AFC South: Roydell Williams
Here’s a nugget on each team with a thought from me:
Fortenbaugh: “Since 2001, the Colts have drafted only three offensive tackles. To put that in perspective, take note that over the last 10 years the team has spent the same amount of selections on kickers and punters (3).”
Fortenbaugh: “Since 2001, the Jaguars have drafted nine defensive ends, but only two (Derrick Harvey, Quentin Groves) have been selected within the top 100 picks.”
Kuharsky: Jaguars GM Gene Smith worked to offset that by bringing in free agent Aaron Kampman last offseason. And now it appears quite possible Smith will spend the 16th overall pick on a defensive end to complete the makeover of the line that included their top four picks from 2010.
Fortenbaugh: “Since Gary Kubiak took over as head coach in 2006, the Texans have drafted exactly 19 offensive players and 19 defensive players.”
Kuharsky: It’s nice to populate the roster in a balanced fashion. But if Houston does as it should and looks to fill a load of defensive holes in this draft, these numbers will tip to the defensive side.
Fortenbaugh: “Since 2005, the Titans have selected an average of 2.0 wide receivers per draft. Tennessee has landed at least one wideout in each of the past six drafts and has selected as many as three wide receivers two times in the last six years.”
Kuharsky: The all-star receiver roster of those past six drafts: Courtney Roby, Brandon Jones, Roydell Williams, Jonathan Orr, Paul Williams, Chris Davis, Joel Filani, Lavelle Hawkins, Kenny Britt, Dominique Edison, Damien Williams and Marc Mariani. The lone Pro Bowl appearance was Mariani last year -- as a return man.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Pete Prisco's post-draft power rankings: Colts three, Titans seven, Texans 12, Jaguars 24.
- The Texans are reviewing their safety policies for their practice bubble, writes Megan Manfull.
- John Oehser begins a position-by-position series breaking down the roster, starting with quarterbacks.
- Jim Caldwell wanted to get the rookies acclimated in two ways during minicamp, says the team's Web site.
- The supporting cast surrounding Peyton Manning hasn't always been as great as represented, writes Ryan Michael. I don't think most people believe it's always been great. I think most people think the team has tried to, and is obligated to try to, surround him with the best protection and weapons possible.
- The Jaguars signed quarterback Todd Bouman to compete with Cleo Lemon for the backup job, writes Michael C. Wright.
- TMZ picked up on Cole Pepper's exchange with Torry Holt about the receiver's finger.
We know what the compensatory picks are for the four teams of the AFC South in the upcoming draft.
But what have they meant in past drafts?
Using the great website drafthistory.com, I looked at all the picks the Colts, Jaguars, Texans and Titans have made after the 32nd pick in rounds three through seven since 2004.
The scorecard is unsurprising. The Colts, who've let a lot of players who made big contributions leave via free agency, have had 10 compensatory selections; the Titans have had eight; the Jaguars and Texans three each.
There are some significant names on the list of players acquired with those picks:
Jacksonville: Defensive end Bobby McCray.
Houston: Receiver David Anderson.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Eric in Indianapolis writes: So, I've been hearing quite the buzz around Indianapolis about the Colts holding a private work-out with QB Sanchez. Being an armchair quarterback myself, I am a bit puzzled by that decision. It seems teams only hold those workouts if they are serious about the player, and having a 3-time MVP at the helm for at least 5-7 more years seems like this isn't the year for this. What do you think is going on? Trade bait? Manning retiring sooner (4-5 years) than later? How about the issues of needing a 3rd receiver, starting DT, starting LB, another tandem RB?? I am in dismay. Of course, the Colts for the past decade have always been 2 steps ahead of everyone and very prepared for the future.
Paul Kuharsky: Don't read too much into a workout of a get-together. Sometimes teams have such things to finish crossing a guy off their lists. Teams can have 30 guys in for visits plus locals -- that's far more meetings than draft picks.
But yeah, maybe they think he's too good to pass up if he's there for them. Few people expect he will be.
Paul Smith from parts unknown writes: Your writing is terrible.
Paul Kuharsky: Thank you for the constructive criticism. I will try to take your pointers to heart.
Ken in Las Vegas writes: Titans aren't cheap?!?!? Bud Adams is a penny pinching miser! Since 'the great purge' after our last REAL Superbowl attempt.... look at how much cap space has not been utilized - THAT'S cheap! Moulds, Givens, Nate Washington are certainly cheaper than paying for a legitimate receiving option! Justin Gage, Brandon Jones and Justin Mccareins are not a viable receiving corps in this league - period! Gage is a decent #2. Washington is at best a #2....
Paul Kuharsky: Ken refers to this blog entry.
Who did you want them to get? The free agency class of receivers was weak, not forcing it was smart.
They've got a bad approach at the position, they devalue it. But it's philosophical, not financial.
Weller Ross in Lawrence, KS writes: Now that we're a good way into free agency and I haven't heard Marvin Harrison's name mentioned hardly at all, do you think there is a chance he ends up coming back to play in Indy? I know that with the Colts cap issues he would have to play for significantly less money, but if he's not getting offers anywhere else then I would have to think something is better than nothing especially if it meant staying with the Colts. Your thoughts?
Paul Kuharsky: I think it's a remote possibility at best.
I don't think Harrison surfaces anywhere until after the draft or even during camp.
If the Colts aren't satisfied with their receivers in camp or have a bad injury and he's still out there and reaches out and says he'll play for cheap, maybe. But my sense is when a guy like Bill Polian cuts the ties, he's looking forward, not back. The Colts didn't only think Harrison was too expensive, I believe they think he's also close to done.
Unknown from parts unknown writes: You have to be the most snooty, idiotic person hired by ESPN (this side of Skip Bayless anyway). Where do you get off writting with suck attitude? I mean you write a blog for god sakes, and we all know bloggers are killing sports writting as we know it. Im guessing you never even played football in your life. Oh wait, you were that kid on varsity only because he was a senior and hated everyone else for being so much better than you. Anyway, lighten up and get off your laughable high horse.
Paul Kuharsky: Thanks for chiming in. Points taken. I'd take them even more, however, if you put your name on your e-mail.
Andrew Hoelscher in Richardson writes: What has Vince Young done to be compared to Pacman Jones? Does Young have a long criminal record? Has he been suspended by the league? Has he been traded away and cut? The guy got hurt and lost confidence. He's human. Everyone makes so much of Matt Cassel, but how many of you would have let him on the field before last year? Young had one bad year and one injured year, and now he's useless? Even worse than that, he's a criminal? You're pathetic.
Paul Kuharsky: I don't recall comparing them.
Of course Vince Young is different from Pacman Jones in plenty of ways.
He's the same in a few too: he turned into a distraction. He doesn't 'get it.' He's not as good as he thinks he is. He's an under-performing, very high draft pick who's gotten a lot of money and has not produced or matured as they hoped he would. He's surrounded by people who tell him he's great and everything is OK and the world is out to get him.
Jason in Philadelphia: Paul, what are your thoughts on Colts' backup QB Jim Sorgi? I would sure like to see him get a chance to play. Backing up Manning for 6 years is bound to teach you a few things here and there. He hasn't been brilliant in the time he has played, but it has been very limited, and mostly with the 2nd and 3rd team. Matt Cassel didn't show much promise until he had the opportunity to play a prolonged period of time. I honestly believe that if given the opportunity, he would play very well. Indy liked him so much that they offered him an extension last year, and Bill Polian is a pretty good evaluator of talent.
Paul Kuharsky: I think he's about mediocre. If you're a Colts fan, I can't imagine why you'd ever want to see him get a chance to play, it would mean Peyton Manning isn't playing.
Them liking Sorgi as a backup is far different than them liking him if they had to play him for six weeks. I'm sure he practices well and does good work running the scout team, which gets the defense ready each week. If he did play, they'd have to run a lot better and play a lot better defense for him.
But I don't suspect he's Manning's heir, and I don't know that it's time to start thinking about one yet.
Duane from Texas writes: It seems to me that you would prefer VY to be a failure to prove yourself right. Why is this? Do you just have a dislike for him or what? Now that the Titans have a serious weapon at RB and WR and a good TE. It just makes sense to let him have his shot as the starting QB with no excuses of not having offensive play makers around him, which he did not the first 2 years of his career. Oh in case you don't remember we made the playoffs in '07 with Vince starting. I was at the game in Houston when he won it with his legs on the 36 yard game winning run. It just seems strange that the other two big name QB's in the '06 draft (Cutler,Leinart) have yet to even reach the playoffs with MUCH better WR's than the Titans have. So will you PLEASE respond with why
you and other media mouths have such a liking of the other two and VY is chop liver as far as you all are concerned??
Paul Kuharsky: I'm not rooting against him. But I'm not on his bandwagon by any means.
My opinions are formed based on what I see and hear. And from what I've seen and heard, the light has not come on for him, he doesn't get it. His comments, when he talks, are often nonsensical or untrue. He said "'I've never been hurt before," when he hurt his knee against the Jags. Well, he missed time the year before with a quad injury. Did he forget about that, or does he simply think we'll accept all his spoken words as fact because, as he reminds us every time he talks, he's just a humble guy?
Cutler is far better than Young at this point. Leinart amounts to the same wash, but it sure feels as if the Cards feel better about him than the Titans do about Young. I don't categorize this group of QBs as good with good receivers and these as good with bad receiver, etc. A guy is either good and progressing or he isn't. Jeff Fisher's Titans are never going to have two top flight WRs. Their QB is going to have to be successful in the current brand of framework.
Sure, VY's numbers and Kerry's numbers weren't vastly different. Collins did two things Young didn't -- he won the complete confidence of his teammates and coaches (I don't know how the media has had any bearing on that) and he rarely turned the ball over, a crucial thing in the way the Titans want to work.
I am surprised how many VY apologists remain. He's got a big chance to change some minds with his work and approach this offseason. I hope he surprises us all, but I don't expect he will. Sorry if you don't care for that opinion.
ElTrain in Evansville, IN writes: I heard the tail end of something about L.T. ending up in Indy on the radio today....Any chance of this really happening?
Paul Kuharsky: I can't see him getting cut for starters. I can't see the Colts finding the money to outbid a team like New Orleans for him.
Colby from parts unknown writes: Paul, Love the blog. Keeps me up to date on the only conference that really matters in the NFL, ha.. but anyways, I'm a huge Titans fan wondering what you think about the Nate Washington pickup. The man is quick and will definitely add to the new persona the Titans seem to have tried to picked up as one of the fastest offenses in the NFL, but he has always been a third receiver at best in the NFL. Do you think he will be able to both step up to the challenge of taking on the #1 receiver slot we've been yearning for since Mason left and could this be one of those subtle picks people look over (like most people that say we should go after 30 some receivers that are "big names") that could actually materialize into a blessing? Thanks for the blogging, hope to hear from you. Colby in Columbus
Paul Kuharsky: Thanks for the kind words, they mean a lot.
I like the Titans' addition of Washington, especially at that somewhat reasonable price.
But I don't expect him to emerge as a No. 1. How many of those are there? Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Randy Moss for sure. T.O. and Brandon Marshall maybe. Then who? It's not like every team has one, and a team like the Titans that doesn't even really want one won't have one.
If Washington plays like a No. 2 and Justin Gage keeps doing what he did last season, they'll have upgraded. They still have work to do, but they aren't shooting to have a huge No. 1. Derrick Mason developed into a clear No. 1 for them, but he was a possession guy, not a blazer/huge-play guy and he wouldn't have been a No. 1 in some other environments.
Walter Greensboro, NC: You are correct in saying that the Titans aren't cheap. Much as I love 'em, what they are is scared. They almost never take risks, and that might get you a shiny 13-3 regular season. But we're also 0-2 in the playoffs over the last two years. They can keep their wins in November and December. This team should be winning in January. And they also do a very poor job of taking care of their own. If they did this we probably would've held on to Mason and Rolle a little longer(both players proved to be effective in Baltimore). And more importantly their handling of Steve McNair was totally inexcusable after what he did for this franchise. Moreover, it seems to me that Young would be much further along in his development if his long time family friend had been there for him to sit behind and learn from for a year. And I cannot see the merit in your assessment of Young as a bust. Nothing about a 19-9 record as a starter says bust to me. Too quickly people forget that the Titans were 0-5 Vince's rookie season before they finally gave him the reigns from Kerry Collins, who's now had one good season since 2000. Vince Young is the future of this team, and the sooner Fisher gets that through his head the better.
Paul Kuharsky: I agree they are a little gun shy at times. But they didn't give up on Rolle and Mason when they did because they didn't think those guys could play, that was a salary cap purge that was based purely on finances. They weren't graceful with McNair, but their timing was probably correct, as it usually is when they decide a guy is finished.
JL Hoboken, NJ: Hey Paul, I'm sure you're busy with FA reporting but I'd appreciate it if you took the time to respond. My question is regarding Roydell Williams. I know he was a very average receiver, but hasn't he gotten a pretty raw deal (Went from a #1 on a playoff team to out of the league in a heartbeat)? Are there any updates about his health and any potential FA offers? I like to think the Titans are a classy organization but I feel like they handled this situation about as poorly as they handled McNair's. Thanks - JL
Paul Kuharsky: If the whole league judges you to be done, you're done. How is it a raw deal?
If the Titans thought he wasn't going to be able to contribute and he was cuttable, I'm not sure what your complaint is. What did they owe him? He owed them -- they paid him and he was unable to perform with any consistency.
There is rarely such a thing as a happy ending in the NFL.
Jason Anderson out of Wake Forest, another rookie free agent, spent some time on the practice squad in 2005. Coming out of their salary-cap purge that included cutting Derrick Mason, the Titans also signed five others as undrafted free agents: Chris Bush, Vincent Cartwright, Ellis Edbrow, Earvin Johnson and Alonzo Nix.
To their credit, the Titans passed on Williams and Troy Williamson when they were so so highly touted in that draft. To their discredit, the player they took instead at No. 6, Adam "Pacman" Jones, might have been a better football player but was an even bigger headache.
The three receivers still of note from that draft -- Braylon Edwards, Roddy White and Vincent Jackson -- were selected third, 27th and 61st. The Titans' strategy was to take three and hope at least one would break through, but they didn't start spending until they took Roby 68th.
But here's what I am getting at, and I am curious what you think:
Does the fact the Titans would go a sixth time into that group to sign a player who came into the league out of mighty D-II Tiffin as an unrestricted free agent serve as a testament to just how hard it is to find the right guy in a class?
Or is it an indictment of their ability to sift through a group and find the talent?
They are easy matches for mock drafters.
Give the Colts the best defensive tackle you can find at 27. Insert the top remaining wide receiver next to the Titans' line at 30.
But presuming those picks is a mistake on both counts, unless you are banking on those teams breaking from their staunch recent histories.
Indianapolis looks to draft the best player available early on, and after a couple top interior linemen go early, team president Bill Polian said defensive tackle value doesn't usually re-emerge until the later rounds.
And the Titans, who once passed on Randy Moss, haven't touched a receiver in the first round since they took Kevin Dyson ahead of Moss in 1998, giving off a vibe since that it's just too unpredictable a position to value so highly.
|Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images|
|The Colts would be bucking a trend by picking Ole Miss DT Peria Jerry in the first round.|
Indianapolis suffered on the interior defensive line last season, not because it had planned poorly, but because of two surprises: Quinn Pitcock, a fourth rounder out of Ohio State in 2007, decided to quit football before training camp last year. Ed Johnson, who'd been an impact player as an undrafted free agent in 2007, was on a zero tolerance policy, got in some trouble after one game in 2008 and was let go.
The Colts will add multiple interior linemen between now and training camp, but they will likely come with a pick or two later in the draft, and inevitably, with a potential diamond in the rough they don't even need to spend a pick on. Besides Pitcock, Polian hasn't drafted a defensive tackle since 2002, when Larry Triplett was a second rounder and David Pugh a sixth rounder. In 11 years, Polian's drafted five players at the position, only Triplett higher than the fourth round.
"I've always approached the draft as take the best player no matter what the position is," Polian said. "Don't worry about filling a need, you can do that later in the draft. Take the best player in the first two rounds, whoever he is."
So it's fair to say through much of his tenure he hasn't seen a lot of defensive tackles of value available with his highest picks?
"Yeah, that's probably correct," he said. "They go in the first 15 usually, then you see them resurface in the latter rounds -- five, six, seven."
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
A look around before diving into Wednesday. Questions? Comments? Requests? Hit the mailbag.
And look for our AFC South chat Thursday at 3:00 p.m. ET.
- Andre Davis had a bigger role in game two, writes Megan Manfull.
- Houston's offense has been bad in the red zone, says Manfull.
- Fan devotion to the Texans is not the same as it was to the Oilers, according to John McClain.
- Richard Justice answers some mail.
- Bob McNair would be shocked if the Texans don't play at Reliant Stadium on Oct. 5 as scheduled.
- Bill Polian points out that the last time he felt so bad after a game, it was one with the same referee -- Walt Coleman. Phil Richards offers details.
- Peyton Manning: "We just have to play better." From colts.com.
- Scott Starks tore an ACL in Indianapolis and is out for the year, according to Michael C. Wright. They signed Omare Lowe to replace him.
- Reasons to feel good, and some lingering concerns, courtesy of Cole Pepper.
- Five reasons the Titans might not be as good as their perfect record suggests, from Jim Wyatt.
- Jeff Fisher, playing defense for Vince Young, has twice gotten reporters to turn down the volume on big stories, says Wyatt.
- Roydell Williams officially filed a grievance against the Titans, claiming he was hurt when he was released, according to Wyatt.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
- Andre Johnson believes this is the best Texans team he's been on.
- Owner Bob McNair has sold his horse-racing stable.
- The Texans' last trip to Pittsburgh produced a crazy game and result.
- Tony Dungy thinks an offensive line of fill-ins will be OK. And the Colts notebook in the Indianapolis Star has six of the eight on the team's practice squad.
- The Colts will be counting on contributions from 12 rookies.
- Fred Taylor apologized for the Miami Beach incident over the weekend.
- Jerry Porter practiced Monday but is still likely to miss Sunday's opener against Tennessee.
- The Los Angeles Times picks the Jaguars to win the division.
- David Garrard is comfortable as the face of the franchise.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Biggest surprise: A lot of us fell asleep on defensive tackle Antonio Johnson, no one more than me. I presumed he'd be a better fourth tackle than what they had last year and anything else they had now. Apparently not. The fifth-round pick from 2007 missed his whole rookie year with a blown out knee, but once he got back he didn't show enough. Roydell Williams had 55 catches last year, but his issue was the ankle injury he's coming back from. It's not a surprise that safety Calvin Lowry isn't good enough to be on the team but it still a mild surprise the team cut him.
No-brainers: Quarterback Ingle Martin and kicker John Vaughn were likeable locals, but everyone knew there wasn't a spot for them since the Titans would only keep two quarterbacks and since Rob Bironas is expected to be ready after missing a lot of time with a groin issue. Expect Martin back on the practice squad.
What's next: The Titans have four safeties, but Vincent Fuller plays as the nickel back, so it's a spot that could be addressed through a waiver claim or veteran signing. Chris Davis might be on the 53 only long enough for the Titans to bring in another receiver. Kevin Vickerson beat out Johnson, but will he survive once waiver claims and free agents are sorted out? If LenDale White and Chris Johnson are healthy, look for Chris Henry to be inactive a lot.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
I got such a good question during my chat on Monday that I asked for it to be sent to the mailbag, where I could give it more thorough consideration:
Tom in Chicagoland writes: Which veteran player on each team is in the most danger of getting cut? Could the Reynaldo Hill Experience finally end with the Titans? I mentioned Hill primarily because (1) I don't think he's very good, and (2) I believe he's in the last year of his rookie deal, so whether or not they'll keep him around is based solely on how productive he'll be in 2008, not his 2008 production and cost plus his expected 2009 production and cost (which is why I think Chris Henry is bulletproof, no matter what some Titan fans think). I think you're right he'll be around, but I still think he fits the profile of a guy who might be cut, plus I wanted to mention a player who might be on the bubble.
Paul Kuharsky: Well, the main reason Chris Henry is safe, I believe, isn't because of his cost but because there is no one on the roster to really challenge him for his spot. If LenDale White and Chris Johnson get the bulk of the running back work and if Henry makes minimal progress, I feel certain there will be a competent challenger next year.
It's a great question, Tom. After taking a hard look at the rosters and asking around, here's your list. Since we've seen one of these teams play one preseason game, things are obviously subject to big change.
(I'm going in reverse alphabetical order, just because I am feeling crazy).
Fullback/ tight end Casey Cramer: No, he's not a big name, but he is heading into a fourth year. He's been a valuable guy in a limited role. He's versatile and good on special teams. But the Titans may not be able to afford such a luxury any more. They are probably going to carry four tight ends -- Alge Crumpler, Bo Scaife, Craig Stevens and Dwayne Blakely -- as well as fullback Ahmard Hall. Blakely is the only one who's not an absolute lock. Last year they finished with three tight ends and three fullbacks, but one of the fullbacks was a long snapper who wouldn't have ever been lined up in the backfield. If Hall is hurt, they'll just go to two-tight end sets that much more often.
Others: Receiver Roydell Williams is way behind and will have to play through pain after ankle surgery last year -- something many question whether he can do. But he did tie for the team lead in receptions last year and probably sticks. Same for Hill, who'd have to fall behind seventh-round rookie Cary Williams to be in any sort of jeopardy.
Wide receiver Matt Jones: Many thought his arrest on drug charges before camp would be the end of him, but the team stuck with him going into camp. With Jerry Porter and Reggie Williams recovering from surgeries, Jones is getting a lot of time to show he can be a consistent contributor. But if everyone is healthy, he probably wouldn't be in the top five and would be wrestling with players like D'Juan Woods and John Broussard for the sixth spot.
Others: Tight end George Wrighster isn't back from a knee injury yet. He's 27 and fighting a field of younger guys.
Running back Kenton Keith: This is not an old roster, and there are no graybeards sputtering out. Keith is 28, and had four years of experience in the CFL before making the Colts last year, when was the team's second-leading rusher with 533 yards and a 4.4-yard average. But he had just 13 catches. Dominic Rhodes has returned after a year in Oakland and Mike Hart may be a more well-rounded back with more upside even if his measurables aren't great. The Colts could go with a running back lineup of Joseph Addai, Rhodes, Hart and Clifton Dawson, a good special teamer who's a pretty good pass protector.
Others: I don't see any, do you?
Defensive end N.D. Kalu: He'll be 33 on Aug. 3 and though he's an excellent locker room guy and a great effort player, he could lose out. Roosevelt Colvin was brought in for a similar third-down pass rushing role and the team likes two younger ends who've been good early in camp, Earl Cochran and Tim Bulman.
Others: Guard Fred Weary has been slow to return from a broken leg suffered late last season and the transition into Alex Gibbs' blocking scheme that emphasizes agility has been difficult. DeMarcus Faggins was bad last season, but has worked hard to redeem himself. He's missed time recently with a hamstring issue and could lose out to Derrick Roberson.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Still groggy after a quick turnaround from Canton back to Music City, but took in the Titans' practice Monday morning.
The tight ends stood out. Alge Crumpler continues to look like a red zone solution, and in a team period he made an excellent one-handed catch with a spin with linebacker Colin Allred on him. The soft-spoken Crumpler said afterward he didn't even remember it. A bit later, Dwayne Blakley made a one-handed snag of his own, though not as fancy. Third-rounder Craig Stevens failed to follow suit, letting a ball over the middle squirt right through his hands.
Some other highlights:
In seven-on-seven work, cornerback Nick Harper made a great play on receiver Justin Gage as he ran a post route, though Harper will probably kick himself when he sees it on film because he had a chance to corral a nice interception.
Linebacker Stephen Tulloch continues to shine. He's not much of a leaper, but he did what he needed to in order to rise and grab a Kerry Collins pass intended for Biren Ealy in red zone seven-on-seven. Tulloch landed on his back, but got up and took off.
Also, receiver Roydell Williams is off the PUP list and took a step in his comeback from a broken right ankle he suffered as the Titans got ready for their playoff game in San Diego last season. He went through the individual period with receivers and ran some one-on-one routes and Monday afternoon he expects to add on seven-on-seven.
He's developed a bit of a reputation for needing to feel good to play well, but won't be able to do that this year as the recovery comes with a degree of pain until pins are removed after the season.
"Most likely I'll have to play with a little pain, but in the NFL it's more of what you can play with," he said. "Everyone is hurting out there. You just have to suck it up and go out and play. Pretty much every year I've been nicked-up. That's one of the things I've learned to do is just deal with the pain."
His straight ahead speed is fine, but he's still working on getting in and out of his breaks.
He's missed a lot of time with new coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, and Justin McCareins has inherited Williams' starting slot from last season, though McCareins is currently out with a hamstring issue.
|Rich Kane/Icon SMI|
|David Givens hopes to play again in the NFL.|
Unless you're Reggie Wayne, the last year has not been a particularly good time to be a big-name receiver in the AFC South.
Marvin Harrison is trying to come back from knee issues in Indianapolis. Jerry Porter will miss camp in Jacksonville after hamstring surgery. Andre Johnson missed seven games for Houston last year with a knee injury, and the Texans lost five of them.
Roydell Williams certainly doesn't rank in their class, but he did tie for the Titans' team lead in receptions (55) in 2007, then broke an ankle running a route in preparation for the playoff game in San Diego. He'll be dealing with pain all year and Justin McCareins looked locked in to what was his starting spot.
Some lesser known receivers in the division also ended up on IR: Houston's Jerome Mathis (now in Washington), Indy's Roy Hall and Aaron Moorehead (unsigned), Jacksonville's Mike Walker and John Broussard, and Tennessee's Brandon Jones.
But the worst story of all belongs to David Givens, whose injury dates back to 2006.
The Titans' prized free agent from New England played in only five games that season. A devastating knee injury put him out of the picture for the rest of that year and all of 2007 and the team cut him in February to avoid a $500,000 roster bonus.
After tearing his ACL and meniscus and breaking a bone in his left knee that required bone plugs, he's had at least three surgeries and continues to rehabilitate at Dr. James Andrews' facility in Alabama.
Givens collected $12 million from the Titans. You can't blame the team for grabbing one of the best receivers available in 2006 free agency. You can't fault Givens for suffering a freak injury. It's one of those unfortunate stories where everything unravels for a guy. I only got to know him a little in the Titans' locker room, but it was clear he was a proud, serious and stand-up guy.
Brad Blank, Givens' agent, said the receiver is determined to play again.
"He's very resolute" Blank said. "I don't know what the timetable is, but he's going to try to make a comeback. I don't know what's realistic time-wise. I will be speaking with some doctors at the end of the summer. But he's been to the lowest point and he's on his way back from that."
It's hard not to root for Givens, as slim as his chances at re-emerging may seem.
Meanwhile, receivers around the AFC South certainly have to be hoping the injury trend is coming to an end.