AFC South: Samkon Gado

Our periodic look at the best and worst draft pick by position for each team begins with running back. We’ll look at draft results since realignment in 2002, since that’s when the Texans came into existence and gives us the most level comparison.

Houston Texans

Best: Arian Foster is the best guy they’ve had, but he was undrafted so he doesn’t qualify. It’s not a great list, but the best of the lot was Domanick Davis, who became Domanick Williams, a fourth-rounder in 2003. (I initially had those names flipped, sorry.) In three seasons, he averaged 4.1 yards a carry and scored 28 touchdowns. That’s pretty solid production for a back during a three-year stretch when his team was 14-34.

Worst: Lots of options here. I remember thinking that 2002 fourth-rounder Jonathan Wells was simply not an NFL back. Vernand Morency (2005, third), Wali Lundy (2006, sixth) and Tony Hollings (2003, second in the supplemental draft) were also not good. The Texans got just one season plus one game out of Morency, who couldn’t get ahead of Ron Dayne, Lundy or Samkon Gado. But the least value came from Hollings, who earned just 49 carries in three seasons. Pro Football Reference says his weighted career average ranks him 10,562nd since 1950.

Indianapolis Colts

Best: He takes a lot of grief because he’s not necessarily a big producer for fantasy leagues, but Joseph Addai (2006, first) is very effective at doing what’s asked when he’s healthy. He’s got a darting style that’s suited for the team, he’s a great pass-catcher and he’s very reliable in protecting Peyton Manning.

Worst: The team spent late picks on backs in 2002 (Brian Allen), 2005 (Anthony Davis) and 2006 (T.J. Rushing) and none of them did much. Hard to grade hard on such low picks, but it’s too early to talk Donald Brown (2009 first-rounder) here. Allen had one kick return in 2003 and Davis didn’t make the team. We’ll declare it a tie, acknowledging a hit with either would have qualified as a nice surprise.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Best: Maurice Jones-Drew is the centerpiece of the team and was a steal in the second round (60th overall) of the 2006 draft. The Jaguars passed on him at No. 28 in the first round, when they took tight end Marcedes Lewis. MJD qualifies as the face of the franchise.

Worst: LaBrandon Toefield and Alvin Pearman made contributions on a team that was in pretty good shape at the position with Fred Taylor and then Jones-Drew. So while it’s unfair to hit them for a seventh-rounder from 2008, it also means they’ve done pretty well. Three years into his career, Chauncey Washington finished 2010 on the practice squad of the St. Louis Rams.

Tennessee Titans

Best: You’d expect the 24th overall pick to be here and Chris Johnson certainly is the selection. He’s coming off a 1,364-yard, 12-TD season that was largely regarded as a failure because he’d set the bar so high with his 2,006-yard rushing season in 2009. He’s as fast as or faster than any running back in the league.

Worst: The Titans fell in love with Chris Henry at the combine and let his measurable outweigh his unspectacular performance at Arizona. The second-round pick the team spent on Henry in 2007 amounted to a waste. The Titans kept him for three seasons to try to justify spending the 50th overall pick on him, which was longer than the needed to know he was a strikeout. He played in just 10 games.

RTC: The Colts and The Curse

September, 5, 2010
Reading the coverage ...

Mike Silver’s annual owner rankings: Part One, Part Two.

Houston Texans

Kris Brown is on IR until he reaches an injury settlement, says John McClain.

The Texans are a team ready for takeoff, says Steve Wyche.

Richard Justice on Dan Orlovsky, with a tangent on Jim Lauderdale.

The secondary is a whole lot different, but that’s not a bad thing, says Alan Burge.

Indianapolis Colts

Mike Chappell takes on the Colts and The Curse.

Devin Moore won the kick returner job, says Chappell.

I participated in this roundtable with Tom Brew about whether the Colts will sweep the division again.

What Nate Dunlevy learned from cut day.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars cut ties with safeties Reggie Nelson and Gerald Alexander, writes Vito Stellino.

It’s time for lofty goals for the Jaguars, says Tania Ganguli.

Five first-year Jaguars to watch, from Ganguli.

Gene Smith provides hope, says Gene Frenette.

Tennessee Titans

Jim Wyatt talked to cut Titans Samkon Gado and Tye Hill.

Kenny Britt’s not guaranteed to be active on Sunday, says Wyatt.

Ahmard Hall has studied Lorenzo Neal, says Kyle Allen.

Tennessee Titans cutdown analysis

September, 4, 2010
Check here for a full list of Tennessee's roster moves.

Biggest surprises: Running back Samkon Gado ran ahead of LeGarrette Blount since he was added, but Gado lost out to the unproven rookie. Tight end Sean Ryan seemed like he’d stick as insurance for Craig Stevens, whose role is now quite important and who’s had concussion issues in the past. But the Titans parted ways with Ryan. Veteran cornerback Tye Hill was surprised he was let go, according to The Tennessean. Jeff Fisher says teams need at least four corners. If you count nickelback Vincent Fuller, a safety, in the equation the numbers are OK. But otherwise unproven Ryan Mouton is fourth.

No-brainers: Chris Simms often looked confused and flustered in preseason action, and it became clear that the Titans would stick with Kerry Collins as the veteran backup to Vince Young while looking to develop rookie Rusty Smith for down the road. Collins can run the scout team at practice and step in with no practice work if and when he’s needed, and Smith’s got a lot of good qualities, including a nice arm and swagger.

What’s next: The Titans will probably look for help at linebacker, where Gerald McRath’s four-game suspension is underway, and the primary alternative, Collin Allred, has not been durable lately. Could they pursue Oakland’s Thomas Howard in a trade? The depth right now beyond Stephen Tulloch, Will Witherspoon and Allred is Jamie Winborn, Stanford Keglar and long snapper Ken Amato. With receiver Paul Williams finally gone, Keglar can be the guy fans wonder about still being around.

RTC: Dallas Clark vows to be ready

August, 24, 2010
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Houston Texans

Halfway through the preseason, the Texans have not fixed their problems, says John McClain.

The Texans should limit Andre Johnson in the rest of the preseason, says Alan Burge.

Indianapolis Colts

Dallas Clark vows he will be ready for the opener and Jerraud Powers promises his foot is just sore, says Mike Chappell.

Bob Sanders is still working his way back into the flow, says Chappell.

Another take on Sanders from John Oehser.

The Colts added running back Allen Patrick and defensive back Glenn Sharpe and cut quarterback Tim Hiller, says Chappell.

There is no dire need for Jerry Hughes right now, but his time will come, says Michael Marot.

Peyton Manning and Stampede Blue are fired up about Indy’s defense.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Season-ticket holders are expected to snatch up remaining tickets for the Jaguars' opener against Denver before they go on sale Saturday, says Vito Stellino.

The Jaguars have not emphasized the run yet, says Tania Ganguli.

Joe Cullen’s voice follows Larry Hart, says Ganguli.

Aaron Kampman knows every detail about his reconstructed knee, says Ganguli.

The Jaguars think Deji Karim is a firecracker, says Gene Frenette.

Tennessee Titans

Vince Young outshined Matt Leinart, says Jim Wyatt.

After a rough couple months, it was good for Nashville to have a game, writes David Climer.

Damian Williams and Marc Mariani intensified the fight for the return jobs, says Wyatt.

Samkon Gado made an impressive debut, says Wyatt.

A good showing kept Alterraun Verner in the cornerback mix, says John Glennon.

Kerry Collins is worth his high price as the backup, says Joe Biddle.

Verner has a veteran presence, says Terry McCormick.
Reading the coverage ...

Houston Texans

The Texans and Steve Slaton are working on a cure for his fumble issue, says Jerome Solomon.

Gary Kubiak didn’t like the Texans’ last practice before they left for New Orleans, say John McClain and Jordan Godwin.

Last year’s fights don’t leave the Texans looking for more as they pair up with New Orleans, says McClain.

David Anderson has a flashback.

Jacoby Jones will be playing back in his hometown, says Anna Megan-Raley.

Ben Tate is out for the season.

Indianapolis Colts

John Chick is looking forward to a game back in Canada, says Mike Chappell. More to come on Chick from me shortly.

The final night practice of training camp drew a big crowd, say Chappell.

The Colts play out of the country for the first time since 2005 when they kickoff in Toronto Thursday, says Chappell.

Chappell takes a lot of questions about Curtis Painter.

Painter’s not inspiring much confidence, says Don Banks.

Austin Collie and Fili Moala both look better, says John Oehser.

An AFC down-cycle will help the Colts again, says Nate Dunlevy. I agree and have said the Colts’ fate may have a lot to do with just how much the rest of the conference has done to close the gap on Indy.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Marcedes Lewis may have been the star of camp, says Vito Stellino.

Zach Miller is frustrated after re-aggravating a mid-foot sprain and the Jags continue to look for linebacker depth, says Tania Ganguli.

A ticket update from Ganguli and Stellino. The Jags need to sell 3,000 more per game to avoid blackouts. That still sounds like a lot to me.

It’s make or break for David Garrard, says Jason Cole.

The offensive line will be the key, says Luke Sims.

Wayne Weaver is making sure preseason games aren’t blacked out, says Vic Ketchman.

Tennessee Titans

Jason McCourty holds an edge in the cornerback competition, says John Glennon.

The Titans waived Stafon Johnson and expect him to spend the year on injured reserve, say Jim Wyatt and Glennon.

Johnson remains upbeat, says Terry McCormick.

Glennon’s practice report.

Rusty Smith doesn’t lack confidence, says David Climer.

The Titans got some experience with Samkon Gado, says David Boclair.

The receiver competition is heating up, says Phil Brame.

Kerry Collins vs. Chris Simms isn’t even close, says Drexel Perry.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Being sympathetic to a player who suffered his second serious injury in a short span of time, Jeff Fisher kind of publicly soft-pedaled Stafon Johnson’s dislocated right ankle and broken fibula.

He said the Titans were not looking for an additional running back and talked of Johnson’s ability to return in eight to 12 weeks, leaving some to think he could actually return this season.

But there was no way the Titans were going to hold a roster spot that long for him, as Johnson still ranked as a long shot to make the roster if healthy.

Tuesday the Titans waived Johnson and signed Samkon Gado.

Once Johnson clears waivers he’ll go on IR with the Titans and spend the season rehabbing what Fisher called “major reconstructive surgery.” (It’s super rare for a player in such circumstances to be claimed. We saw the Jaguars do it with Browns cornerback Don Carey last year.)

Johnson said he could have died from injuries suffered when a weight-lifting accident crushed his throat at USC.

“I was supposed to have been gone,” he said.

Comparatively, he believes he can certainly handle this.

“Even though I had some down times where I didn’t know how I was going to make it or what I was going to do for the rest of my life, I’m here now,” he said. “…All the stuff I did that I got to this point, I’m happy, but I’m mad that it came down to this. But at the end of the day I’m good. It’s common injury, something a lot of people have come through and came out productive. For the most part I am very encouraged.

He said in a year he thinks he will be back to where he was before he suffered the injury in Seattle.

“I’m very confident,” he said. “All I needed was the confidence from my coaches, to have that in me to know that ‘we’re going to keep him around to rehab it and see what he has for next year.’ And I’m very confident in that.”