We know, within two picks, where three of the four teams of the AFC South will be drafting in the first round.
So let’s match up Mel Kiper’s most recent big board with some team needs and do the first of our super-early 2010 draft projecting. (You need to be an Insider to see it all, but I have clearance to share some details.)
Jaguars, 10th or 11th: The pass rush is clearly the most pressing issue, but the Jaguars are likely going to decide a new quarterback is a necessity as well. Based on what Kiper’s got lined up, Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen, Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford and Georgia Tech end Derrick Morgan are gone. There isn’t another quarterback in the top 24, but there are several ends -- South Florida’s Jason Pierre-Paul, Florida’s Carlos Dunlap, USC’s Everson Griffen and Michigan’s Brandon Graham.
Right now: Pierre-Paul, though he could need time to develop while the Jaguars really need immediate impact.
Titans, 16th or 17th: Decisions on their own free agents will have a big bearing on what stacks up as the primary needs, but they are predominantly on defense right now: a cornerback to compete to replace Nick Harper, a defensive end who can help generate pass rush, an outside linebacker to help replace aging vets and a return man who can settle special teams and provide some field position. Based on this board, the value is at defensive end, where position coach Jim Washburn could be voting for Griffen or Graham.
Right now: Graham brings the sort of effort that they’ve become accustomed to with Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Texans, 19th or 20th: If the Texans find the right pieces for three or four remaining needs they can really be poised to play well even with a tough slate of opponents. I say free safety, running back, defensive tackle and cornerback are the spots. They’d just miss on USC safety Taylor Mays in this scenario. Kiper says the best of the available players at those spots could be Cal’s running back Jahvid Best and Florida State corner Patrick Robinson.
Right now: Best may not be different enough from Steve Slaton, but he’d come into the league as a more explosive and better prospect.
Colts: Will have one of the last five picks of the first round based on their playoff results.