2012 NFL Training Camp – Which AFC South rookies will shine?

The Football Educator’s guest blogger Randy Schwimmer finishes up his look at the best and worst of the AFC South’s 2012 NFL Draft with analysis of the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans as they head into Training Camp.

Houston Texans:

Best Pick: Round 1 Pick 26, Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Illinois: As I wrote in my Exceptional Rookies column, Whitney Mercilus could end up being the defensive rookie of the year.  The Texans had a daunting task of replacing Mario Williams (before the 2012 NFL Training Camp), who departed for the Buffalo Bills.  The coaching staff knew that Williams would be too much money for the team to hang onto, so they set their sights on the draft to figure out which DE/OLB would closely resemble Williams.  The Texans already have two young studs starting this year at OLB, Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed.  Mercilus gives Wade Phillips more ammunition for rushing downs to get after the QB.  I envision Mercilus having the same kind of impact that Aldon Smith had for the San Francisco 49ers in 2011.

Worst Pick: Round 3 Pick 68, DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio State: The Texans needed to find a solid number three receiver in the draft.  Instead, they took a gamble on a player that only had 13 plays in 2011.  Posey served two 5 game suspensions at Ohio State before entering the draft.  He was a solid receiver while he was actually playing NCAA football, but indiscretions led to him being basically kicked off the team last year.  The potential is there, but there was no need to trade up for this player.  In the same round, 15 picks later, the Cincinnati Bengals picked up Muhammad Sanu out of Rutgers.  Sanu could have jumped right in and instantly been a solid slot, possession receiver for the Texans.  This pick of Posey was one of my least favorite picks of the entire draft as we approach the 2012 NFL Training Camp.

Tennessee Titans:

Best Pick: Round 3 Pick 82, Mike Martin, DT, Michigan: STEAL STEAL STEAL!  Martin is a tough, “grind you down, make you weak, then expose you” type of defensive tackle.  Martin put up 36 reps of 225lbs at the NFL Combine in February.  He is tough as nails and very rarely gives up any ground.  The Titans have found themselves a great player with a great work ethic.  Mike Brewster, the center from Ohio State recently said that Mike Martin was, by far, the toughest player that he ever played against.  That coming from a true rival just shows you how much respect Martin had while at Michigan.  This pick is one of my favorite picks for the AFC South heading into the 2012 NFL Training Camp.

Worst Pick: Round 1 Pick 20, Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor: While I know the Titans were looking for a wide receiver before the 2012 NFL Training Camp commences, Wright was not the “Wright” pick for them, in my opinion.  The Titans needed a bigger, more physical receiver that could get down the field.  Wright has received a lot of exposure just from playing with Robert Griffin III.  He can make great catches, and can go deep, but his size tends to limit the amount of “going over the middle shots” that he will be able to take.  When you take a receiver in the first round, you want that player to be an every down player.  Michael Floyd would have been the perfect fit for the Titans, but he also went much higher in the draft.  The Titans had Doug Martin staring them right in the face; someone who I believe could have been a much better weapon on offense for them than Wright will be.  I have a strong feeling that Wright won’t catch on until late in his second year, kind of like Demaryius Thomas did for the Broncos.

As always, please feel free to comment on your thoughts and opinions.  Thank you for reading.

Follow me on Twitter @randyschwimmer7.

Enhanced by Zemanta