AFC South: plus-one
Based on the Cardinals Super Bowl run and the phenomenal play of receiver Larry Fitzgerald in getting them there, he's a popular pick for a team that's lacked a dynamic speedster on the outside since at least the mid 1990s.
Before the official selection, a review of some of the best feedback I got from the Tennessee faithful.
Brian in Williamsburg: Regarding what player could the Titans add: We definitely need a playmaker at receiver, but I don't think a high profile guy is what we need, our system won't produce the numbers they expect and I really don't think we'd keep them happy with a coach who would run on every snap if he could get away with it. Given that background, I think the player who would help us most is Hines Ward, the guy's got great instincts to get to make the catch and do what he can with it, but he contributes so much more to the team. I don't know if there is a better blocking receiver in the league, which is critical in a system that runs as much as Tennessee. I was actually thinking about the same subject this weekend and realized that Hines Ward is exactly what we need to take the team to another level.
bojackson30: Honestly, and this may just be because he's on the brain... but I think Boldin would be a great fit for the titans, particularly because of his YAC ability, which is something we haven't seen from a receiver otherwise in a long while. We have a good possession guy in Gage, and I think Boldin would be dynamic enough and complement him well.
Ben in Christchurch, New Zealand: Regarding adding one player - how could a team like the Titans or the Texans theoretically add a non-premium position like WR or DT when you could add an outstanding QB to take clear control of the team? Collins is a stop gap at the Titans, and Young was overdrafted in my opinion. He never will be the passer that they need. Schaub at the Texans is too injury prone to be the answer. Even Garrard at the Jags pales in comparison to a top level QB.
FatCowToes: While nearly every Titans fan would love to see them go out and get a big-time receiver, I think you can argue that the coaching staff wouldn't necessarily take advantage of him. For instance, I can't imagine Jeff Fisher would ever allow his QB to throw jump-balls to Fitzgerald all day like Kurt Warner does. I think the best fit at receiver for them would be a solid possession guy who's also a fearless blocker to aid the running game. Someone like Hines Ward (especially if you can take 5 years off of his knees) or Wes Welker comes to mind.
Honestly, I think the best what-if player for the Titans would be an upgrade at QB. Again, style has to be considered, so I don't think that Manning or Brady or Brees would really be the best fit. But could you imagine the Titans offense with Roethlisberger under center? He could get the most out of a mediocre crop of receivers, yet he also wouldn't complain about being in a run-heavy offense.
Chris in Murfreesboro: If we got Anquan Bolden.. I'd probably crap myself. As dynamic Andre Johnson is, he's not leaving Houston. I knooow we're probably not in the running for Q, but I'd love to see just how badly he wants out of Arizona and how badly our receiver coach pitches Fish' for a playmaker of his own after Earnest Byner got his in the draft. PLEASE FISH.. JUST TRY Q!!!
I understand the thinking with Hines Ward, but tend to lean towards a counter argument. While Ward fits their physical motif, a receiver whose primary characteristics are speed and the ability to win the ball in the air would actually add more.
So this one ends where it began.
In the AFC South Blog's Plus One, the Titans select Larry Fitzgerald.
Response from Jaguars faithful -- hello, anyone out there? -- was minimal, I must confess.
Here's a small sampling, and by sampling I mean virtually everything useable I got in comments or the mailbag.
A.J. from Sioux Falls, S.D.: Haynesworth would be great to reestablish that menacing run defense that the Jags made their name on in years past. But what about Michael Crabtree, which seems a little more realistic considering the Jags spot in the draft. He could finally give Garrard a downfield threat, making life easier for the resurgent Matt Jones and the always dangerous MJD.
tglasser31: Jordan Gross is a very real possibility for free agent acquisition. If a left tackle is drafted, gross could eventually move to the right side.
edo0725: I would have to say they would pick up a dominant DT. Hopefully that would inspire John Henderson but also it would help their young pass rushers they drafted last year. I've heard a lot of talk about how they need secondary help, but I feel that if they can get their D-line back to its old form they are actually a pretty strong bunch. Their offense was not very good this year but with a dominant defense i think it would do the job. Get rid of Porter and other then that its a very similar group to the one that won the playoff game last year. He does not get a lot of media attention but pay attention to Mike Walker at WR he has a lot of potential. Both him and Brandon Marshal came out of UCF but Walker was the better of the two in college before he missed time for a knee injury. Obviously college is way different then the NFL but still I think the potential is there. Pick up somebody like Haynesworth then use the #8 pick on a LT and I think the Jags are in solid shape to at least fight for a wild card spot. That being said they are most def not going after any big free agents this year.
SQclosers09: The Jags need a WR like Larry Fitzgerald, so their QB has a decent receiver to throw to. The current WR's are garbage or getting ready to go to jail for drugs......
The Jaguars would benefit from a big-play receiver like Fitzgerald or Steve Smith. A dominant interior lineman like Albert Haynesworth might help get John Henderson back on track and return the team to an identity it loved when it was Marcus Stroud and Henderson in the middle. And a lockdown corner like Nnamdi Asomugha would certainly help them slow division opponents like Reggie Wayne and Andre Johnson.
All indications are the Jaguars believe that their rebuild has to start with a refortification of their lines and because of how important their run-first mentality is to their offense, I'm looking to that side of the ball. I'm a believer that when a bad team has a lot of needs, it's hard to argue against a stud left tackle. Khalif Barnes is not coming back and Richard Collier is, unfortunately, not part of the plan any longer.
I think Gross will be re-signed or franchised in Carolina.
In the AFC South Blog's Plus One, the Jaguars select Jordan Gross.
The obvious spot that the team needs to address is defensive tackle. The Colts rely on smaller, quicker guys on defense. They'll look to beef up some in the middle of the line to bolster the run defense, but how big is big enough?
If they could have anyone in the league, a lot of their followers didn't waste time jumping on a big anchor for the middle of the line. A sampling of what you had to say before I make a pick.
Ekiel01: I think Boldin would make a great pick up. Manning has never had a receiver that big and physical WR that can make plays and they do not need to rely on timing to make plays. I don't think there is a WR in the draft that can be a Fitzgerald or Johnson.
Also, They need some help one the O line and I do not believe any of the centers drafted can take the place of Saturday. I believe Haynesworth is good but he is older and only seems to play his best in contract years.
Tschman13: Has to be Haynesworth. Colts have always been weak in the middle and could use a big body who can eat up 2 or more blockers and would drastically improve Freeney's and Mathis' numbers since they would get more one on one opportunities.
Other nice to haves:
RB that runs hard. Still kills me to know that the Colts passed over MoJo and took Addai.
O-Line - Seems to be getting old and is pushed around often. Run blocking was terrible last year.
Secondary and WR - I think these positions are good. Harrison hasnt contributed much the last 2 years and I think Wayne, Gonzales, and Clark are top 5.
SQClosers09: The Colts need Ray Lewis to get the defense to finally stop the run.
Brad: T. J. Houshmandzadeh! Manning and Housh had great chemistry in the pro bowl. I think if Manning had TJ, Reggie, Gonzo and Dallas Clark that you would be looking at 51 TDS. Of course, taking the record back from TB. TJ would have more impact than any one defensive player.
Sidram7: If there is one player the Colts should add, and the actually can, it's Darren Sproles.
They definitely need a return man, and he's about as hot as anyone in the game. they could use a breakaway threat at RB, and he's killed them 2 yrs in a row. The best way to stop him, is add him to the roster.
Luke from South Bend, IN: My choice for a player to add to the Colts would easily be an Albert Haynesworth-type DT. It's the one piece missing in the Colts' defense. It's a necessary piece to the Cover-2. Pair Haynesworth with a fully healthy Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis and Raheem Brock or Keyunta Dawson and the pass rush will be great. Bob Sanders will help man the back end and help in run support, and the linebackers will play better with another year under their belts. The DT would help against the run and help get the defense off the field on third down, which was one of their biggest problems this year. That puts Manning and the offense on the field more, and means more points.
Unknown from York, PA: If the colts could get one player, i would like to see an albert haynesworth on the defensive line. Could u imagine freeney, haynesworth, johnson, and mathis on that defensive line and the havoc it could cause? As far as recievers, we still have wayne, gonzalez, a young peirre garcon and roy hall as well as a skilled tight end crew. Offensive line is still very good when healthy. And i feel addai's problem was his nagging injuries. We also have mike hart, and chad simpson at running back.
Seth from Denver, CO: I would like to see the Colts move away from their offense first mentality when it comes to personnel. Manning is still going to be Manning whether he has two premiere receivers or not. Even if Harrison is let go, the Colts will still be able to spread the ball around. That's why I think the most valuable person for the Colts would be Albert Haynesworth.
By a large margin, readers wanted Haynesworth, who could actually be available if the Titans can't lock him up before free agency starts Feb. 27. The Colts have cap issues and don't generally chase big-ticket free agents. That mean they won't be a bidder.
In the AFC South Blog's Plus One, the Colts select Albert Haynesworth.
The Texans' biggest needs are on defense -- I believe along the defensive line where Mario Williams doesn't have enough help and at safety where they need a playmaking and stabilizing force.
Before I make a pick on behalf of the team, let's look at what some of you had to say:
Mad Mike in Houston: Paul: If the Texans could add any one player it would have to be Troy Polamalu. Ed Reed is very good on the backend with picks and getting the most out of them, but Troy has a big effect in all aspects of the defense. Haynesworth is an obvious choice, but at a cost of 10m per year, I think with Amobi Okoye and another DT could be okay. Not diminishing Alberts value just based on my thoughts. Troy or someone like that would have the biggest impact for the Texans. Thanks.....MM
Robby in League City, TX: Albert Haynesworth would be hard to pass up, but Polamalu would do wonders for their shaky secondary that badly needs some help. If any change needs to be made on the defensive line, my vote is for a defensive end opposite Mario, possibly a Julius Peppers type that can stop the run as well as improve the pass rush.
Chris in Austin: One player for the Texans... in the entire NFL, very tough choice. I would want someone young who's in or approaching their prime, like Jared Allen (much as I hate him for killing our playoff hopes in 2008). Polamalu is a good choice, and I would also love to have Bart Scott as an OLB. He'd translate well to a 4-3 with his cover skills - and he'd bring something the Texans are sorely lacking IMO - a nasty attitude.
Unknown in Houston: It's already hard enough to choose from the options you gave in your blog. The Texans need a play-making Safety but they also need an additional interior defensive lineman. I think that Coach Kubiak and GM Smith should draft BJ Raji at DT in the first round and Rashad Johnson will in the second given both are available. With that being said, I would still go after and get an additional defensive lineman. I would love to see the Texans pick up Haynesworth, Peppers, or Rocky Bernard who I think is under appreciated because he plays in Seattle. These additions could turn this Texans defense around allowing players like Mario, Okoye, and DeMeco to make plays. Of course, this is a dream for a Texans fan because we are just waiting to be a playoff team year in and year out. I quick thought also is for the Texans to resign Dunta and still try to go after Nmandi in Oakland. Thanks
Kevin in Portland: Paul- In regards to the Texans +1 question, I have an idea. While a play making safety would be awesome (like your suggestions on Polamalu and Reed) I think a defensive tackle would bring equal benefits, and would make our existing secondary look a lot better. However, Haynesworth is not the mad on the top of my list. Give me Haloti Ngata. I know he plays in a 3-4, but she has shown tremendous pass rush ability, is a space eater against the run, and is younger than Haynesworth. Also, with him, you avoid the character issues. I know it is a pipe dream, but what do you think
leonwa: The Texans have ignored its defensive backfield almost as much as it ignored its offensive line needs. A dynamic do-it-all like Polamalu would be a major upgrade.
Good comments all, and a pretty good consensus that a defensive lineman or safety can add the most.
This whole idea started with Titans fans craving a guy like Larry Fitzgerald while seeing him elevate his game in the playoffs.
With a dose of that same sort of playoff success working in his favor, I'm going Polamalu over Reed.
In the AFC South Blog's Plus One, the Texans select Troy Polamalu.