Plucked fresh from Mel Kiper’s Grade A mock draft, here are three-rounds of picks for each team of the AFC South, a snippet of his analysis from the Insider file and my reflections.
Rd 1 (26) OT Bobby Massie, Ole Miss
Rd 2 (58) WR Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
Rd 3 (76) LB Bobby Wagner, Utah St.
Some of Kiper’s analysis: One of the quiet stories of the offseason is the work Houston will have to do on the offensive line to keep its very efficient run game rolling. Massie is a guy moving up my board, and if I'm Houston I know where my bread is buttered and make sure things up front are in good shape. As a caveat, I'll say I'm really tempted here by Coby Fleener, the tight end out of Stanford. Houston lost a good one this offseason in Joel Dreessen.
Kuharsky: John McClain of the Houston Chronicle is also steering away from a first-round wide receiver, mentioning Kevin Zeitler, Cordy Glenn and Massie. It makes sense. The depth at right guard and right tackle after the departure of Mike Brisiel and the release of Eric Winston should be a major concern. Wagner is intended to replace the traded DeMeco Ryans. I think between Daryl Sharpton, Bradie James and Tim Dobbins, the replacement is on the roster.
Rd 1 (1) QB Andrew Luck, Stanford
Rd 2 (34) DT Jerel Worthy, Michigan St.
Rd 3 (64) WR Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma
Some of Kiper’s analysis: Worthy runs a little hot and cold, but when he's on the warm side of that equation, he is a first-round talent at defensive tackle the Colts can say they got in Round 2. Roll the film when he's up against Notre Dame, Michigan or Georgia last year and see how hard it is for even some really good offensive linemen to keep him in place. The Colts have to stop the run, and it starts inside.
Kuharsky: That second pick carries a ton of intrigue, and the Colts can go any number of directions based on what’s happened in the draft's first 33 picks. Ryan Grigson just talked of being OK at nosetackle with Brandon McKinney and Antonio Johnson. So that about ensures a defensive tackle like Worthy, right?
Rd 1 (7) DE Melvin Ingram, South Carolina (or trade down)
Rd 2 (38) WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
Rd 3 (70) CB Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina
Some of Kiper’s analysis: The Jags need pass-rush help so bad, even if Justin Blackmon were somehow still there at No. 7, I'm not sure they pull the trigger. Ingram, if he can do anything, can rush the passer. The guy is wonderfully versatile, and even with his short arms he disengages really well and falls back on an arsenal of moves. This is not an elite class of pass-rushers, in my opinion, but the Jags can say they got the one who grades out best as of draft day. You can do worse at No. 7.
Kuharsky: Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union reports the Jaguars appear to like Hill, and that he could be in play if they trade out of No. 7. If that’s the case, they’d be thrilled to still get him in the second round. Kiper says he needs a lot of refinement. Jacksonville sure could use an immediate impact guy for Blaine Gabbert, and maybe his speed and size can affect coverages and produce plays even as he learns.
Rd 1 (20) CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama
Rd 2 (52) DE Vinny Curry, Marshall
Rd 3 (82) C Ben Jones, Georgia
Some of Kiper’s analysis: Knocking out the needs here, with good value at each spot. Kirkpatrick is ready to start. The star out of Alabama has uncommon length at near 6-3 and plays with an edge. He'll come in willing to take on top receivers. After some misses in recent drafts, the Titans need to keep going back to the pass rush.
Kuharsky: The Titans could take a cornerback at No. 20, but I don’t think it will be because they don’t think they have starting caliber people as they are. It’ll be more about value. I like end and center picks. If the Titans have Kamerion Wimbley, Derrick Morgan, Dave Ball and Curry as their top four ends, that’s not bad. And Jones should be able to knock Eugene Amano from the lineup.