AFC South: Rey Maualuga
He looked good during extensive warm-ups, but was limited during the week by a hamstring injury.
I was surprised that a top-ranking Titans community relations official and a Nashville Metro police officer who works closely with the team were among those who went out of their way to greet Jones during warm-ups. Jones, after all, did more community relations damage than anyone during his tenure with the Titans.
The Titans will start Derrick Morgan for Dave Ball at defensive end, though Ball is active.
Cincinnati has Donald Lee starting at tight end for the injured Jermaine Gresham and Dan Skuta at middle linebacker for Rey Maualuga.
The full lists of inactives:
- QB Rusty Smith
- S Chris Hope
- LB Colin McCarthy
- C Kevin Matthews
- T Byron Stingily
- DT Zach Clayton
- DE William Hayes
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
They are likely to be the best trio from the same position group at the same school to all be drafted in the first round. For years the debate may rage -- who's tops among the three USC linebackers of 2009?
The Texans had first choice of them, and went with Brian Cushing over Clay Matthews and Rey Maualuga. If the other two go before Detroit starts the second round with the 33rd pick -- and they are expected to -- it'll likely be a fun and lengthy conversation we have comparing and contrasting.
At 6-3 and 243, Cushing brings the size the Texans wanted so badly to add at the position. But as a Trojan, he had multiple shoulder injuries, as well as an ankle injury and a broken hand. With size the Texans sought ruggedness and durability. It's fair that the question he carries into the league is whether he can give it to them.
If he holds up, there is no reason to think he won't be a good pro and make a case for himself in his ongoing competition with Matthews and Maualuga for status.
First off the board, he's got an early 1-0 lead on them both.
NASHVILLE -- A while back, a reader asked about whether the high salaries attached to the earliest picks of the draft had altered the draft value charts around the league. Teams use such charts, which assign a point value to every pick, to weigh and balance trades. GMs and coaches like to talk about how theirs are different, but the general construct is similar.
I asked Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt this week if he's got a new chart and if he thought most teams had altered theirs.
"Some of the trade charts have changed addressing the trade value of those top picks and it has gone down," he said. "What those picks were, it's not that way anymore. I think it's there is a burden associated with having those top 10 picks.
"...But you have two sets of charts -- depending on which way you're going, up or down, you pull out the appropriate one," he added as we laughed.
The early phone check-ins are usually 50-50 with teams talking about expecting to look to move up or back, Reinfeldt said. This time more people are talking about moving back.
Here are a few highlights from the Titans' pre-draft news conference Thursday:
- National supervisor of college scouting C.O. Brocato said USC linebacker Rey Maualuga can play inside or outside, and he thinks his college teammate Brian Cushing, an outside backer by trade, can play inside. He said he views the third USC linebacker, Clay Matthews, as strictly an outside guy.
- Brocato likes the crop of linebackers and tight ends but said running backs have fallen off.
- Scouting coordinator Blake Beddingfield said there "is a value on every player" and that the Titans hadn't taken anyone off the board. But he joined the laughter when asked if Florida receiver Percy Harvin was a seventh-rounder on the Titans' board.
- I believe the Titans will steer clear of Harvin because of the issues surrounding him. But director of college scouting for the Eastern region Mike Ackerley said Harvin is "the most explosive player in this draft by far," that he has no doubt Harvin can run routes and be a top receiver who can also work as a return man and that "he can play wherever he wants."
- Reinfeldt said a number of receivers have grades that would make them worthy of the 30th pick, and such grades mean those players should be able to be productive early.
- Weight gained by Hakeem Nicks after the combine was not a concern, Ackerley said. So much of a premium is put on 40 times at the combine, everyone drops weight for that, then gets bigger and stronger by the time pro days arrive.
- Malcolm Jenkins, Vontae Davis and Alphonso Smith have separated themselves into the first tier of corners, but there is not that much space between them and the next group, Ackerley said.
- Reinfeldt was coy when asked questions that were clearly aimed at getting him to show if the Titans have any real interest in trading for Anquan Boldin or Braylon Edwards. He said at some point the Titans would like to add a veteran receiver to the mix, which made it sound like it wasn't going to be a top name. He mentioned that after the draft some veterans would shake free. Asked if the team has to have another veteran wideout, he said: "It would be nice; I don't think it's a necessity."
- Brocato gave a rave review of Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman. "He's got everything you want for a quarterback," he said.