Opposing needs dictate AFC South strategy

Stats & Information gets you ready for the NFL Draft at the end of the month with a look at the biggest need for each team. Today, we take a look at the AFC South.

Houston Texans

Need: Wide receiver

With Andre Johnson injured most of the season, the rest of the Texans’ wide receivers couldn’t fill the void. The Texans were one of two teams that didn’t have any 30-yard receptions from their receivers on throws that traveled less than 15 yards.

Last season, Houston’s wide receivers ranked 30th in receptions (90), yards per reception (8.9) and first downs (53) and 31st in yards after catch per reception (3.1) on throws less than 15 air yards.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

Indianapolis Colts

Need: Skill position players

The Colts need to replace skill players at every offensive position. In addition to departed quarterback Peyton Manning, the Colts have to replace production from Joseph Addai, Jerome Felton, Pierre Garcon, Anthony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, Jacob Tamme and Anthony Hill.

Colts Offense, 2011 Season

Also, all three quarterbacks who took a snap for the Colts last season are not under contract with the Colts - Kerry Collins (free agent), Curtis Painter (free agent) and Dan Orlovsky (signed with Tampa Bay).

Luck is just the start of Indianapolis’ rebuilding process.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

Jacksonville Jaguars

Need: Pass-rushing defensive lineman

The Jaguars registered just 31 sacks in 2011, tied for 25th in the league. The problems stemmed from the Jaguars’ inability to create pressure using a four-man rush. Jacksonville sent four or fewer rushers on 77.4 percent of dropbacks, the sixth-highest percentage in the league.

Despite such a heavy reliance on standard pass rushes, Jacksonville’s defense averaged a sack once every 24.0 dropbacks using a four-man pass rush (26th in NFL).

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

Tennessee Titans

Need: Cover corner

Tennessee rushed four or fewer defenders on 75 percent of dropbacks last season, but was ineffective at generating pressure. The Titans registered just 23 sacks in 2011, second-fewest in the league.

When Tennessee couldn’t get to the quarterback, their secondary was exposed. The Titans tied for 23rd in the NFL with eight interceptions and a 71.0 Total QBR when using a four-man pass rush. Kamerion Wimbley will improve the pass rush, but look for a cornerback to replace (and/or improve on) Cortland Finnegan.

Kiper’s 1st-Round Prediction: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

McShay’s 1st-Round Prediction: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama