AFC South


Houston Texans

This is GM Rick Smith’s fifth draft. He’s never traded up. The Texans need an outside linebacker and a cornerback. It’s not likely they’ll pay a high price to move up to get edge pass rusher Von Miller, who’s expected to be among the first three picks. If CB Patrick Peterson were to slip to the 49ers at No. 7, expect Smith to make an offer. If the Texans stay at No. 11, they could take DE/OLB Aldon Smith over CB Prince Amukamara. Smith, a third-year sophomore, has tremendous pass-rush upside, and in Wade Phillips’ 3-4, he would rarely drop into coverage. Amukamra would be their second consecutive first-rounder used on a corner after taking Kareem Jackson last year. If they take an outside linebacker in the first round, CBs Brandon Harris and Ras-I-Dowling would be second-round considerations. Dowling (6-1, 197) has the kind of size they covet. – John McClain

Indianapolis Colts

The labor situation has produced veteran concerns at several positions. That’s particularly true with free agents at running back (Joseph Addai), the offensive line (LT Charlie Johnson), safety (Melvin Bullitt) and the defensive line (Daniel Muir, Antonio Johnson and Eric Foster). Vice chairman Bill Polian has said the team is operating under the assumption none of those players will return, which could result in the team feeling compelled to pay special attention to those positions. . . . Finding the long-term answer at left tackle should be top priority. The Colts believed they had found Tarik Glenn’s successor after selecting Tony Ugoh in the second round in 2007, but injuries and inconsistency resulted in Ugoh being released prior to last season. Despite holding the 22nd overall pick, the team should have options, including Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi, Colorado’s Nate Solder and Mississippi State’s Derek Sherrod. If Polian opts for an offensive lineman in the first round, it would be a rarity. In his 24 previous drafts, he’s taken only three offensive linemen in the first round. The last was Blake Brockermeyer, selected with the 29th overall pick by the expansion Carolina Panthers in 1995. – Mike Chappell

Jacksonville Jaguars

One of GM Gene Smith’s big challenges will be when to pull the trigger on a quarterback, a position the Jaguars haven’t selected since Byron Leftwich in 2003. The problem is, where the Jaguars are picking early (No. 16 overall) isn’t ideal with so much to upgrade on defense. The greater value lies in taking a pass-rushing end such as Aldon Smith, Ryan Kerrigan or Cameron Jordan. But if they wait until midway through the second round (No. 49) to grab a QB, everyone in the second-tier group — Andy Dalton, Christian Ponder, Ryan Mallett and Colin Kaepernick — might already be drafted. … Incumbent QB David Garrard threw a franchise-record 23 TD passes and the team had the NFL’s No. 3 rushing offense last season, but he could use extra weapons. The team has lacked a major receiving threat since Jimmy Smith retired in ’06 and the interior line, where C Brad Meester is near the end at 34 and could use added depth. The team likely will grab a receiver or offensive lineman in the late rounds because a vastly improved defense helps Garrard more than anything else. –- Gene Frenette

Tennessee Titans

With QBs Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert expected to be off the board at No. 8 overall, Auburn DT Nick Fairley becomes the most likely option if available. The Titans know Fairley well, as defensive line coach Tracy Rocker tutored him at Auburn. One thing that could keep that from happening: the fear of losing out on the next wave of QB prospects, Jake Locker in particular. The Titans aren’t scheduled to pick again until No. 39 in Round 2 … Despite the recent arrest of WR Kenny Britt, the Titans likely won’t address receiver until the later rounds. … The Titans want to get bigger at linebacker, and are intrigued by Washington’s Mason Foster. Foster is versatile, and he could make an immediate impact on a team that struggled at the position a year ago. –Jim Wyatt


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