After a really poor season for the majority of the NFL’s AFC South, here’s our look at what the teams need to improve over the next few weeks as we hit Free Agency and the Draft.
Let’s start at the top, well the bottom, with the 3-13-1. Another tough season for the Texans, their third consecutive with 4 or less wins. They struggled on both sides of the ball finishing bottom 5 on points and yards for and against.
They’ve controversially moved on from DeShaun Watson and have a plethora of picks to use in the draft. Which is helpful as they have needs all over. The Texans have 5 draft picks in the top 75 and 12 overall so expect them to try to rebuild through the draft. With pick 2 in the bank they’ve got the second shot at this years QB class, Bryce Young and CJ Stroud would are the favorites to go in the top 2. Could they pivot, move back, and maybe miss QB totally? Maybe, there’s two outstanding defensive prospects in this years class which could certainly help too in Will Anderson and Jalen Carter.
Either way they need a QB, be it a rookie or vet, but the needs don’t stop there. Internal offensive line improvements will certainly help whoever is in the backfield. Expect them to beef up their defensive front, they gave up a league leading 2894 yards on the ground last year.
The good news for the Texans is they have A LOT of draft capital to help upgrade their very poor roster with. The bad news is they’ve got a long way to go, if they want to challenge in the South any time soon they need to hit big in this draft at a number of positions.
After an ok 9-8 season with now jobless Carson Wentz, the Colts went with another Vet at signal caller bringing in Matt Ryan. It didn’t really work. Ryan went 4-7-1 and proved once and for all the Colts “we can plus anyone in and roll in the AFC South” QB theory to bed finally.
It all points to the Colts finally go young at QB and drafting one early for the first time since Andrew Luck in 2012. The needs don’t start there, they’ll need offensive line and wide receiver help whoever is behind center. On the other side of the ball they need help too, they gave up 427 points, 5th most in the league and help at corner and edge is a must.
The Colts haven’t got bags of cap space, with 11.9m to play with. they can boost that by 17m if they choose to move on from Matt Ryan and try to make some splashes with some free agents.
It was going so well for the Titans. Despite a disappointing 0-2 start the Titans won 7 of their following 8 games. Their only loss coming in overtime to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Chiefs. Things took a swing for the worse, they lost their following 7 straight games to finish 7-10. Second in the AFC South but out of the playoffs.
Not an easy pill to swallow after three straight trips to the playoffs. The Titans are somewhat in limbo; hit the reset button or try and run it back. Or do a bit of both even!?
The need help on the offensive line with up to 4 of last seasons starters departing. They also need help on the outside on offense, receiver and tight end are serious positions of need. After trading away AJ Brown during last years draft, only Robert Woods (527) managed over 450 yards through the air.
The Titans may create some big holes for themselves in the next few days. There’s potential they move on from franchise QB Ryan Tannehill and two time league rushing champ and potential future Hall of Famer Derrick Henry. Doing so will clear some cap space (between $24 and $38m depending on how and when they move on) but will create further needs and will well and truely signify a big change of direction for the team.
Last but no means least here is the Jags. Who won finished 9-8, making the playoffs for the first time since 2017 and winning the AFC South for only the second time since the turn of the century.
The Jags has an excellent free agency last term. Their aim was to help out QB Trevor Lawrence, and they nailed it. they netted Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Evan Engram, who between them totaled 2697 yards and 17 touchdowns, both numbers over 2/3rds of their total passing numbers. Engram was tagged so will be staying in Jacksonville for at least this year.
Now Lawrence has some weapons, the Jags need to add some O Line help to protect him. Starting Tackle Jawaan Taylor is out the door leaving a big hole to fill.
Statistically the Jags struggled with their passing defence, giving up the 5th most yards in the Air, both corner and safety should be high priorities if they want to improve on that.