NFL Draft Preview: AFC South

Read our complete 2006 NFL Draft Coverage!

Houston Texans
Current 1st Round Draft Position: 1st
Top Team Needs: OT, S, OG, CB

OT: The Texans biggest need the past few years has been at this position. QB David Carr has spent too much time on his back because of the lack of protection he’s received. Todd Wade is coming off knee injury that cut his 2005 season short. Chester Pitts isn’t a true LT. The Texans best move would be to trade down a few spots so they can take the best T in the draft, but it’s more likely they get one at the top of the second round.

S: Both Glenn Earl and C.C. Brown are okay, but not special. The Texans only generated 7 interceptions in 2005 and need a ball-hawker who can also make opposing WR’s fear going over the middle.

OG: While the signing of Mike Flanagan at C will allow Steve McKinney to move back to OG, and the return of Todd Wade put Zach Wiegert back to OG as well, there is a definite need for quality depth that can be groomed to take over.

CB: Dunta Robinson needs to make more plays as his total of 1 INT from 2005 is unacceptable. Phillip Buchanon hasn’t been able to stay healthy or show he’s capable of being a starter. Nickel back DeMarcus Faggins is best suited in that role and not as a starter either. A top CB would certainly help Robinson out.

Indianapolis Colts
Current 1st Round Draft Position: 30th
Top Team Needs: RB, LB, OG, DT

RB: Losing Edgerrin James to the Arizona Cardinals in free agency has left a gaping hole at this position. Dominic Rhodes is penciled in as the starter, but it’s very questionable if he can hold up to the pounding of being the complete back James was. Neither Rhodes, nor James Mungro are big or powerful RB’s and the Colts, even if they go to a platoon system at the position, need someone either with size, or more complete skills than what’s currently on the roster. Because of the Colts low draft number in each round, it’s more likely they reach for a RB in round one.

LB: With David Thornton being signed by division rival Tennessee, the Colts have a hole at OLB. Cato June and Gary Brackett anchor the other two starting spots and both are excellent. The quality of the backups at all 3 positions could use an upgrade. LB is likely a day one priority for the Colts.

OG: Jake Scott is developing into a fine G and Ryan Lilja is adequate, but both are a bit undersized. A road grader is needed for the Colts to be able to run the ball up the middle. Last year’s 4th round pick, Dylan Gandy, could push Lilja for a starting job, but it also wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Colts take a G on day one.

DT: The Colts boast a solid starting tandem of Montae Reagor and Corey Simon, but lost Larry Triplett in free agency. Considering the way the Colts shuffle players in and out along the DL, they need someone who can be part of that rotation so neither Simon nor Reagor get worn down. While this is important, it’s more likely to be addressed on day 2.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Current 1st Round Draft Position: 28th
Top Team Needs: LB, TE, OG, RB

LB: Replacing Akin Ayodele on the outside is a top priority for the team. Pat Thomas and Jorge Cordova are scheduled to battle it out for the moment, but both are better for situational purposes than as regular starters. Mike Peterson anchors the middle and few are better, but a playmaker on the outside opposite Daryl Smith should be a first day priority.

TE: Kyle Brady can block and disappointing George Wrighster has never caught more than 13 passes in a season. Wrighster’s a restricted free agent and while expected to sign his minimum tender offer, he’s not the answer. The Jaguars could use a good pass catching TE to help out their passing game and with this being a good TE draft, I’d be surprised if they didn’t take one on the first day.

OG: Chris Naeole and Vince Manuwai are very good, but the depth behind them is suspect. There’s a chance the Jaguars are hoping to use free agent (and former 1st round bust for the Buffalo Bills) Mike Williams as a top backup at both OT and OG. If they can get him to live up to half of his hype, this position might not be bad off. But since Williams has never developed, they’ll likely hedge their bet with a G on day 2.

RB: Fred Taylor is 30 years old and injury prone. Greg Jones has good power, but isn’t speedy. Alvin Pearman is a decent 3rd down RB. LaBrandon Toefield has never developed as hoped. While this position isn’t necessarily a “need” at the moment, it will be very soon, and Jacksonville will probably take a RB in the middle rounds.

Tennessee Titans
Current 1st Round Draft Position: 3rd
Top Team Needs: OT, LB, QB, C

OT: Michael Roos will move over to LT to replace Brad Hopkins. But that leaves a huge hole at RT where David Stewart and Daniel Loper are currently expected to challenge for the job. As much as this is the most glaring need for the Titans, and at #3 they are likely to see the best OT in the draft still on the board, it would be a surprise if they took one in the first round. More likely they address this position at the top of round 2.

LB: The Titans were smart getting David Thornton from the Colts. They’ll move Peter Sirmon to the inside where they hope he’ll be able to make the adjustment. If he does, then they just need better quality depth. If he doesn’t, they need someone better then Robert Reynolds (who struggles in pass defense).

QB: This position really wouldn’t be a need if they can reconcile with Steve McNair. Even then, they have an excellent backup in Billy Volek. But the fact is that McNair only has a few years left, and he’s not likely to be with them past this season (and there’s even a good chance he isn’t on the roster in 2006) and the Titans aren’t sold on Volek as their starter of the future. Sitting at #3, it’s hard to see the Titans passing up one of the top 2 QB’s.

C: Kevin Mawae was signed to replace Justin Hartwig and while Mawae is considered to still be one of the top Centers in the league, he is 35 years old. The Titans should be looking to the draft to find a guy they can groom to replace him in a couple of years.

See Russ's other 2006 NFL Draft articles:

Russ Bliss is FantasyFootballStarters.com's exclusive fantasy football expert, a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, and for 10 years has been the radio host of "The Red Zone, Talking Fantasy Football and the NFL," in Phoenix, Arizona.

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