Each Wednesday leading up to the NFL draft (April 22-24), the ESPN.com blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today’s topic: Biggest needs revisited.
Scratch interior offensive line as any sort of priority after the free-agent addition of Wade Smith. That still leaves the Texans with a lengthy list of holes to fill: Running back, cornerback, free safety and defensive tackle are the big four, and it’s hard to put the first three in any order; they are all big needs of roughly equal size. Without addressing the corner hole created by the departure of Dunta Robinson and finding a clear cut choice at free safety, it’s going to be awfully difficult to beat Peyton Manning and Indianapolis’ offense.
Do Adam Terry and Andy Alleman help alleviate concerns on the offensive line? Does J.D. Skolnitsky have a chance to be the third defensive end? We have no idea about the answers there, but I am not sure the Colts will alter their need list based on the addition of three players kicked to the curb by their old team. Not that they don’t make players out of such guys regularly. Offensive line, defensive end and depth at linebacker and corner are the areas I expect will be addressed.
Aaron Kampman takes the pressure off the Jaguars having to get a pass-rusher early. They are without a second round pick and if they don’t take an end with No. 10, there will not be a panic about waiting to the third round. Kassim Osgood strengthens special teams and gives the Jags another potential option at receiver, where they lack a playmaker beyond Mike Sims-Walker. End still is on the need list, along with linebacker, safety and an interior offensive lineman.
Will Witherspoon greatly reduces the pressure on the Titans to find another linebacker. I expect if they take one it’ll be a late, developmental pick. A quality first-round option would be tempting still, but not with the holes at cornerback and defensive end. Those two spots are the primary needs, along with a reliable return man. Beyond that, they’ll need an interior lineman if Kevin Mawae isn’t back and some safety depth would be a help.