Kiper's Summer Audits: AFC South
Breaking down the offseason and needs of each AFC South team
Every summer, with the NFL draft and free agency in the rearview mirror, I take a look at each team. What did it accomplish in terms of added personnel? How did its draft fill holes? What voids remain? Let's jump around the league, addressing three things for each team:
• Help added: What the team has done this offseason to improve its prospects. Given my greatest area of expertise, I put a particular emphasis on the draft.
• Questions that remain: A look at what voids must be filled.
• Next year's help, now: With an eye toward next year's draft class, what player from 2013 could seemingly help the team in 2012? This is meant to be hypothetical, a quick look at prospects to keep an eye on.
Here is the version for the AFC South:
Help added: Chris Myers has been in Houston for four years and in that time has played in 64 consecutive games -- in other words, he hasn't missed a start. We knew the Texans would take a hit or two on the offensive line going into the offseason and that the absence of Eric Winston might be felt. But in the zone-blocking scheme the Texans have made the centerpiece of this offense -- so much emanates from them executing well here -- keeping Myers around means a lot. No, he wasn't "added" per se, but he will add to the stability. If this team can't run the ball, the play-action, easy-read system it runs takes a big hit, so retaining Myers might be one of the more underrated moves in the division.
Free agency was relatively quiet overall, but I really liked the draft. Whitney Mercilus might need to learn a few things under Wade Phillips, but he's a speed rusher who can add depth to this defense. It's amazing how much the secondary improved as Phillips found ways to generate more pressure, and Mercilus gives the Texans a chance to develop somebody else. Last year, Brooks Reed stepped in for the injured Mario Williams and showed some things, but Mercilus has even more talent and athleticism. Elsewhere, DeVier Posey could go either way as a third-round pick, but he can get down the field and make plays. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him get first-team reps. Keshawn Martin is another receiver to watch. He simply knows how to create space.
For the full AFC South breakdown from Mel Kiper, including picks for next year's draft, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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