- Gary Horton, Scouts Inc.
Amid the NFL labor situation, with no free agency yet, one thing is certain: There will be an NFL draft starting Thursday. With that come mock drafts (from Mel Kiper and Todd McShay) and team needs that must be met. Gary Horton examines the top six needs for every team in the NFL. Here is the file for the AFC South.
1. Safety: This is the worst pass defense in the NFL, and good offenses take advantage of the middle of the field. Veteran safety Eugene Wilson was cut, and Bernard Pollard doesn't make enough plays.
2. Cornerback: The Texans have two young corners, Glover Quin and Kareem Jackson, who both gained valuable experience last year, but they also give up too many big plays. Jackson must play with more consistency, and Quin is probably better suited to play in a nickel role if they can find a new starter.
3. Outside linebacker: This will be a 3-4 defense under Wade Phillips, and that will require pass-rushing outside linebackers. Connor Barwin is the Texans' only player who fits that description, although the coaches think Brian Cushing can make the adjustment. They probably need a second guy to add depth to this unit.
4. Nose tackle: Amobi Okoye, Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell are all candidates, but they are 4-3 defensive tackles trying to learn a new position in the revamped Houston 3-4 front. What Phillips would really like is a huge two-gap space-eater in the middle of this defense.
Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. breaks down the top six offseason needs for every team in the AFC South.