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2011 NFL Draft Recap - AFC South
John Tuvey
May 17, 2011
 

NFC North  |  NFC South  |  NFC East  |  NFC West  |  AFC North  |  AFC South  |  AFC East  |  AFC West

TENNESSEE TITANS

NEEDS FILLED — With Vince Young and Kerry Collins not expected back in Tennessee this season, the Titans identified the player they wanted and jumped aggressively on Jake Locker with the eighth overall pick. They also hit on needs with several picks after that, most notably linebackers Akeem Ayers (2.7) and Colin McCarthy (4.12) and defensive linemen Jurrell Casey (3.13), Karl Klug (5.11), and Zach Clayton (7.9).

NEEDS IGNORED — The Titans were expected to pursue cornerback help, but instead opted to continue developing 2009 picks Jason McCourty and Ryan Mouton and 2010 fourth-rounder Alterraun Verner. In fact, the only defensive back Tennessee selected in the entire draft was safety Tommie Campbell, the 48th pick in the seventh round.

BEST PICK — Tennessee hit for value with both Ayers, projected on some boards as high as the mid-first round, and Casey, who sported a second-round grade on many boards.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY — It’s difficult to gauge where exactly Locker’s draft stock was heading into the draft, but the Titans felt good enough about him that they bypassed Nick Fairley and Prince Amukamara to take him.

FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — While the Titans would prefer for Locker to get a year of clipboard duty to acclimate to the pro game, with only Rusty Smith and Brett Ratliff currently slated to join him at training camp they may not have that luxury. That could have an impact on the fantasy fates of Kenny Britt, Justin Gage, and Nate Washington. Either way, the offense still flows through Chris Johnson, though fourth-round pick Jamie Harper could compete for change-of-pace carries with Javon Ringer and Stafon Johnson.

HOUSTON TEXANS

NEEDS FILLED — Though their method may have been slightly unconventional, the bottom line is that the Texans successfully upgraded the league’s worst pass defense. They worked front-to-back, adding five-technique end J.J. Watt and rush linebacker Brooks Reed with their first two picks before moving back up to get cornerback Brandon Harris in the late second. Houston’s next two picks, cornerback Rashad Carmichael (4.30) and strong safety Shiloh Keo (5.13) also addressed the secondary.

NEEDS IGNORED — The Texans are still thin at nose tackle in their new 3-4 defense and failed to add one with any of their eight selections.

BEST PICK — Nothing against the Watt selection, which was solid at No. 11, but the Texans really hit on value with their next two picks. Reed and Harris had both been talked about as potential first-rounders; not only did Houston snare them in the second round, they also addressed critical positions in the revamped defense.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY — Initially it looked as if Houston had dropped the ball by passing on Prince Amukamara with such a glaring need in their secondary; however, they stuck to their draft board and made out like bandits. They did, however, pass on potential nose tackle Jerrell Powe multiple times, the most puzzling being to select quarterback T.J. Yates at 5.21.

FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — Yates was the only “skill” position player—and one of only two offensive selections—in Houston’s 2011 draft class; if he’s on the field this season it will be bad news for all of the Texans’ fantasy-relevant players.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

NEEDS FILLED — The Jaguars traded up with Washington to snag their quarterback of the future, and despite giving up their second-round pick they were still able to address some other key needs: guard (third-rounder Will Rackley), wide receiver (fourth-rounder Cecil Shorts), and safety (fourth-rounder Chris Prosinski).

NEEDS IGNORED — Where’s the pass rusher? Even with the traded second-rounder and committing the other early picks to Gabbert and Rackley, the Jaguars had ample opportunity to pick up someone to pressure the opposing quarterback and failed to do so.

BEST PICK — Gabbert was mentioned as a possible top overall pick and an almost certain top-five selection, so getting him at 10--with the ability to sit him behind David Garrard for a season to acclimate to the NFL--has to be viewed as a shrewd move. And getting Rackley, a projected second-rounder, to help keep Gabbert upright made parting with that second-round pick in the deal to move up much more palatable.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY — Allen Bailey was still on the board when the Jaguars drafted Rackley in Round 3, but that’s quibbling. However, 11 defensive ends went after Jacksonville used its 4.17 on Shorts--nine of them after the Jags made their final pick of the draft at 5.16. So there was talent to be had; the Jaguars just opted not to add it to their roster.

FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — The plan is for Gabbert to sit behind Garrard, but at minimum he’ll push him and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he were starting by mid-season. Shorts is also expected to see the field sooner rather than later, battling for a spot in the receiver rotation that has only Mike Thomas, Jason Hill, and Jarrett Dillard currently ahead of him on the depth chart.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

NEEDS FILLED — Indy wound up with only five picks in the 2011 draft, so it’s a good thing they didn’t have a ton of needs. They addressed Job No. 1--keeping Peyton Manning upright—with tackle Anthony Castonzo in the first round and guard Ben Ijalana in the second, and still managed to take care of their biggest need on the other side of the ball with defensive tackle Drake Nevis in Round 3.

NEEDS IGNORED — While those aforementioned five picks were used wisely, it didn’t leave Indy room to address needs at linebacker, where they could lose Clint Session to free agency, or wide receiver, where they were gutted by injuries last season.

BEST PICK — Manning and the Colts couldn’t be happier about Castonzo, the most pro-ready tackle in the draft, falling into their lap with the 22nd pick. Ijalana at 2.17 was a value as well, one Indy felt compelled to trade up four spots to secure. And Indy’s other three picks were all ranked a round ahead of where they were selected, so there was value all around on the Colts’ draft board.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY — As noted above, Indianapolis struck value with each pick; every opportunity that presented itself, the Colts’ brain trust capitalized on.

FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — Obviously, with two new body guards Manning has to be thrilled with Indy’s draft. But he’ll also like fourth-rounder Delone Carter, who compares physically to Ray Rice and boasts pass catching and--more importantly--pass protection skills far beyond the typical rookie. With Joseph Addai a potential free agent and Donald Brown perennially underachieving, Carter could see significant touches earlier than many expect.

NFC North  |  NFC South  |  NFC East  |  NFC West  |  AFC North  |  AFC South  |  AFC East  |  AFC West


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