COMMENTARY | The AFC South is one of the easier divisions to make predictions about. The Colts and the Jaguars are far from being playoff contenders, and although the Titans are good the Texans are far and away the best team in the division. Who knows though, maybe the Colts will once again rise to the top and the Texans will go back to being the division doormat.
Houston Texans: The Texans are without a doubt the best team in this division and one of the best in the AFC. Last year this team suffered through a lot of injuries, but they still managed to make the playoffs. If Matt Schaub is healthy this year look for the Texans to be serious Super Bowl contenders. Arian Foster leads a superb running game and Ben Tate, the backup, is probably good enough to start on some teams. The defense is also solid and even though Mario Williams and DeMeco Ryans have both departed there’s quite a few other playmakers still on this squad. The Texans could use another receiver to compliment Andre Johnson so they may try to address that position in the draft, but it’s possible they may look to find another player who can join the rotation at defensive end.
Tennessee Titans: The Titans are good, but the success of this team lies in the hands of Jake Locker. Matt Hasselbeck put together a strong season last year, but he’s getting older and isn’t a viable long term option. Locker is the future of this team and thankfully he’s surrounded by talented playmakers like Kenny Britt and Chris Johnson. Johnson was very lackluster last season, but expect a strong rebound from him. Prior to Britt getting injured he was leading the AFC in receiving yards so provided that he’s healthy for this year the Titans will have a great receiver for their quarterback to throw to. The Titans ranked in the top five for most sacks allowed and if they want to improve on offense they will need to draft someone to help that line out. Peter Konz out of University of Wisconsin is easily the best center in this draft and he would not only help the passing game, but he would seriously improve the running game as well.
Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars were ranked the sixth best defense last year. Surprised? Don’t be. Although there aren’t many big name players on this team the defense is excellent and once the offense starts to develop the Jags will be serious contenders in the AFC South. Adding cornerback Aaron Ross was a good move and will further improve the secondary. Last season however the team struggled to move the ball though the air and ranked dead last in total offensive yards and passing yards. The fact that Blaine Gabbert had no good targets to throw to certainly didn’t help, but with the addition of Laurent Robinson the passing game should improve some. Adding some more talent to the receiving core through the draft like Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd will be key to Gabbert’s success. As always expect Maurice Jones-Drew to have another stellar season. The offensive line will have to be addressed in the draft as well as the defensive line.
Indianapolis Colts: Let’s just get this out of the way. Andrew Luck isn’t the solution to all of the Colts’ problems. Drafting Andrew Luck will not suddenly make this pathetic defense great and it will not turn this offense into one similar to that of the Saints or the Patriots. Drafting Luck, or Robert Griffin III for that matter, is a step in the right direction, but make no mistake about it, this team is in the rebuilding stage. There are holes everywhere on this team, but most importantly the Colts need to find a replacement for center Jeff Saturday so that Luck can be successful. Thankfully veteran receiver Reggie Wayne is returning, but the Colts need to add some depth to the receiving core and the running game needs to improve as well so that there won’t be so much pressure on the passing game. On defense the Colts could draft at about any position and it would probably fill a need. Dwight Freeney will really need to step up and take control of a unit that will have a lot of fresh faces in the starting lineup. At this point I’d be surprised if the Colts won four games.