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NFL Draft: Team Needs - AFC South
John Tuvey
March 25, 2008
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Houston Texans

Primary Needs
Expansion draftee Tony Boselli never played a snap for the Texans, and they've been in desperate need of offensive line help ever since. That still holds true in 2008, as the severe injury to left tackle Charles Spencer has left them with a gaping hole to fill-a most critical spot if they wish to protect their investment in quarterback Matt Schaub. The trade to acquire Schaub cost Houston their second-round pick, which is unfortunate because the Texans have three dramatic needs to be filled; in addition to line help, the club needs secondary help-in particular a cornerback in case Dunta Robinson is slow to return from his injury-and a legitimate running back.

Fantasy Impact
The Texans have indicated they won't take a running back with either of their first two picks; if that is the case, the biggest fantasy impact to come out of Draft Day 2008 will be whomever they tab to protect Schaub's backside and open holes for Chris Brown and/or Ahman Green. This draft is relative deep at the running back position, so if there's still talent on the board in the fourth round Gary Kubiak could follow the model established in Denver by picking up a late-round impact player. The Texans could also seek a tight end to pair with Owen Daniels, and there's still a possibility that Houston's quarterback depth could lend itself to a trade of Sage Rosenfels; the current asking price is a second-round pick.

Potential Targets
Houston would love to see Vanderbilt tackle Chris Williams or cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin of Troy or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of Tennessee State still on the board at No. 18. Depending on which direction they go in round one, they’d likely be choosing from amongst corners like USC’s Terrell Thomas, Iowa’s Charles Godfrey, and LSU’s Chevis Jackson or tackles such as Virginia Tech’s Duane Brown or Connecticut’s Donald Thomas in the third. Second-day possibilities include running backs Mike Hart of Michigan, Thomas Brown of Georgia, and Steve Slaton of West Virginia as well as tight ends like Craig Stevens of Cal and Jacob Tamme of Kentucky.

Indianapolis Colts

Primary Needs
Few teams work the draft with the success of Bill Poulian and the Colts. They consistently hit-and hit big-with their first-rounders, and on their Super Bowl champion team of a couple years ago they had more second-day and rookie free agent picks on their roster than any other playoff team. Indy's most glaring needs are on the defensive side of the ball, specifically among the front seven, but need has rarely dictated their pick in the past and they could just as easily stockpile more offensive firepower or bulk up Peyton's Manning protection. This year's first-round selection was dealt to San Francisco last year for pick that became Tony Ugoh, which in hindsight was an incredibly shrewd move.

Fantasy Impact
Indy will be on the lookout for a complement to Joseph Addai, a replacement for departed free agent tight end Ben Utecht, and depth at wide receiver. The immediate fantasy upside for any offensive player the Colts add would be a contribution similar to what last year's first-round pick, Anthony Gonzalez, provided-and truth be told, even with Marvin Harrison out for much of the year Gonzalez failed to live up to somewhat lofty fantasy expectations. The Colts may also look for reinforcements along the line after Jake Scott left for Tennessee.

Potential Targets
The expectation is that the Colts will use their earlier picks on defensive help, with rush ends like Georgia Tech's Darrell Robertson or Georgia's Marcus Howard or Cover-2 linebackers such as Cliff Avril of Purdue or Gary Guyton of Georgia Tech. Justin Forsett of Cal could be tabbed as a complement to Addai, and a deep class of receivers could yield Will Franklin of Missouri, Jerome Simpson of Coastal Carolina, or Maurice Purify of Nebraska. Potential tight end/H-back options include Purdue's Dustin Keller, Missouri's Martin Rucker, or Kentucky's Jacob Tamme.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Primary Needs
Despite throwing first-round picks at the wide receiver position three times already this decade (R. Jay Soward, anyone?), the Jags have little to show for it. Offseason moves to acquire Jerry Porter and Troy Williamson indicate Jacksonville is heading a different direction this time around, most likely towards a pass-rushing defensive end. The Jaguars also have a history of taking offensive linemen in rounds two and three and could add depth at that position on Draft Day 2008. Expect the bulk of Jack Del Rio's attention to be focused on defense, with safeties and linebackers floating to the top of Jacksonville's draft board.

Fantasy Impact
Unless your league's scoring system tallies points for offensive line depth and camp bodies at the skill positions, the Jaguars' 2008 draft will be devoid of fantasy value. There's a possibility a tight end could come in and contribute, especially since 2006 first-round pick Marcedes Lewis has had more than his share of injuries, but it will be primarily IDP-leaguers who will be paying attention to Jacksonville's draft.

Potential Targets
The 26th overall selection might get the Jaguars in on the tail end of the half-dozen or so defensive ends expected to go off the board in Round One; Auburn's Quentin Groves seems to be a popular option in mock drafts. Linebackers such as Jerod Mayo of Tennessee and Geno Hayes of Florida State and versatile defensive backs like Iowa's Charles Godfrey may also find a home in Jacksonville. Offensively, bigger tight ends like Tennessee's Brad Cottam or Michigan State's Kellen Davis could join the jags, and Jacksonville would love to add line depth in the second or third round if talent such as UTEP's Oneil Cousins or Pitt's Mike McGlynn slips down the draft board.

Tennessee Titans

Primary Needs
The Titans' overwhelming need is to provide Vince Young with more offensive help-specifically, some play-making pass-catchers. Of course, that was the primary need last year when Jeff Fisher eschewed wideouts like Dwayne Bowe and Anthony Gonzalez to take Michael Griffin. Not that the selection was a mistake, but the Titans' subsequent selections of Paul Williams, Chris Davis, and Joel Filani left Tennessee seeking to fill the same void one year later. The free-agency signing of Alge Crumpler relegates the need for a tight end to the back burner, so what picks the Titans don't use on wideouts will most likely be redirected to the defensive line. Between disgruntled franchise defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and the gutting of Tennessee's defensive ends via free agency, the Titans will need to rebuild that portion of their roster on draft day.

Fantasy Impact
Even though Young is hardly the most gifted passer in the league, even though the Titans are predominantly a running team, even though receivers usually take two or three seasons before emerging as a fantasy entity. if the Titans use a first-round pick on a wideout that player will show up on the fantasy radar. It's conceivable that first and second-round wide receiver picks could unseat Justin Gage and Roydell Williams by season's end, and any tight end the Titans call on draft day could contend for playing time as well. With both Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy gone and Jevon Kearse a mere shell of his former self, astute IDP fans could find some sacks in Tennessee's rookie class as well.

Potential Targets
The Titans could have their pick of the wide receiver litter this season, unless Matt Millen decides to dip into that pool one more time. Young would benefit from a bigger target, and if Malcolm Kelly's knee injury scares off the Bills the former Sooner could find himself in Nashville. Young could also have a Texas reunion with Limas Sweed, another bigger target with injury concerns. Michigan State's Devin Thomas is the fastest-rising receiver on most draft boards and would also warrant consideration. Don't be surprised if Tennessee uses a later pick on a receiver as well; mid-round options include Vanderbilt's Earl Bennett and Coastal Carolina's Jerome Simpson.


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