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2012 YDKF Mock Draft – AFC South

Our GMs for the AFC South teams share the reasons behind their picks. Have a dispute? Take it up in the comments or join us in the YDKF Forums.

HOUSTON TEXANS

Rd 1 – (26) – Kendall Wright – WR – Baylor The Texans want to find someone to take double coverages off of Andre Johnson and stretch the field in the process, and Kendall Wright will fit the bill nicely. Andre Johnson has also played through significant injuries over the last few years, and in some cases has missed games due to those injuries. Schaub will appreciate having a weapon like Wright at his disposal in lieu of not having Johnson in the lineup.

Rd 2 – (58) – Mitchell Schwartz – OT – California Schwartz has been quietly climbing the boards during the last few weeks. Losing Eric Winston due to salary cap issues was a blow to the Texans’ zone-blocking offensive line. Schwartz coming in to play RT should ease that blow for the foreseeable future.

Rd 3 – (76) – Dwayne Allen – TE – Clemson Despite not having a great showing at the combine, Allen still is one of the better TE prospects in this draft class. Houston lost some depth at the position with Joel Dreessen leaving via free agency, so landing Dwayne Allen in the 3rd round is good value. He is a complete TE that can block, catch and be a threat in the red zone.

Rd 4 – (99) – Jonathan Massaquoi – DE/OLB – Troy This is the pick the Texans received in the DeMeco Ryans deal with Philly. Massaquoi fills another need, pass rushing, for the Houston Texans. Mario Williams was a big loss for the Texans defense during free agency, but the Texans plan to use Barwin/Reed as their starters. Selecting Massaquoi in the 4th round will help with the pass rushing rotation. Great value for depth for Wade Phillips’ defense.

Rd 4 – (121) – Marvin Jones – WR – California Houston goes back to the California Bears well, and selects Marvin Jones to further bolster their WR depth. Excellent value in the late 4th, as Jones had a great showing at his Pro Day, catching everything that was thrown at him and running great routes. The Texans would benefit using Jones in the slot.

Rd 5 – (161) – Nick Foles – QB – Arizona The Texans got great value here in round 5 with the selection of Nick Foles. With the emergence of TJ Yates into the backup role, and the departure of Matt Leinart, the Texans get a raw prospect with huge upside in Foles. A big kid at 6’5 and 243 lbs, he has a big arm and plenty of potential.

Rd 6 – (195) – Garth Gerhart – C – Arizona State Gerhart’s value is that he can play multiple positions (Center/Guard) on the offensive line. Known to have a motor, the kid shows no quit. His versatility and the fact that there’s no depth behind current starter Chris Myers, Toby’s kid brother could have a bright future with Houston.

Rd 7 – (223) – Cliff Harris – CB – Oregon Harris was selected to improve the depth in the secondary. Incumbent starters Kareem Jackson and Jonathan Joseph have the CB locked up, so Harris will have to show his guile on the special teams in 2012.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Rd 1 – (1) – Andrew Luck – QB – Stanford This pick was incredibly easy for me; the Colts made it already. Luck will be the first pick in the draft, and it’s crazy to think that the Colts will move from Manning to Luck while most teams continually search for a franchise quarterback. He’s a fantastic prospect, having played in a pro style system at Stanford, and he makes reads fantastically well. However, he’s going into a terrible situation, and his success will in part be determined by how well the Colts acquire players over the next few seasons. The rest of the 2012 draft will be spent trying to fill the numerous other holes on the team, but at least this one is secure.

Rd 2 – (34) – Kevin Zeitler – Guard – Wisconsin The Colts have a big gaping hole at guard, so I passed on talented prospects like Alshon Jeffery and Bobby Massie to take one. Why Zeitler? He’s ready to start. There are few prospects in this draft better suited to step in any position from day one than Zeitler. I’d much rather take developmental prospects at other positions for a team that won’t compete for a few years, but needs to protect its franchise signal caller from day one. The Colts will have growing pains along the line, but Zeitler is a smart player who can help out the linemen around him.

Rd 3 – (65) – Alameda Ta’amu – NT – Washington With new coaching and new management often come new systems. The Colts are moving to a 3-4 this season, and have made wholesale personnel changes to go along with it. Key to a 3-4 swap is finding a solid nose tackle. The Colts brought in Brandon McKinney, who is best as a rotational player. Ta’amu gives them a future starter at the position. He’ll never be disruptive at the position, which the Colts would be fine with. He’ll eat up space and anchor that defensive line for years to come.

Rd 4 – (97) – AJ Jenkins – WR – Illinois With the depth at wide receiver in this class, someone had to fall. Jenkins could easily have gone anywhere from the 2nd to the 4th round, and he’s a great fit. Young quarterbacks need sure handed receivers to aid their development, and Jenkins is most certainly sure handed. Depending on the health of Donnie Avery and the playcalling of Bruce Arians, Jenkins could find himself starting opposite Reggie Wayne at some point this season. He’s not particularly athletic, but he’s fairly quick and will give Luck a reliable target. The team will likely target a future #1 next year, but Jenkins could be something of a Marvin Harrison facsimile for Luck. Harrison lacked speed and flash, but his hands were always on display.

Rd 5 – (136) – Omar Bolden – CB – Arizona State The first four selections for the Colts could all start fairly quickly for the team. Bolden is a bit of an uncertainty, but he’ll certainly see playing time early. Were it not for injuries suffered at Arizona State, he’d have gone much earlier. He appears healthy now, and he’s a physically aggressive corner, which is something Greg Manusky and Chuck Pagano value greatly. He can hold up in man coverage, unlike several corners taken around him who are best suited to zone. There’s some question as to whether he can athletically make the next step as a man corner in the NFL, but he has solid potential at safety if that’s the case. That flexibility makes him a solid fit for a team that will struggle to field quality starters and subs across the board.

Rd 5 – (170) – Taylor Thompson – TE – Southern Methodist Bruce Arians loves utilizing tight ends. Andrew Luck loves throwing to his tight ends. The problem? The Colts have scant pickings for tight ends on the roster. Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme are gone, leaving the Colts with essentially a cadre of blocking tight ends. I wasn’t able to get Coby Fleener earlier in the draft, so I opted for a project. Arians has talked about primarily using blocking tight ends for the present, which makes sense for a team hoping to protect a young quarterback. Thompson was recruited as a tight end out of high school, but played defensive end at SMU. He’s opting to move to offense, and his athleticism makes him a great project. He’s already demonstrated solid hands, and Arians if can develop him into an all around TE, he’ll be a steal.

Rd 6 – (206) Jeff Adams – OT – Columbia Another project. Like I said, the Colts won’t compete immediately, and they’re building a base from scratch. In the late rounds, they need to try to hit on players with upside who can contribute in the future. Adams is raw, coming from a FCS team in a weak conference. However, he has the size and athleticism to contribute in the NFL. If he’s coached up properly, he could develop into a backup at the tackle position.

Rd 7 – (208) – Tim Fugger – DE/OLB – Vanderbilt Fugger is a special teamer who could also serve spot duty at OLB. He lacks the size to ever start at the position, but he can provide speed off the edge on passing downs. He’ll need plenty of coaching, but he could make the team in part because of his special teams potential and in part because of the terrible numbers game the Colts find themselves faced with. This team needs bodies badly.

Rd 7 – (214) – Raymond Carter – RB – Colorado State I’m bigger on Carter than most, and he enters an ideal situation. Joseph Addai is gone, and Donald Brown has been a disappointment thus far. Add in Delone Carter and the Colts are looking at an unbelievably uninspiring rushing attack to help Luck succeed. He has both strength and speed, the latter of which is notably missing from Carter and Brown, who plays slower than he times. Carter split time between UCLA and Colorado State, but he never had a clear shot at starting in either location. His lack of production leads to caution, but I’d see the Colts take a chance on him and find a competitor with enough athleticism to lead a committee one day.

Rd 7 – 253 – Chase Ford – TE – Miami A second project at tight end. Ford has incredibly poor production at Miami, and he’s a terrible blocker. However, he’s a very fluid athlete with excellent hands. If his athleticism can finally translate to the playing field, he could be a solid asset a year or two down the line for that quarterback who loves tight ends. If not? Well, he’s Mr. Irrelevant.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Rd 1 – (7) – Morris Claiborne – CB – LSU The Jaguars were ecstatic when Morris Claiborne fell into their laps in the 1st round. Outside of Reshean Mathis, the Jaguars are considerably weak at the CB position. Claiborne can play in both zone coverage and man converage, but is used primarily in man coverage. He doesn’t shy away from contact and will lay the wood if given the opportunity.

Rd 2 – (38) – Peter Konz -C – Wisconsin The Jaguars have primarily been a run-first team, and with the selection of their franchise QB in the 2011 draft (Blaine Gabbert), protecting Gabbert will be a top priority. Peter Konz certainly fills both needs. He’s excellent in the run game, is versatile (can play Guard until Meester retires) and brings some much needed talent to an oline that gave up 44 sacks in 2011.

Rd 3 – (70) – Chris Givens – WR – Wake Forest The offensive rebuild continues with the selection of Chris Givens out of Wake Forest. Not having a number 1 receiver since Jimmy Smith retired, the Jaguars are excited that Givens was available in the 3rd round. This kis is a burner on the outside and will give Blaine Gabbert the deep threat this team has failed to get for the last few years.

Rd 4 – (101) – Donald Stephenson – OT – Oklahoma The right side of the offensive line was a big problem for the Jaguars in 2011. Guy Whimper gave up double digit sacks. Stephenson should step in right away at the RT position and help clear the way for Jones-Drew.

Rd 5 – (142) – Malik Jackson – DE – Tennessee In round 5, the Jaguars switched gears and paid some attention to their front 4 by selecting Malik Jackson. Jackson should compete for the LE starting spot opposite Jeremy Mincey, and bring a much needed pass rush from the defensive line.

Rd 6 – (176) – Emmanuel Acho – LB – Texas Acho was selected to address the LB depth on the defense. Paul Posluszny has an injury history that’s longer than War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy, so selecting a LB to groom behind Poz is good decision for the Jags. Acho can play inside or on the outside, but he’s more suited to play outside LB.

Rd 7 – (228) – George Bryan – TE – North Carolina State Another depth signing. AT 6’5 and 258lbs, he’s another big target for Gabbert.

TENNESSEE TITANS

Rd 1 – (20) – Nick Perry – DE/OLB – USC  I was unsure of the pick at first, but even with the addition of Kamerion Wimbley, the Titans will need a big time pass rusher on the team. The Titans got their pressure off of specifically designed plays last year and didn’t have a whole lot of flash in their pressuring. Had Peyton Manning initially turned down the Titans, the Titans would have been right there in the running for Mario Williams, so don’t rule out the Titans getting another pass rusher in the draft. Nick Perry kind of reminds me of an ex-Titan breakout, the Eagles Jason Babin. Perry may never be a legit run stopping DE but there’s no question that he has gifted pass rushing technique.   With the proper training and balancing, that technique will only get better. Now, he may never put up the crazy sack statistics that Babin has, but Perry can be a perennial 10-15 sack artist like former Jet John Abraham.

Perry is a huge roll of the dice.  I have heard some say he could be the next Vernon Gholston.  I’m guessing this is due to the stiffness, but even Perry isn’t a workout warrior like Gholston.  He’s had moments of great play on the field without overpowering a lineman, unlike Gholston.  He’s a risk, but it’s time for the Titans to roll the dice and take chances on guys who could be elite talents.  A team can only survive on so much guile and grit. The superstars have to be there and with the great pick of Jake Locker last year to couple with the Perry pick, the Titans are certainly “Going For Broke”.

Rd 2 – (52) – Brandon Thompson – DT – Clemson  
The Titans had some moments on defense, but they were on their heels stopping the run. With a mediocre group of current DTs on the roster(Jurrell Casey being the only worth while one), it is clear that Titans need to emphasize getting a run stopping oriented DT. Well, there’s none better than Thompson, who was the steady anchor of that Clemson Tigers defensive line.  He never racked up the gauging numbers that an Andre Branch or Da’Quan Bowers did but without Thompson, those sack artists would never have gotten those numbers.  The Titans are hoping that because of Thompson, the likes of Nick Perry and Kamerion Wimbley can go to work on the opposing quarterback. Thompson can be ready from day one to step in to start and be a stalwart on run defense. Thompson may never give you any explosiveness, as he doesn’t have that speed or ability, but as a steady guy who will jam opposing guards and maul down running backs, Thompson might very well be the most seasoned run stopping defensive tackle in this draft. He’d be a great fit for what Mike Munchak is trying to do down in Tennessee.

Rd 3 – (82) – Brandon Washington – OG – Miami, Fl  Yeah, the Titans signed Steve Hutchinson to a three year deal but like the Jets fans saw with Alan Faneca, Hutchinson may very well give the Titans just a year worthwhile of good play.  He already tailed off with the Vikings. In comes Brandon Washington who I feel will be a 10-12 year starter in this league at guard and and on many teams would be a starter from day one. The Titans, however, will instead have Washington learn and pick the brain of Hutchinson and learn from one of the best guards of the past decade. Washington can hold his own on pass protection, although he needs to get a little bit better, and will be Chris Johnson’s best friend as far as run blocking goes. As we usually see, you can never ever have enough depth along the offensive line, and Washington is a hell of an insurance policy if the 34 year old Hutchinson can’t play well or gets hurt. Look for Washington to be a hot and heavy guard in round 3 with a few teams trying desperately to try and get him as he just screams “Steady”.

Rd 4 – (115) – Dwight Bentley – CB – Louisana/Lafayette  This pick was made largely because of Cortland Finnegan bolting to ex Titans head coach Jeff Fisher’s Rams on a mega year deal. The Titans relied on Finnegan and then some as the go to cornerback, and that will be solely missed this year. Bentley won’t come right away and fix that, but he can be a serviceable nickel cornerback for the Titans in year 1. Bentley may never be a superstar, but he’s a well-rounded cornerback who’d be a round 2 talent had it not been for playing with Louisiana-Lafayette. He’ll have growing pains, but Bentley can give the Titans 2-3 picks as early as in year 1 if teams go after him, which they will since he’s a rookie.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Titans’ No. 1 need in the 2013 NFL Draft is a cornerback if all else fails, but I do feel Bentley is a keeper even if he doesn’t fit the mold of being a “Shutdown Corner”.

Rd 5 – (155) – Jarius Wright – WR – Arkansas  The Titans need a wide receiver, no question about it. Getting a guy who I think has 4th round value in the middle of round 5 is very pleasing. I was debating with myself as to whether the Titans should go wide receiver earlier, but the value just wasn’t matching up from round 2 to round 4. Wright is the 3rd WR of that crazy Razorback trio of WRs (Joe Adams and Greg Childs being the other two), so he is seemingly the forgotten man when it comes to this draft. That, however, needs to be changed as Wright is a very good burner with the ability to be a deep threat play maker, something the Titans are lacking at the moment. With Kenny Britt either getting hurt or getting in trouble throughout his career, it’s tough to truly depend on him and overachiever Nate Washington as the No.1 and No.2 wide outs on the team. Add Damian Williams, who will show you flashes of good play and bad play, and Lavelle Hawkins, who outside of that highlight reel play in the preseason 2 years back, has not amounted to much, and you have a wideout dilemma on their hands.

Wright won’t step in and be the team’s no.1, no.2 or even no.3, but give him time and throw him in long passing situations and you’ll be pleased with the overall outcome.

Rd 6 – (190) – Justin Bethel – DB – Presbyterian  Bethel was a value pick here in round 6, as his versatility could arguably get him taken a round higher. Bethel can give the Titans an option as either a safety or corner, which is something they will be most pleased about. My main thought process behind this pick was the fact that their safeties as of now are pretty lackluster and their top guy(Michael Griffin) has the franchise tag and figures to be overpaid after 2012, even though he’s an overrated safety. Bethel will be a project and will be depth, make no mistake about that. He’s very raw in some aspects and will need to get seasoned by the Titans coaching staff. However, Bethel does bring some fair upside and is certainly worth a flier at pick 190.

Rd 7 – (227) – Miles Burris – LB – San Diego State  You want a guy with a non-stop motor who plays with a reckless abandonment and is the ultimate team player? Well, with the 227th pick we have Miles Burris out of San Diego St, who gives you everything aforementioned. Is he the most physically gifted? Nope. Is he the quickest linebacker in this draft? Nope. Will he give you some quality special teams tackling and even be a 3rd down pass rusher if all goes well down the road? Yes. Burris will benefit from learning and developing a go to pass rush step as he won’t be pegged to immediately contribute on defense outside of a given play or two. If he can learn some kind of pass rushing moves to evade opposing blockers then look out, because Burris could be a big time steal all the way in round 7. At worst, he’s a solid special teams guy…and at best he can be a starting OLB for a team, even if he will never jump out at you as a premier defender of a team.

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