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Southbound -- here are some more non-first-round predictions for you to chew on

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Posted April 18, 2007 @ midnight
Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Eric Edholm

OK, I've made some calls on AFC East and NFC East teams , as well as the AFC North and NFC North clubs, so now let's take a look at some potential draft picks, Rounds 2-7, for the AFC South and NFC South teams:

AFC South

Jacksonville

Florida CB Reggie Lewis — The Jags like local players and have drafted several Florida alums recently. Lewis was in for a workout last week, as was Louisville S Brandon Sharp, another Jacksonville product. Lewis could land with one of the Jags’ three seventh-rounders.

Houston

Northern Illinois OT Doug Free — Lacking a second-round pick, the team likely will address the offensive line with one of two picks — either their first choice at No. 10 or in Round Three (No. 73). Offensive tackle remains a need, even after spending two draft picks on the position last season, and Free is the kind of guy who could step in quickly.

Penn State OLB Tim Shaw — Another in the long list of chores for the Texans will be to add speed to a slightly plodding defense. Shaw does that and would fit in well in Round Four (No. 107). He also adds special-teams value, which is a need in Houston.

Indianapolis

Oklahoma State DL Ryan McBean — The Colts have two third-round picks, Nos. 95 and 98, and almost certainly will look hard at a D-lineman there unless they take one at 32. McBean is a classic Colt defender: tough, undersized and quick. He’d fit their gap-splitting style.

Tennessee

LSU WR Craig Davis — What do you do in Round One if you are the Titans? Do you grab a cornerback to replace Pacman Jones, or do you give Vince Young a badly needed weapon? You take the corner first, and then you look for a receiver like Davis in the second round, where the Titans choose 50th overall.

Miami (Fla.) DE Baraka Atkins — He’s a little bit of a different character, but he’s not a Pacman-type concern, so he’s still on the Titans’ board. This would be a classic Jim Washburn pick; the Titans’ DL coach could take Atkins under his wing and mold him into the player many thought Antwan Odom was supposed to be before injuries derailed his progress. Atkins to the Titans in Round Four, where they pick twice.

NFC South

Atlanta

Washington State WR Jason HillWashington State WR Jason Hill — Assuming the Falcons fail to move up and grab Calvin Johnson, new head coach Bobby Petrino and GM Rich McKay are wont to add one on the first day. With two seconds and a third-round pick, there are plenty of chances, but Hill fits in best at No. 75 overall.

Georgia DE Charles Johnson — The team needs help at defensive end with Patrick Kerney gone and John Abraham so injury-prone. Atlanta finally drafted a Georgia player last year in D.J. Shockley, ending a long streak of avoiding local players in the draft. Johnson fills a need at end and fits the Falcons’ system. Johnson fits in Round Two.

New Orleans

Arizona State TE Zach Miller — Miller is a classic second-round pick: good, not great but with an excellent chance to start or play in two-TE formations. The Saints added injury-prone but talented ex-49ers TE Eric Johnson in free agency, but the Payton loves to use multiple tight ends and wants a young prospect like Miller to groom.

Carolina

South Florida LB Stephen Nicholas — Nicholas is a tackling machine, and the Panthers must add depth at linebacker with Dan Morgan’s injury history. Though he’s not really a “Mike” ’backer, Nicholas nonetheless could back up at a few LB spots and also chip in as a pass-rush specialist. He’d make a nice pick in Round Four at 118.

Notre Dame DE Victor Abiamiri — Perfect fit at No. 45 overall. The team needs depth at end because starter Mike Rucker might not be recovered from a knee injury by the start of the season and it released veteran backup Al Wallace. Abiamiri’s stock has cooled since the end of the season, but he’d make a nice third end.

Tampa Bay

Purdue DE Anthony Spencer — The Bucs are almost certain to do everything in their power to get Johnson on draft day, and it could cost them one of their two second-round picks, maybe both. But if Jon Gruden gets lucky and is able to keep No. 35 overall, he’d be wise to choose Spencer, who Gruden coached at the Senior Bowl and who fits as a natural eventual replacement for Simeon Rice. The Bucs’ top three ends are all well into in their 30s, too.
 

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