Needs Addressed: The Texans kept ending up on the back end of runs at their positions of need, so they kept trading down. Their desperation for offensive line help showed as they grabbed tackle Duane Brown about 20 picks earlier than expected, but by all accounts he’s the perfect fit for Alex Gibb’s zone blocking system. Houston appeared hamstrung by not having a second-round selection, as they could have added a stud running back (like Rashard Mendenhall) and still grabbed Brown as opposed to Brown and third-rounder Steve Slaton. Cornerback Antwaun Molden and linebacker Xavier Adibi were good value picks who will contribute immediately.
Fantasy Impact: Slaton would be a great complement to an inside runner like Ron Dayne; however, the Texans released Dayne and will team the undersized Slaton with aging Ahman Green and brittle Chris Brown. The hope is that Duane Brown will keep Matt Schaub upright and open holes for whatever Houston back is healthy. It’s not a sexy pick, or even one that adheres to most draft value boards; however,if Schaub stays healthy and has time to get the ball to Andre Johnson the Texans look like geniuses.
Overall Grade: C
Needs Addressed: When you consider that Indy’s 2008 first-rounder was used to procure Tony Ugoh last April, the Colts were ahead of the game before Roger Goodell announced the first name. They used three more picks to address offensive line needs, and all three of their selections can play center; this is less a shot at Jeff Saturday than perhaps an indication the Colts value intelligence amongst their linemen, given that centers generally make the line calls and Peyton Manning has been known to change a play or two at the line of scrimmage. Linebacker Phillip Wheeler and defensive end Marcus Howard could contribute immediately, while tight ends Jacob Tamme and Tom Santi provide depth at a position that’s extremely valuable in the Indy scheme.
Fantasy Impact: Tamme is slated to provide Dallas Clark insurance, while Santi should fill the role vacated by Ben Utecht. Would it be at all surprising if Mike Hart—devalued coming out of college but a perfect fit for Indy’s offense—provided 6-10 touches of relief for Joseph Addai as a rookie? Pierre Garcon brings athleticism and a D-III background to a team where he can watch and learn from Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne; it wouldn’t be a stretch to see him garner playing time in four-receiver sets by season’s end.
Overall Grade: B
Needs Addressed: The order of the day for the Jaguars was clearly to add players who can get to the passer, and in Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves you’d have to believe they accomplished their mission. Jacksonville found great value in a pair of day two Williamses—linebacker Thomas and cornerback Trae; both could contribute sooner rather than later. The Jags didn’t address depth needs along the offensive line, but with only five picks there was only so much they could do.
Fantasy Impact: Opting to use trades and free agency to address their wide receiver position, the Jaguars did very little on draft day to directly impact the fantasy value of their players. Seventh-round selection Chauncey Washington replaces LaBrandon Toefield as running back depth; he might also take some of Maurice Jones-Drew’s return duties, potentially freeing up MoJo for a larger share of the from-scrimmage workload.
Overall Grade: B-
Needs Addressed: Maybe Jeff Fisher figures that Vince Young is so inaccurate it doesn’t matter who he lines up at wide receiver; maybe the Titans are bringing back the wishbone. The pick of speedy running back Chris Johnson gives the Titans a thunder-lightning backfield but to a certain extent admits last year’s second-round pick of Chris Henry was a mistake. Tennessee also failed to address Young’s woeful lack of targets until stumbling upon great value in Lavelle Hawkins in round four. Third-rounder Craig Stevens is more of a blocking tight end—or at least he’ll be asked to be with Alge Crumpler and Bo Scaife already on the Titans roster.
Fantasy Impact: If you enjoyed how Chris Brown stole the occasional touchdown from LenDale White last year, oftentimes without rhyme or reason, then you’ll get a kick out of the inside-outside ground game we anticipate the Titans will employ this season. Do you think Young would have liked throwing to Limas Sweed or James Hardy instead of Justin Gage or Justin McCareins?
Overall Grade: D+
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