Thanks much to those of you who responded to Saturday’s mailbag by firing me a lot of quality questions on the Texans, Colts and Jaguars. They prompted this bonus mailbag made up from questions that arrived only after your teams drew blanks.
I encourage your continued participation -- as I mention over and over, I can only answer the questions I get. (Direct access to mailbag here.)
Jason in Tallahassee/Jacksonville, Fla., writes: Who would be likely trade partners for the Jaguars to trade with? I think GM Gene Smith will trade down multiple times this April and I wouldn't be surprised if he completely traded out of the first round to recoup the spent second and to gain a handful of mid-round picks. What do you think?
Paul Kuharsky: I think it’s possible someone would want to move up to No. 10 for C.J. Spiller. But it’s very difficult to predict trade partners without knowing who’s taken with the first nine picks.
I value quality over quantity and don’t understand wanting lower picks instead of a high one. Hit a home run at 10. Also, I don’t think finding trade partners to move down is so easy.
Bryan in Afghanistan writes: Paul, I just wanted to say thanks for writing this blog. It's good to be able to read a more in-depth analysis on my favorite Division. My question was this: We all know that the Texans are "fiscally fit" and more than likely weren't going to make a splash in FA other than trying to keep their players... but some of us would have thought to have heard on contract talks with their "valuable" RFA players (i.e. Owen Daniels, DeMeco Ryans, etc...) I know they were given RFA tenders, but that doesn't really show me they want to get some deals made. Some knowledgeable insight would be appreciated, thanks.
Paul Kuharsky: Hope you’re safe over there.
They are assured they have those guys this year -- so the ticking clock isn’t very loud. A big extension right now comes knowing there is probably a lockout in 2011. I think that’s a deterrent for doing something big at this point.
But I do think that out of Daniels, Ryans and Bernard Pollard, they should really get one, if not two, done before 2010 kicks off. If Gary Kubiak got an extension, what’s your rationale for leaving some of his best players hanging?
Tony from Greensburg, Ind., writes: Mel Kiper believes the Colts will take a DT. I can't see this happening. They have gotten decent play from Daniel Muir and Antonio Johnson. With the DB's depleted don't you think they will have to address this as a need?
Paul Kuharsky: I think they have the defensive tackle; he’s last year’s second-rounder, Fili Moala.
That doesn’t mean they won’t take one. Offensive line is the biggest need, defensive back depth another. But their first-round pick won’t necessarily be married to a need. They go best player available as well as anyone.
Dallas in Jackson, Minn., writes: Do you see the Texans drafting a QB this upcoming draft? Maybe a Dan LeFevour or a Matt Nichols to start grooming behind Matt Schaub who is not old but isn't a youngster.
Paul Kuharsky: I do not. Schaub’s going to be 29 in May, which is nowhere near old enough to start considering life after him.
They have plenty of other needs and a significant investment in backup Dan Orlovsky.
Trace Jackson in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: Hey Paul. One of my absolutely favorite Jaguars players in the past few years has been Rashean Mathis. For awhile there, he was truly one of the great cornerbacks in the league; plus I loved that he was a local guy. He had a pretty down year in 2009, though, owing to his groin injury. Do you think he'll make a comeback in 2010, or was the injury the beginning of the end for him?
Paul Kuharsky: I think he’ll make a comeback in terms of being healthy and productive, but I do think he’s started to slip some. He’s signed through 2011. They could draft a corner this year to be third and grow into his replacement.
Chris in Wiesbaden, Germany, writes: What are the chances that if the Jags can't trade down, they draft Joe Haden, and move Rashean Mathis to free safety?
Paul Kuharsky: I don’t know that Mathis is a free safety. Most longtime corners don’t wind up safeties. It’s not like shortstops moving to third.
But Mathis, Haden and Derek Cox as the top three corners would be very nice.
Meredith in Indianapolis, Ind., writes: I'm curious about the condition of Dwight Freeney's ankle. I haven't heard anything about it in our local media. I assume no news is good news, but how severe was the injury after playing on it in the Super Bowl? Will he have any difficulties getting back to 100%?
Paul Kuharsky: Hi, Meredith. Nice to hear from you.
No new news from the team or player on this. The Colts don’t offer up a lot of injury info when they talk daily, better yet at this time of year when things are generally quiet. Unless they completely fibbed about what it was, I don’t see a reason to expect anything less than a full recovery.
With Raheem Brock gone, I do think a third defensive end is a priority.
Harsha Rajashekar in West Palm Beach, Fla., writes: I am surprised so many mock analysts have the Jags picking a wide receiver in the first round considering the amount of effort put into acquiring receivers in last year’s draft and the recent acquisition of Kassim Osgood. What’s your take on this?
Paul Kuharsky: Not impossible they look wideout. But while they need weapons, like you said, they loaded up on receivers in last year’s draft and with Osgood in free agency and need to give those guys a chance.
Meanwhile they can’t rush the passer consistently, even with Aaron Kampman in the fold.
Other needs trump receiver to me.
Joseph in Texas writes: Texans seem like they would be a fit for Nathan Vasher. They play enough mix of man and zone and I don't know of any character issues to make them shy away. What do you think? (And you better post this or the nice comment on your last mailbag defending you from being a Titan Homer disappears, buddy LOL.)
Paul Kuharsky: Dirt cheap and low risk? Sure, bring him on in.
But I’m not real excited about him as I discussed here.
Glenn in Los Angeles, Calif., writes: Hey Paul, How do you see Colts O-line situation shaping up? We let some players go and made a couple signings. Do you see us definitely picking up a center/guard early in the draft? How about our left tackle situation? Do you see us making any moves there? Thanks! Glenn
Paul Kuharsky: It’s completely up in the air. Jeff Saturday is the only guy I think we can safely say is locked in. We could see Charlie Johnson moved inside, or moved to a backup role. There is all kinds of possibilities. Pass protection will remain a priority, but all indications are they are looking for bigger guys who can also run block better.
Greg in New York City writes: It's pretty much conventional thinking that the Jaguars will be selecting some defensive lineman this draft, as Gene Smith has not made it any secret that he thinks the DL crop is very deep. My question is if they do draft a defensive end or two, what ends currently on the team get kicked to the curb? Between Derrick Harvey, Quentin Groves, Aaron Kampman, Julius Williams, Bryan Smith, Jeremy Navarre, etc. there are plenty of ends currently on the roster. I'd argue Groves has performed the worst out of the bunch, could he be gone?
Paul Kuharsky: Beyond Harvey and Kampman, there isn’t a guy on your list or their roster they can’t upgrade on. None of those guys should be stopping the Jaguars from bringing in the best rush end they can find.
Groves certainly needs to make a showing in camp to solidify a roster spot and role.