Posted: Tuesday April 19, 2005 4:29PM; Updated: Tuesday April 19, 2005 4:29PM
AFC South Draft Needs
Offensive tackle, outside linebacker, defensive end
The consensus is that the Texans need more protection for quarterback David Carr, and that's why so many draftniks want to give them Florida State offensive tackle Alex Barron ?- the draft's top-rated player at his position. But Houston also covets an impact player at rush linebacker in its 3-4 defensive formation after using last year's No. 1 on outside linebacker Jason Babin. But the best value when Houston's No. 13 pick comes up could be at defensive end, where a pass rusher such as Shawne Merriman or David Pollack could be had.
Inside linebacker, defensive tackle, guard
The Colts all but sat out free agency, so the draft is really the only way they're going to infuse their roster with any real change this offseason. Indy didn't re-sign middle linebacker Rob Morris because it wants to get more athletic in that that key spot in Tony Dungy's Cover-2 scheme. With their No. 29 pick, the Colts would love it if Florida middle linebacker Channing Crowder is still on the board. If there's no linebacker of value, a defensive interior player like USC's Shaun Cody would work well, too. Guard, where Rick DeMulling was lost, could receive third-round attention.
Defensive end, left offensive tackle, cornerback
Even with the addition of Reggie Hayward and Marcellus Wiley in free agency, the Jaguars could spend a first-day pick on defensive end, a position that was bedeviled by injury in 2004. But Jacksonville doesn't have to reach for anyone at No. 21, because with needs at both left offensive tackle and cornerback, there should be plenty of good options when its turn comes up. Tackles such as Oklahoma's Jammal Brown or Washington's Khalif Barnes might be in the mix, and any of the first round's three lower-rated cornerbacks also would be an upgrade.
Cornerback, right offensive tackle, receiver
With their roster so decimated by salary-cap purge, the Titans have such a long shopping list that they could draft almost anybody and rightfully claim it was a "need" pick. But there doesn't appear to be a bigger priority than at cornerback, where Samari Rolle left for Baltimore and Andre Dyson remains unsigned. If the Titans surprise us and don't take the first defensive player overall in the No. 6 spot (where most believe they have Miami CB Antrel Rolle slotted), a big receiver such as Southern Cal's Mike Williams could be enticing.