AFC South: Texans hope draftees can put team over the top

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NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2010 NFL Draft. Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division.

Texans' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
20
CB
Alabama
2
58
RB
Auburn
3
81
DT
Arizona
4
102
LB
Miami (Fla.)
4
118
TE
Wisconsin
5
144
CB
Northwestern
6
187
G
Colorado State
6
197
KR
LSU
7
227
TE
Pittsburgh
» Texans' pick-by-pick analysis

Houston Texans: B

The Texans entered the draft with two big needs (cornerback and running back), and they addressed both areas with their first two selections. The decision to opt for Kareem Jackson over Kyle Wilson came as a surprise to some, but the Alabama standout is an exceptional player with a solid overall game that fits the team's scheme. In Ben Tate, the Texans pick up the rugged runner they desperately need to effectively run the ball between the tackles. If the Texans are able to get some production from a pair of intriguing sleepers (Trindon Holliday and Dorin Dickerson), this year's draft class may provide the boost the team needs to finally get into the postseason.

Key picks:

Round 1 (20th overall): Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
Jackson had been flying up the charts in the weeks leading up to the draft, and his versatile skill set is a nice fit in the Texans' scheme. While the argument will be made that Kyle Wilson is more talented than Jackson, it's hard to argue against taking a solid player well groomed in a pro-style defensive system.

» Video: Texans select Jackson | Jackson's combine workout

Round 2 (58th overall): Ben Tate, RB, Auburn
Tate is ideally suited to play in Gary Kubiak's zone-based running game. As a "one-cut" back with good speed and power, he excels at running between the tackles and is an aggressive finisher. With Steve Slaton unable to carry the load, Tate could be a vital contributor in the Texans' running game this season.

» Video: Texans select Tate | Tate's combine workout | Meet Tate

Round 7 (227th overall): Dorin Dickerson, TE, Pittsburgh
Dickerson is an undersized H-back with explosive skills. He caught 49 passes for Pittsburgh last season, 10 of which went for TDs. It is hard to understand why he fell all the way to the seventh round. He's an athletic mismatch, and the Texans got a steal.

» Video: Dickerson's combine workout

Colts' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
31
DE
TCU
2
63
LB
Iowa
3
94
CB
Southern California
4
129
G
Tennessee
5
162
TE
Oklahoma
7
238
DT
Cincinnati
7
240
LB
Clemson
7
246
DB
Indiana
» Colts' pick-by-pick analysis

Indianapolis Colts: B

The Colts have a roster without any glaring weaknesses, so the team added several intriguing prospects who will be groomed for key roles down the line. First-round pick Jerry Hughes will work behind Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis as a situational pass rusher, and his classmates, Pat Angerer and Kevin Thomas, will also serve as apprentices at their respective positions. Given the team's success hitting on late-round picks, it is quite possible that Kavell Conner or Ray Fisher will emerge as key contributors at some point, too.

Key picks:

Round 1 (31st overall): Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU
Although Indianapolis retains Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, it still needed another rusher to alleviate some of the pressure on the duo. In Hughes, the Colts get a hard-working edge rusher with outstanding quickness and burst. The Colts have the luxury of slowly integrating Hughes into the lineup, and can groom him into a starter after a year or two.

» Video: Colts select Hughes | Hughes' combine workout | Meet Hughes

Round 2 (63rd overall): Pat Angerer, LB, Iowa
Angerer was very productive as a collegian, and shows outstanding instincts for the position. Though he isn't over athletic, he plays faster than he tests and is an underrated playmaker. He gives the Colts much-needed depth.

» Video: Angerer's combine workout | Meet Angerer

Round 3 (94th overall): Kevin Thomas, CB, Southern California
Thomas had been one of the stars of the pre-draft season, and his intriguing skill set could flourish in the Colts' zone-based scheme.

» Video: Thomas' combine workout

Titans' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
16
DE
Georgia Tech
3
77
WR
Southern California
3
97
LB
Georgia
4
104
CB
UCLA
5
148
DB
Utah
6
176
QB
Florida Atlantic
6
206
SS
Florida State
7
222
WR
Montana
7
241
DT
Brown
» Titans' pick-by-pick analysis

Tennessee Titans: B-

The Titans needed to identify players capable of providing instant production, and their early selections have that potential. Derrick Morgan is a Day 1 starter who will thrive in the Titans' aggressive defensive system. While Damian Williams is unlikely to start at receiver, his ability to provide an impact as a punt returner made him a sensible selection in the third round. Rennie Curran, Alterraun Verner and Myron Rolle will add toughness to the team's special teams, and one could emerge as a starter with a strong training camp. The Titans' draft class doesn't dazzle, but it provides the team with key contributors at every level.

Key picks:

Round 1 (16th overall): Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech
As a high-motor pass rusher with a quick first step, Morgan gives the Titans a legitimate threat off the edge. Additionally, he is a stout player against the run, and shows the potential to be an effective every down defensive end. Given the losses of Jevon Kearse and Kyle Vanden Bosch, Morgan should play a big role for the Titans as a rookie.

» Video: Titans select Morgan | Morgan's combine workout | Meet Morgan

Round 3 (77th overall): Damian Williams, WR, Southern California
Williams is an outstanding pass catcher with good receiving skills. Additionally, he is a good punt returner with big-play skills in the open field. Given his versatility and solid overall skills, Williams is a good value pick at this point.

» Video: Williams' combine workout | Meet Williams

Round 3 (97th overall): Rennie Curran, LB, Georgia
Though Curran is considered diminutive by pro standards, his outstanding instincts and awareness allow him to compensate for his size deficiency. With the Titans in desperate need of more playmakers on defense, Curran could step into a big role as a rookie.

» Video: Curran's combine workout | Meet Curran

Jaguars' draft picks
Rd
Sel. #
Player
Pos.
School
1
10
DE
California
3
74
DT
Louisiana Tech
5
143
DE
Central Arkansas
5
153
DE
Murray State
6
180
RB
Southern Illinois
6
203
KR
James Madison
» Jaguars' pick-by-pick analysis

Jacksonville Jaguars: C+

The Jaguars suffered through 2009 without much of a pass rush upfront, and the team persistently attacked the weakness this offseason by committing most of their draft to the defensive line. While the pick of Tyson Alualu drew criticism in many circles, he was rated as a first-round talent by several teams, and his high-motor style is needed on a defensive line that generates little push. The additions of D'Anthony Smith, Larry Hart and Austen Lane reflect the commitment of the team to get younger and more athletic along the line. Although the Jaguars' moves have increased the scrutiny on GM Gene Smith, the esteemed personnel man may enjoy the last laugh if his bold moves revitalize the team's underperforming defense.

Key picks:

Round 1 (10th overall): Tyson Alualu, DE, California
Though Alualu was expected to come off the board in the first round, no one anticipated him going before the likes of Derrick Morgan, Jason Pierre-Paul and Sergio Kindle. With the recent trade of Quentin Groves opening up a spot at defensive end, Alualu gives the Jaguars a high-motor rusher to pair with Aaron Kampman on pass downs.

» Video: Jaguars select Alualu | Alualu's combine workout | Meet Alualu

Round 3 (74th overall): D'Anthony Smith, DT, Louisiana Tech
As a rangy athlete with good size, Smith is capable of occupying double teams at the point to free up linebackers to roam inside. After watching their defense fall from the ranks of the elite, the Jaguars have added several pieces to head a defensive revival in Jacksonville.

Round 5 (143rd overall): Larry Hart, DE, Central Arkansas
Given the unit's disappointing performance, it is not surprising that the Jaguars have committed several picks to rebuilding the defensive line.


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