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Team-by-team draft needs: AFC South

Pat Kirwan breaks down each team's positional needs, listed in order of importance, entering the draft.

More team draft needs:

AFC: East | North | South | West
NFC: East | North | South | West


Houston Texans

Cornerback:Dunta Robinson is healthy again and a proven NFL starting-caliber cornerback. While Jacques Reeves was lauded for his consistency in 2008, he was consistently average in many ways, so the Texans need to upgrade on the left side. That could force quarterbacks to at least occasionally throw to Robinson's side, giving him more playmaking opportunities.

Defensive tackle: Amobi Okoye struggled last season, but was it just a sophomore slump? The Texans can't afford to wait to find out because fellow DT Travis Johnson, a first-round draft pick in 2005, has been a disappointment. Houston allowed 122.6 rushing yards per game last season and needs a run-stuffer who can protect the team's talented young linebackers.

Wide receiver: The Texans had an exciting passing attack last season because they were able to spread the ball to players such as TE Owen Daniels and RB Steve Slaton. And while Kevin Walter is a productive receiver, he's better suited to playing the slot. Houston needs a receiver with size and speed on the opposite perimeter to balance the coverage and draw defenders away from playmaker Andre Johnson.

Outside linebacker: Morlon Greenwood was released and current starters Zach Diles and Xavier Adibi are talented but still have question marks. The Texans could be in the market for another young playmaker, such as USC's Brian Cushing or Clay Matthews, if they choose to address this need in the first round.

Running back: Slaton is a small, speedy back with great versatility, but he can't be expected to carry the load, particularly in short-yardage and goal-line situations. The Texans need a bigger back who can hold up better in those situations and limit the wear and tear on Slaton. Chris Brown is coming off a back injury that caused him to sit out the 2008 season and can't be relied on to fill that role, so look for the Texans to use a mid-round pick on a back.

Guard: Depth is an issue across the entire Texans offensive line, but an interior swingman who can play multiple positions could help alleviate that situation.

Safety: Eugene Wilson is slated to start at free safety, and second-year pro Dominique Barber is expected to win the strong safety job from veteran Nick Ferguson, who's on the downside of his career. Still, Ferguson is the only viable option to step in and start at either spot should injuries strike. A young player who can play in coverage would solidify the depth in the secondary.

Draft choices: Nos. 15, 46, 77, 112, 122, 152, 188, 223


Indianapolis Colts

Wide receiver: Marvin Harrison is gone, meaning the depth behind Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez is very thin. That's a problem because the Colts need at least three solid contributors in order to run their spread sets. Gonzalez can play on the perimeter, but he might be better in the slot. A prospect such as Ohio State's Brian Robiskie or North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks could be a viable first-round option.

Defensive tackle: Darrell Reid left for the Denver Broncos in free agency, and starting defensive tackles Keyunta Dawson and Eric Foster barely tip the scales at 260 pounds -- if they're lucky. Therefore, the Colts need to add some size and bulk to the interior of their defense in order to play better against the run. Auburn's Sen'Derrick Marks or USC's Fili Moala could be options at the end of the second round.

Outside linebacker: Leading tackler Freddie Keiaho and Tyjuan Hagler appear to have moved on, and though Clint Session ranked third on the team with 94 tackles last season, Philip Wheeler, a special-teamer and a third-round draft pick a year ago, is scheduled to start on the weak side.

Middle linebacker: Gary Brackett was productive last season, but at 235 pounds, he lacks the size to limit inside power runs. If the Colts can protect Brackett with some size up front, he can continue to be serviceable. However, they should look to upgrade the position or, at the very least, add depth behind Brackett.

Running back: Joseph Addai has missed five games in the last two seasons and hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2006, when he was a backup during his rookie year. Clearly, the Colts need a back they can use with Addai in a committee situation. Dominic Rhodes could return, but don't be surprised to see the team use a draft pick on another young runner.

Defensive end:Dwight Freeney just turned 29 and hasn't been durable the last two seasons. Raheem Brock is already 30 and might have to move inside in some situations, if not on a full-time basis. The Colts depend on pressure from their front four, and they need another pass rusher who can get to the quarterback off the edge.

Cornerback:Kelvin Hayden re-signed for big money this offseason and forms a nice duo with Marlin Jackson. Tim Jennings is the Colts' nickel back, but depth is an issue beyond him.

Draft choices: Nos. 27, 61, 92, 127, 136, 165, 201, 236


Jacksonville Jaguars

Wide receiver: With former first-round draft picks Matt Jones (released) and Reggie Williams (free agency) not coming back, Dennis Northcutt and Troy Williamson return as the Jaguars' only experienced receivers. Northcutt's best days are behind him and Williamson, another former first-round draft pick, has yet to prove himself to be a reliable target. Ideally, the Jaguars would love for the emerging Mike Walker to win a starting spot and have a player such as Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree fall to them at the eighth overall pick.

Defensive tackle: Rob Meier was a reliable third tackle when he played in a rotation with John Henderson and Marcus Stroud. However, when forced into a starter's role last season after Stroud was traded to the Buffalo Bills, Meier wasn't up to the task. Meier lacks the quickness to penetrate from the interior -- a key to the Jaguars' defense -- and Henderson is 30, so a young tackle is needed.

Center:Brad Meester, 32, re-signed with the Jaguars on a four-year contract, but he has missed 11 games over the last two seasons because of injuries. Dennis Norman struggled in Meester's absence, and as a result, so did the Jaguars' running game. With so many highly rated centers in this draft, the Jaguars should look for their next starter.

Guard: Vince Manuwai and Maurice Williams are capable starters, but the Jaguars must bolster the talent behind them to avoid another injury-induced meltdown like last season.

Linebacker: Mike Peterson is now with the Atlanta Falcons, meaning Daryl Smith will take over in the middle. However, Smith probably is better suited to play outside linebacker, where he's more comfortable.

Cornerback: The Jaguars likely signed Sean Considine in free agency to take the place of starting safety Gerald Sensabaugh, who left for the Dallas Cowboys. That leaves Brian Williams as a starter at cornerback, with Scott Starks at nickel back. All of that means the Jaguars need some upgrades at this position behind longtime starter Rashean Mathis.

Offensive tackle: Tra Thomas was an important signing and an upgrade over the departed Khalif Barnes, but he isn't a long-term answer. There is a deep pool of offensive tackles in this draft, and the Jaguars should look for a player to groom as their cornerstone tackle of the future.

Draft choices: Nos. 8, 39, 72, 107, 144, 180, 250, 253


Tennessee Titans

Defensive tackle: The immediate reaction is that the Titans must replace Albert Haynesworth, who landed a $100 million free-agent contract with the Washington Redskins. The truth is the Titans have assembled a young, aggressive and versatile stable of defensive linemen. The Titans' defensive line recorded 31 sacks last season, not including Haynesworth's numbers. What the team lacks is some size to stop the run. Only little-used backup Kevin Vickerson weighs over 300 pounds.

Wide receiver: Justin Gage is the only returning receiver with any sort of proven track record. The Titans are hopeful that free-agent signee Nate Washington can help stretch the field with his speed, but he's unproven as a starter. Beyond those two, only Lavelle Hawkins shows much promise. This is a run-first team, but it still needs weapons in the passing game.

Defensive end: Starters Jevon Kearse (32) and Kyle Vanden Bosch (30) are both in their 30s and showing signs of wear and tear. Jacob Ford and Dave Ball combined to contribute 11 sacks as substitutes last season, and Jason Jones also can swing outside. But if a player such as Richmond's Lawrence Sidbury Jr. falls to the Titans in the second or third round of the draft, they could take him to contribute right away as a wave pass rusher while he develops into a full-time role.

Cornerback: Vincent Fuller re-signed and will play nickel back behind starters Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper, but there's little depth beyond those three. So, an upgrade wouldn't be out of the question.

Offensive tackle:David Stewart and Michael Roos are top-tier starters and excellent run blockers, but the Titans don't have a viable backup for either side.

Linebacker: The starting three is solid, but once again, depth is needed. If injuries were to strike, the Titans' excellent linebacking corps would see a precipitous drop in talent.

Quarterback: Kerry Collins is on the back end of his career, and what Vince Young will do after his struggles is unknown at this point. Look for a veteran to be added to the mix in free agency now that Chris Simms has departed for the Denver Broncos.

Draft choices: Nos. 30, 62, 94, 130, 135, 173, 203, 206, 239, 242

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