2010 NFL Draft Grades: AFC South

Chris MaierCorrespondent IMay 7, 2010

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 28: Defensive end Derrick Morgan #91 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets sets for play against the Clemson Tigers in the 2009 ACC Football Championship Game December 5, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The 2010 NFL Draft is now in the books and the staff members of NFLDraft101.com have each submitted their grades.  We will go division by division recapping each team's draft and presenting our staff grades. (click on the team name for pick by pick analysis)

AFC South:

Houston Texans

They did not wow you with any of their picks, but quietly went about filling needs.  First rounder Kareem Jackson will be expected to step in right way at cornerback.  Taking Jackson over Kyle Wilson was a mild surprise but Jackson may be a better scheme fit due to his physicality. Ben Tate was arguably the most underrated running back in the draft and provides them a nice blend of speed and power who fits the team's zone blocking scheme. 

Earl Mitchell was a bit of a reach in round three but he has the raw talent to provide them a needed penetrator at defensive tackle.   Fifth round CB Sherrick McManis could get a look at safety.  Dorin Dickerson is an intriguing athlete whose position versatility should earn him a roster spot.  Grade: C

Indianapolis Colts

Year in and year out it is hard to be critical of how the Colts draft, as they stock their roster with homegrown players better than anyone.  It is hard to imagine a better landing place for undersized speed rusher Jerry Hughes than Indy.   Hughes will be given an opportunity to develop alongside and opposite Dwight Freeney while also providing needed depth at the position.  LB Pat Angerer is a tackling machine and underrated athlete who should challenge for a starting job within two years. 

Third rounder Kevin Thomas has the instincts and awareness for the Tampa Two but is not quite as physical as most Colts corners.   Of the late rounders, keep an eye on WR/CB/KR Ray Fisher who could fill a need for both a kick returner and has developmental value at corner.   It was surprising to see the Colts wait until day three to add talent to its declining offensive line.  Left tackle Charles Brown would have been an excellent candidate to fill their left tackle position. Grade: C+

Jacksonville Jaguars

It is hard to determine what was worse: selecting a second round talent in DT Tyson Alualu with the 10th overall pick or watching the Broncos and Dolphins receive a bounty for trade opportunities which include multiple day one and two selections.  Alualu is a high motored, athletic penetrator who fits Jack Del Rio's profile of gritty football players.  The Jags followed up the Alualu pick with another another athletic defensive tackle in D'Anthony Smith in round three, continuing the team's trend of double dipping to start the draft (this started in the 2008 draft with two DEs and continued in 2009 with two OTs).

They then followed up those picks by taking defensive ends Larry Hart and Austen Lane in round five, both of who are small school pass rushers.  RB Deji Karim is an exciting speed back with return skills which made the seventh round selection of return specialist Scotty McGee seem odd.  The Jaguars best move of the draft was trading a mid-round pick for MLB Kirk Morrison, who fills a big need.  Overall, the Jags added talent up front but neglected the back end and left too much value on the table.  Gene Smith is looking to prove the graders wrong for the second straight year (he aced the draft in 2009). Grade: D-

Tennessee Titans

The Titans came into the draft with needs at defensive end, linebacker, and were looking to add depth in the secondary.  With little fanfare, they managed to accomplish all three.  Jason Pierre-Paul's "Freak"-ish talent would have been exciting, landing Derrick Morgan after JPP was off the board was an excellent fall back option.  Morgan is a true 4-3 defensive end with the ability rush the passer and disrupt plays in the back.  A blue collar worker for a blue collar team.  

Third rounder Rennie Curran is an undersized tackling machine with a nose for the football.  Fellow third rounder Damian Williams fills the team's need for a punt returner, and don't be surprised if he challenges for time as a slot receiver.  On day three the Titans loaded up with defensive backs including corner Alteraun Verner and safeties Robert Johnson and Myron Rolle. Grade: B-

(Please note: grades are based on how team's utilized their picks on draft weekend.  Trades made prior to the draft are not accounted for in these grades)

Chris Maier is Senior Editor for NFLDraft101.com .  He can be reached at cmaier@nfldraft101.com.  Follow me on twitter: nfldraft101 .

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