experienced depth at tackle. Competition for roster spots on the line will be among the more interesting training camp battles.

A new animal: Second-round mocks

April, 23, 2010
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A three-day draft has created a new niche: second-round mock drafts.

The Titans and Jaguars traded away their secondrounders last season, so we’ve got the Texans at No. 51 and the Colts at 63.

I’ve looked through second-round mocks from Mel Kiper, Don Banks, Pete Prisco and Chris Steuber for their thoughts on our two teams.

Houston (51)

Kiper: Mike Neal, DT, Purdue

Banks: Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford

Prisco: Chad Jones, S, LSU

Steuber: Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech

Kuharsky says: If Gerhart is there, I like it. He’s not a home run threat, but he could be good in combination with a healthy, non-fumbling Steve Slaton. Otherwise, don’t force the back. Consider a penetrating defensive tackles or a rangy safety with ball skills and look to grab a back like Montario Hardesty, Dwyer, Ben Tate or Anthony Dixon at No. 81 in the third round.

Indianapolis (63)

Kiper: Cam Thomas, DT, North Carolina

Banks: Lamarr Houston, DT, Texas

Prisco: Jon Asamoah, G, Illinois

Steuber: Vladimir Ducasse, G, UMass

Kuharsky says: I don’t think they are as defensive tackle-happy as some others, not that they wouldn’t take a value there. But having picked defensive end Jerry Hughes in the first round, a more rugged lineman would be the call if they find him of value. The Colts could also go with a defensive back before waiting for No. 94 in the third round.

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