Team Needs: AFC South

Houston Texans:

The Texans have a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson, and despite trading star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, are fairly well-stocked at skill positions, tight end aside. David Johnson and Duke Johnson form the team’s running-back duo, and they likely feel comfortable with their top three receivers, Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, and Randall Cobb. Houston has spent third-round picks on tight ends in both 2018 and 2019, but neither of those players – Jordan Akins and Kahale Warring – have showed much, and may be stuck behind Darren Fells at the position. After investing heavily at tackle to acquire Laremy Tunsil and draft Tytus Howard, those will likely be their bookends next year, with Nick Martin manning the pivot. Guard is a need,

as Max Scharping and Zach Fulton struggle in the run game.

Aside from future Hall of Famer J.J. Watt, the Texans have a weak defensive line and could stand to add both a nose tackle and a five-technique end, as currently they are set to rotate players like Angelo Blackson and Eddie Vanderdoes. Houston is pretty set at three of four linebacker spots but could use a “Jack” outside linebacker opposite Whitney Mercilus. 2019 second-rounder Lonnie Johnson was a disaster at cornerback last year, but the team has plenty of other young talent there.A strong safety who could play next to Justin Reid would be good as well; the current starter is Tashuan Gipson, who might be better-suited as a backup at this point.

Top Needs: TE, OG, DL, OLB, SS

Expiring Contracts: QB Deshaun Watson, WR Kenny Stills, WR Will Fuller, OT Laremy Tunsil, LB Zach Cunningham, CB Gareon Conley, CB Vernon Hargreaves

Indianapolis Colts:

If the Colts keep Jacoby Brissett, they could groom him to take over for Philip Rivers next year; if not, they’ll probably want to line up a developmental candidate at the position. Marlon Mack is a solid starter at running back, and it’s likely the team feels like it has two pieces at receiver in T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell, although the latter played poorly as a rookie second-round pick. Zach Pascal played well there last year, but they may still want to look for an upgrade. Zach Doyle is a solid starter at tight end. The Colts have one of the league’s best offensive lines, with only right guard Mark Glowinski being a candidate to be replaced through the draft or otherwise.

The Colts just traded a first-round pick to acquire DeForest Buckner for their three-technique spot, and they have a good if aging right end in Justin Houston. Beyond that, the Colts have invested three second-round picks in 2018 and 2019 on defensive linemen, although none are proven and they may also consider bringing in competition for Grover Stewart at nose tackle, although he’s a serviceable run defender. Outside linebacker is a major strength with Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke, although Anthony Walker is a liability against the run at the middle linebacker spot. The team’s major returning corners are Rock Ya-Sin, who had an uneven rookie year in coverage, and Kenny Moore, who was pretty good. Given what they’ve invested in Ya-Sin, as well as their signing of Xavier Rhodes, it’s possible they don’t view cornerback as an immediate need. Malik Hooker hasn’t been quite what they wanted so far, but he can probably be written into the free safety spot with pen, while Khari Wills’ starting job at strong safety is more questionable.

Top Needs: RG, NT, MLB, SS

Expiring Contracts: QB Jacoby Brissett, RB Marlon Mack, WR T.Y. Hilton, WR Zach Pascal, OC Ryan Kelly, DE Justin Houston, NT Grover Stewart, LB Anthony Walker, DB Malik Hooker

Jacksonville Jaguars:

The Nick Foles experiment failed, but fortunately Gardner Minshew played pretty well last year and could prove a serviceable starter at quarterback. It’d be surprising if the Jaguars made any major changes at running back (Leonard Fournette), tight end (Tyler Eifert), or wide receiver (D.J. Chark, Marqise Lee, Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook). Jacksonville’s invested pretty heavily on the offensive line, but really only center Brandon Linder has been playing well; you could also consider left guard Andrew Norwell, a prize free-agent acquisition, and right tackle Jawaan Taylor, the team’s second-round pick last year, as likely starters, although left tackle Cam Robinson and right guard A.J. Cann may face competition, the latter potentially from Will Richardson, who struggled mightily over his 436 snaps last year.

The Jaguars rotated heavily at defensive tackle last year and will probably do so again. Taven Bryan and Al Woods (the latter in Seattle) played well in 2019  and Rodney Gunter was decent as well, so while strengthening the rotation would be nice, it’s more preferable than necessary. They have two good defensive ends in Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue, although Myles Jack and the linebackers really struggled last year. Jacksonville dramatically overpaid Joe Schobert to play middle linebacker, so they are certain to start him in the middle. Signing Darqueze Dennard to a one-year deal to start opposite D.J. Hayden would have them a pretty solid cornerback duo, but his deal fell through and they also lack a slot option. Jarod Wilson was a solid coverage safety last year, but Ronnie Harrison struggled at strong safety.

Top Needs: QB, OL, OLB, CB, DB

Expiring Contracts: RB Leonard Fournette, WR Chris Conley, WR Dede Westbrook, OT Cam Robinson, CB D.J. Hayden

Tennessee Titans:

The Titans have settled on Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback of the future, and also have one of the best running backs in the league in Derrick Henry. There are three solid receivers on roster in A.J. Brown, Corey Davis, and Adam Humphries, and Jonnu Smith played well at tight end last year. The offensive line took a big hit when Jack Conklin left, but they look good from left tackle to center, and even at right tackle, where Dennis Kelly will step into Conklin’s role. Right guard is the major need, where 2019 third-rounder Nate Davis really struggled over about 900 snaps last year.

The Titans look pretty set at two of the three positions on their defensive line; they basically kept Jones on the field and rotated between Simmons and Austin Johnson last year. With Johnson gone, they’ll need Simmons to step into a major role, although they did make him a first-round pick, presumably for that reason. Jurrell Casey was the team’s anchor on the line, but they inexplicably traded him, so they’ll need a third lineman. It’s hard to know what the Titans have at linebacker, but because of their investments there they may opt not to make major changes; they spent first- and second-round picks in 2018 on Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry, respectively, and brought in Vic Beasley in free agency, but none of those guys played very well last year. Surprisingly, Jayon Brown may have been their best linebacker, and he returns on the inside. Although Adoree’ Jackson looks like a stud at cornerback, Malcolm Butler struggled and Logan Ryan is still a free agent, so another cornerback would be worth looking into. Kevin Byard is one of the best safeties in the league, and while Kenny Vaccaro and Amani Hooker didn’t play well last year, they may want to give those guys another chance.

Top Needs: RG, DL, CB

Expiring Contracts: WR Corey Davis, TE Jonnu Smith, DL DaQuan Jones, LB Jayon Brown, CB Adoree’ Jackson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: