Draft Grades: AFC South

The AFC South was not good last season, as the Jaguars were still in playoff contention at 5-9 entering Week 15 before being eliminated. The Colts struggled without their franchise signal caller and the Titans showed glimpses with Marcus Mariota, but ultimately they all fell to the Texans. Houston was eliminated by the Chiefs in the wildcard round. However, I expect a different team to take charge of the South this upcoming season.

Houston Texans:

Round 1 Pick 21: Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame
Round 2 Pick 50: Nick Martin, OL, Notre Dame
Round 3 Pick 85: Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State
Round 4 Pick 119: Tyler Ervin, RB, San Jose State
Round 5 Pick 159: K.J. Dillon, S, West Virginia
Round 5 Pick 166: D.J. Reader, DL, Clemson

Analysis: It’s pretty clear what the Texans were trying to do in this draft. Will Fuller is an absolute burner and will be a nice compliment to Nuk Hopkins. Nick Martin will help protect Brock Osweiler, and improve the running game. Braxton Miller is another speedster, who will help stretch the defense both horizontally and vertically. Tyler Ervin, surprise, is a homerun hitter at runningback. Very fast, will fit well with O’Brien’s gap scheme. Dillon is a good tackler for a safety, he’ll provide depth and special teams. D.J. Reader was a nice value in the 5th, and can eventually replace Vince Wilfork, who doesn’t have much tread left on the tires.

Grade: B-

Indianapolis Colts:

Round 1 Pick 18: Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama
Round 2 Pick 57: T.J. Green, DB, Clemson
Round 3 Pick 82: Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech
Round 4 Pick 116: Hassan Ridgeway, DL, Texas
Round 4 Pick 125: Antonio Morrison, LB, Florida
Round 5 Pick 155: Joe Haeg, OT, North Dakota State
Round 7 Pick 239: Trevor Bates, LB, Maine

Analysis: Ryan Kelly is a Day 1 starter at Center, and immediately becomes the best interior blocker than Andrew Luck has had thus far in his career. T.J. Green is a big upside play, and I don’t know which spot he plays, but he’s a big, fast player. He’ll be a nice piece. Clark is a massive project, but he’s a high upside play. He’s all tools, no substance right now, he’s a couple years away. Ridgeway was a nice value in the 4th round, he’ll be a disruptor inside. Morrison, who I loved as a player and as a personality (he was arrested for barking at a police dog), this was a bit of a reach in the 4th. Haeg is a good value in the 5th, and will likely contribute before Clark will. Bates I can’t speak on, I didn’t know a thing about him before the draft.

Grade: B-

Jacksonville Jaguars:

Round 1 Pick 5: Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State
Round 2 Pick 36: Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
Round 3 Pick 69: Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE, Maryland
Round 4 Pick 103: Sheldon Day, DL, Notre Dame
Round 6 Pick 181: Tyrone Holmes, EDGE, Montana
Round 6 Pick 201: Brandon Allen, QB, Arkansas
Round 7 Pick 226: Jonathan Woodard, DL, Central Arkansas

Analysis: The Jaguars made it no secret what they were trying to fix on this roster. Jalen Ramsey, the top alpha dog in this draft, will immediately become their best secondary member. Then, to get Myles Jack in the 2nd round, ignoring the injuries, could end up the steal of the draft. He instantly boosts their linebacking corps. Ngakoue in the 3rd was a nice value, and the Jaguars’ pass rush a year ago was awful, so he’ll help that. Day was a nice value in the 4th, and he’ll play all along the Jags defensive front. Tyrone Holmes was a nice value in the 6th, and he’ll add to the pass rush. Brandon Allen is likely a backup at best throughout his career. Woodard was a D2 stud, and is another shot at helping the pass rush, that’s also getting Dante Fowler back.

Grade: A

Tennessee Titans:

Round 1 Pick 8: Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
Round 2 Pick 33: Kevin Dodd, EDGE, Clemson
Round 2 Pick 43: Austin Johnson, DL, Penn State
Round 2 Pick 45: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Round 3 Pick 64: Kevin Byard, S, Middle Tennessee State
Round 5 Pick 140: Tajae Sharpe, WR, Massachusetts
Round 5 Pick 157: LeShaun Sims, CB, Southern Utah
Round 6 Pick 193: Sebastian Tretola, OL, Arkansas
Round 7 Pick 222: Aaron Wallace, LB, UCLA
Round 7 Pick 253: Kalan Reed, DB, Southern Mississippi

Analysis: As my fantastic Twitter name from a few months ago stated, the Titans are looking to become an “Exotic Smashmouth” team. This draft exemplifies that, as they’re looking like they’re going to play bully ball. Conklin, while I wasn’t as high on him as some, he’s a nasty run blocker and will upgrade that OL. Dodd was a nice pick up at 33, and he’ll add some size and physicality to their defensive front. Austin Johnson is a mammoth human who’ll help against the run, although at 43 that was a bit rich for my blood. I loved the Derrick Henry pick, as I think he’ll be a great compliment to DeMarco Murray, and the Titans are going to wear you down throughout the football game. Byard should have been invited to the Combine, and he could be a starting safety from day 1. Sharpe was a nice addition in the 5th, and will help Mariota. Sims is a developmental corner, who has great size, could be moved to safety. Tretola is another piece to the “bully ball” movement, as he’s a nasty run blocker coming from Arkansas. Wallace will provide some nice depth at linebacker, and they traded up to Mr. Irrelevant to take Kalan Reed, who’s an elite athlete. Reed will make the team.

Grade: A-

Written by 

Adams-Friendship Green Devil and Carroll University Pioneer for life. Aspiring to be great. @RieseDraft

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