AFC Player News and Notes

Catch up on all the top AFC player news in one convenient article as ColtPower and Scout.com take you around the AFC.

AFC SOUTH

RB Michael Bennett could be headed for the Texans, the Houston Chronicle reported.  The Chronicle said the Texans are seeking more depth for their backfield and are talking to the Saints about Bennett, a five-year veteran who was signed by the team as an unrestricted free agent on March 17. Bennett was signed to back up two-time Pro Bowl running back Deuce McAllister, but he could be available because the Saints selected Reggie Bush with the second overall pick in the draft .... Rookie LB DeMeco Ryans is a versatile linebacker who can play all three positions. He will likely start at SAM or WILL. A hard-hitter, who can stay on the field even in nickel situations. He will be competing with Morlon Greenwood and Shantee Orr for one of the starting jobs. He is quick and aggressive -- exactly the characteristics the Texans want in their entire defense .... T Eric Winston is a finesse type of lineman, who is perfect for the new zone blocking scheme in Houston. He will compete for the starting job at right tackle, but it may take awhile for him to break in. He will be competing with veterans Zach Wiegert and Todd Wade. Winston is still just a season off knee surgery, but that's the reason the Texans were able to snag him in the third round .... The Jaguars believe that RB Maurice Drew could become another Joe Morris who can play on every down and also be a dangerous punt returner .... LB Stephen Tulloch had the benefit of playing behind a defensive line that included three first round picks -- Mario Williams, Manny Lawson and John McCargo. But to the Titans, it was Tulloch who made things go for the Wolfpack, and they believe he could be their starter at middle linebacker and a special teams force right from the season opener .... 

THE REST OF THE AFC

DT Haloti Ngata
is the only pick in the Ravens' draft with the chance to have an immediate impact. He can anchor the defensive front for years. He is in the same mold as Tony Siragusa, a massive force in the middle who can't be moved. Ngata likely makes the Ravens a top-five run defense .... ILB D'Qwell Jackson should be an immediate starter for the Browns. Cleveland drafted Jackson in the second round to plug the biggest hole on the team. He led the Atlantic Coast Conference in tackles each of the last two years and was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2005. A major reason the Browns were 30th against the run last season was they were weak inside next to Andra Davis .... The Browns think DE Kamerion Wimbley can be an edge rusher immediately, but might need some time to make the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker for first and second down .... QB Joey Harrington was traded to the Miami Dolphins on Friday. The deal was completed Friday, giving the Dolphins time to get Harrington into camp for the start of their organized team activities, which begin next week. The Lions reportedly received a sixth-round pick in the 2006 NFL draft, with the possibility that it could become a fifth-round pick, depending on how much Harrington plays for the Dolphins in the upcoming season .... DE Elvis Dumervil didn't slip because he wasn't productive. He had 20 sacks and won the Bronko Nagurski Trophy given to the top defensive player in the nation. But he is short at 5-11, which scared teams off. The Broncos could have done worse in the fourth round than pick someone who was so successful rushing the passer in college. If Dumervil has a good training camp, he could have a big role as a rookie .... C Greg Eslinger isn't big, and despite a great college career fell to the sixth round. But he was in the same zone-blocking scheme in college that Denver uses. Former Gophers center Ben Hamilton was a fourth-round pick in 2001 and he has become a solid starter for the Broncos .... LB Thomas Howard's speed and ability to cover running backs out of the backfield, as well as tight ends, was appealing to a team which has had trouble doing both -- in a division full of excellent all-around running backs and dangerous tight ends. Considered a raw talent, Howard is not considered will need to be developed. He will be of immediate value on special teams .... QB Chad Pennington expressed confidence in his rehab at a Jets charity event, saying, "Everything's going great. I'm full-go. I'm throwing every pass we have in the playbook." He said he expects to participate in team drills both in a late-May passing camp and at the team's veteran mini-camp in June .... QB Aaron Brooks has the early lead for the starting QB job in Oakland. As the Raiders concluded their mandatory three-day mini-camp following the NFL draft, Brooks appeared to have a clear edge over veteran Marques Tuiasosopo and second-year player Andrew Walter. Brooks, signed as a free agent after being cut by the New Orleans Saints, got the majority of the work with the first-team offensive line .... DT Warren Sapp, recovering from rotator cuff surgery, participated in a few drills but was held out of team sessions at the Raiders' mini-camp. Sapp said he expects to be ready to go by the mid-June mini-camp and should be ready for training camp with no restrictions.



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