By: Michael Adamo @Madamo1
Draft Needs: The AFC South
Houston Texans: OT, CB, OG
The Houston Texans look like they have found their franchise QB in last year’s draft, Deshaun Watson, however it came with a price of trading their 2018 first round pick. Add the Brock Osweiler trade last year and the Cleveland Browns own the Texans first two draft picks this year. What Houston must make a priority in accomplishing this offseason is to protect Deshaun Watson, whenever he returns from his torn ACL. Duane Brown, who was a linchpin on the Offensive Line for almost a decade, was traded to Seattle midseason. They need to find a viable replacement as well as a Right Tackle. Luckily for the Texans, this OT class has depth, as Brian O’Neil, Chukwuma Okorafor and Alex Cappa should be available come their third-round pick. Another position of need for the Texans is Cornerback, as the team sorely missed A.J. Bouye and Johnathan Joseph is a free agent, as well as turning 34 in April if resigned. With games against Tom Brady, Carson Wentz, Andrew Luck (if healthy) and Dak Prescott on the slate for 2018, Cornerback is a position that needs to be address whether in the Draft or in Free Agency. Players like Tony Brown, Levi Wallace or small school standout Michael Joseph, could be available for the Texans on Day 3. The last position of need is Offensive Guard, as Right Guard Jeff Allen is a impending Free Agent. Braden Smith or Scott Quessenberry, whose brother David is on the Texans, could be options for the Texans.
Indianapolis Colts: RB, DE, OL
The Colts season was theoretically over before it began, as franchise QB Andrew Luck did not take one snap at all during the 2017 season. With a team that relied so heavily n Andrew Luck in the past, without him, the lack of depth the roster had showed its true colors. The Colts must build a team that could win during Luck’s prime years, like it once did with Peyton Manning. The first need, Running Back, was eluded by president and CEO Jim Irsay at the yearend press conference. Irsay stated “You put [Andrew Luck] on that field heeled up, and all the sudden you put an Edgerrin James type of player, maybe, with that bigger, faster, stronger, and let this man continue the job that he’s already begun to do.” While this doesn’t point to who the Colts will take in the first-round, Saquon Barkley, the highest rated player in this year’s draft class, could potentially be available when the Colts pick at three. If Barkley is not there, or they don’t decide to go this route, players like Sony Michel, Nick Chubb or Kerryon Johnson could be possible picks later in the draft. Another position of need is Defensive End, as the Colts accrued only 25 sacks in 2017, second worst in the league. While the Colts run a 3-4 defense in 2017, there are a few Defensive End/ Outside LB players who can help the Colts create more pressure. Players like Bradley Chubb, Arden Key or Harold Landry, who had 16.5 sacks and 22 TFLs his junior year, could fit the bill as a terror off the edge the Colts need. Offensive Tackle is another position the Colts must address to keep Andrew Luck upright. While LT Anthony Costonzo is a good blindside protector, the Colts could use an upgrade on incumbent starter Joe Haeg. Players like Isaiah Wynn, Brett Toth or Greg Senat could be mid-round targets the Colts look at to protect the face of their franchise.
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Jacksonville Jaguars: QB, LT, TE
If the only games you watched of the Jaguars were their three playoff games, then you had a glimpse of what held the team back all season. Blake Bortles is not the franchise QB that the team thought they’d get when they drafted him third overall in 2014. While he did have a great 2015 season, he has regressed every year since. This might be the season where the Jaguars find his replacement, as this is the last season of his rookie contract. They could take Lamar Jackson, who was one of College Football’s most electric players over the past two seasons and have him learn behind Blake Bortles to be their 2019 starter, or they could take a developmental project like Luke Falk or Mason Rudolph in the later rounds. Left Tackle is another position that needs to be addressed. While 2017 second rounder Cam Robinson did decent there, a knock on him in last year’s draft process was he might not be a starting caliber Left Tackle, which showed at times this past year. Better suited for either RT or a guard spot, they should look to see if they can upgrade at LT, as they have depth in other positions to make this upgrade. Players like Kolton Miller, Orlando Brown or Connor Williams could be targets for the Jags in the first or second round. The last position of need is TE, as the reliable Marcedes Lewis will be 34 for the duration of the 2018 season. While they have decent players behind him in Ben Koyack and James O’Shaugnessy, the NFL has shown in the past 5-7 years that the TE position can be a game changer in any offense. Mark Andrews, Dalton Schultz or Mike Gesicki can make life easier for Blake Bortles or whatever QB is under center in 2018.
Tennessee Titans: DT, CB, WR
Although the Titans did make a great comeback to win in Kansas City during the playoffs, that did not save Mike Mularkey from his job, as he was fired and replaced by former Houston Texans DC Mike Vrabel just over a week ago. The first thing Vrabel must make sure is upgraded up is the DL, as starting NT Sylvester Williams had only 20 combined tackles this past year. The Titans could look to find a replacement in Da’Ron Payne or Harrison Phillips. The cornerback position was the Achilles Heel of the Defense last year, as the Titans ranked 31st in Pass Defense in 2017. While Adoree’ Jackson, a former first round pick, held his own and Logan Ryan played admirable in his first season in Nashville, there wasn’t much else behind them. LeShaun Sims finished the season on IR with a hamstring injury and Brice McCain is a free agent. While it’s strange to see teams use back to back first round picks on the same position, Tennessee might go back to back at this position, as Joshua Jackson, Denzel Ward and Carlton Davis could sure up the back end of the defense. If you are following the trend with Tennessee, the last position needed is the same position they spent their other first-round pick on last year, that being WR. If you watched any of the Titans games this year, you saw Marcus Mariota really struggled, as the Titans had the 27th overall passing offense in 2017. Personally, I believe the player we saw last year is what Mariota will be going forward, however, he needs weapons to give the ball to. With Eric Decker heading towards free agency, and hopefully a healthy season from Corey Davis, the team needs another option at WR. While it shouldn’t be a top priority for them in the Draft, they should spend a mid-round pick on the position, as players like D.J. Chark, Deon Cain and Trey Quinn could be available on late Day 2 or early Day 3.