AFC South Draft Grades
11. J.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin: The Texans are making the switch to the 3-4 defense, but severely lacked the personnel to do so. Watt is a great pick here as he should be able to start from day 1 at DE.
42. Brooks Reed, DE, Arizona: The Texans needed to add a pass rusher to complement Mario Williams and might have found a very good one in Reed. Reed was a borderline 1st round talent so he is a good value at the 10th spot in the 2nd round.
60. Brandon Harris, CB, Miami: The Texans corners got routinely burned last season making this a huge need. Harris was considered a potential 1st rounder, and he has the ability to start from day one. He was well worth the 3rd and 5th round picks the Texans gave up to come up and get him.
127. Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech: After trading up from the 3rd round, the Texans moved back in this round 19 spots, picked up two 5th rounders while giving up a 6th rounder. Carmichael is a nice fit here and should be at least a nickel corner.
144. Shiloh Keo, S, Idaho: Keo is another great defensive pick up here, and a guy I think could start at SS within a year or two.
152. T.J. Yates, QB, North Carolina: Yates is an interesting backup quarterback option and a solid pick for this spot. I would have maybe added another upside player on defense.
214. Derek Newton, OT, Arkansas State: Newton is a nice value OT here in the 7th round, he has some upside and should be a depth guy for the Texans.
254. Cheta Ozougwu, DE, Rice: Mr. Irrelevant was a nice solid pass rushing pickup for the Texans here.
The Texans did exactly what they had to do and addressed their porous defense with their top 5 picks. I think Houston found 3 instant starters and a couple other significant contributors in this class. This is what the doctor ordered and really could make the Texans playoff contenders next season.
22. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College: Great pick here for the Colts as they found their LT, and Peyton’s blindside protector.
49. Benjamin Ijalana, OT, Villanova: The Colts needed to get bookend tackles to keep Manning upright, and Ijalana has the versatility to kick inside if he can’t cut it at tackle.
87. Drake Nevis, DT, LSU: This is a great pick for the Colts, they had a huge need at DT, and Nevis was a 2nd round talent in my book.
119. Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse: This might be a slight reach for Carter, but the position was a need. Last year the Colts went through multiple running backs as the injuries piled up, so adding another capable back is a good fit.
188. Chris L. Rucker, CB, Michigan State: Not a huge need, but Rucker is a nice value here, and the Colts know for them to succeed they are likely going to have to go through some very good passing teams, making secondary depth a primary concern.
While the Colts didn’t have a full set up picks, they did a great job in this draft. Their top 3 picks should all be instant starters and impact players. They filled their 3 biggest needs and got some solid players later as well. This class should really strengthen the Colts postseason chances and could be enough to push them back to the Super Bowl.
10. Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri: Overall I like Gabbert, but I just don’t know if it makes sense for the Jags, a team who was 8-8 last year, to give up two premium picks to grab a quarterback. David Garrard isn’t a star, but he also isn’t what is holding this team back. This is a major risky pick, and one that could come back to haunt the Jags.
76. William Rackley, OG, Lehigh: This is a nice value pick for the Jags and someone who could be able to start right away. He has major upside and should be a key part of that line for years to come.
114. Cecil Shorts, WR, Mount Union: Shorts is an interesting receiver, but there were probably better options on the board at this pick.
121. Christopher Pronsinski, S, Wyoming: Again another need position for the Jags, but Jacksonville passed up a number of better options.
147. Roderick Issac, CB, Middle Tennessee State: This was another reach pick that targeted a need for the Jags.
I hope the Jags know what they are doing because I sure don’t. While Gabbert might be the quarterback of the future, Jacksonville paid a huge price for him and basically punted on this season. Throughout the rest of the draft the Jags addressed some needs positions, but they pretty much overdrafted each time. I know in the past that has worked for them before, but I don’t have a good feeling about this class.
8. Jake Locker, QB, Washington: I know Locker got a lot of hype, but really I don’t see it. He is a project and the type of guy that will need to sit 2-3 years, before he even really has a chance of being successful. I thought Locker was a borderline top 50 player and the Titans are taking him in the top 10. This is the type of pick that will set a franchise back 5 years and one I think they will regret.
39. Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA: I like this Ayers pick here, though I thought he was a better fit in the 3-4. If they can take advantage of his pass rush skills then this will be a great pick.
77. Jurrell Casey, DT, USC: Tennessee has needed a DT since Haynesworth left two years ago and might have found their answer in Casey. I think this is slightly for Casey, but still a solid pick.
109. Colin McCarthy, ILB, Miami: This is a fantastic pick for the Titans as their starting MLB Stephen Tulloch is an impending free agent. McCarthy has big time upside and this is a great value for him.
130. Jamie Harper, RB, Clemson: This is a slight surprise as the Titans don’t have a major need at RB, but it is a good value pick.
142. Karl Klug, DE, Iowa: Klug is a nice value pick here, he can be a run stuffing DE, and kick inside on passing downs. He might never be a starter, but he can be a nice rotational player.
212. Zach Clayton, DT, Auburn: A bit of a reach here, but as I mentioned earlier they needed DT help so it’s not a bad pick.
251. Tommie Campbell, S, California (Pa.): Campbell is a nice upside player and could be a special teamer.
The Titans made a huge reach and risk pick in the first round with Locker, but after that I thought they had a strong draft. The Locker pick though will likely comeback to bite this team.