Draft Review: AFC South
With Andrew Luck at the helm, the Indianapolis Colts have a firm hold on the AFC South. The other three clubs (Tennessee, Houston and Jacksonville) all have quarterback problems that may or may not have been solved with the draft.
The Texans led off the draft with defensive end/outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney. There is no denying Clowney’s talent. He has the ability to be the best defensive player to come into the league in years. He did not play like that type of player in 2013 and that has to be concerning. Being paired with a veteran like J.J. Watt should help Clowney with his game preparation. If he plays up to his talent level, he has Pro Bowl written all over him.
Second round pick Xavier Su’a-Filo has the versatility to play guard or tackle. He is better suited to play guard, and that’s where the Texans will start him out. I expect him to be a starter come opening day.
The Texans had two third round picks and, in my opinion, got tremendous value with both selections. C.J. Fiedorowicz is a huge tight end who can play both as a “Y” or flexed out. He has excellent hands, is a very good route runner, and one of the better blocking tight ends in this draft. Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix was a steal. Many felt he was a late first rounder. Why he fell, I don’t know, but he is a prototypical NFL nose tackle who will start from day one for the Texans.
Pitt’s Tom Savage has the physical traits to be a very good NFL quarterback. He is big, with quick feet, has a very quick release, and spins the ball very well. Having been a double transfer in college he does not have a lot of playing time. Looking at tape, I felt he lacked top instincts and a good feel for the passing game. Still, the talent is there, but he needs some time to develop. If he is given that time, he can become a winning NFL QB.
Jeoffrey Pagan is a rotational five-technique. Jay Prosch was one of the best pure fullbacks in the draft, and Alfred Blue has the talent to be a solid NFL backup running back.
The Colts did not have a first round pick because of the trade for Trent Richardson last fall. Their first pick wasn’t until 59 where they selected Ohio State tackle Jack Mewhort. Mewhort is a tough guy who played left tackle at Ohio State but has the versatility to player either tackle or guard on the line. This was a very solid selection, and he should be a rookie starter.
Mississippi receiver Donte Moncrief has the physical talent to be a very good NFL receiver. He has great size, speed, and overall athleticism. Because of the style of the Mississippi offense, he is still raw as a route runner and will need some development. Look for him to break out his second year.
The Colts final three picks were all developmental types, with Western Kentucky linebacker Andrew Jackson having the best chance to get early play time.
While I am on record as saying taking Blake Bortles in the top three was way too high for him, I do believe that, after a period of development, he has a chance to become a winning NFL quarterback. Jacksonville has said since the draft, that Bortles will sit this year and learn from Chad Henne. In the long term, that is what is best and gives Bortles the best chance to succeed.
Getting receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson with the next two picks was great drafting by David Caldwell. Lee and Robinson will complement each other, and by coming in with Bortles, the three can grow together.
I looked at a lot of tape on Miami offensive lineman Brandon Linder, and he is a tough player with position versatility. He played both guard and tackle at Miami, with guard being his best position. He is smart, physical, and competitive; three important traits for an offensive lineman to have.
Oklahoma corner Aaron Colvin will have to redshirt this year because of an ACL injury suffered at the Senior Bowl. He will be like a bonus pick next year as he has premium round talent.
Arkansas defensive end Chris Smith lacks ideal height but he has good edge pass rush skills. Getting Central Florida running back Storm Johnson in the seventh round was a steal. He can be a good rotational back.
People were surprised when Tennessee selected Taylor Lewan, the big tackle from Michigan. It’s my opinion that he was too good a player to pass up. Had he come out in 2013, he would have been a top four pick. Lewan has size, strength, and nastiness in his play and will be an O-Line fixture for years to come.
With Chris Johnson gone, Bishop Sankey will be given every opportunity to replace him. He doesn’t have Johnson’s breakaway ability, but he is a solid all-around back. This was a nice pick.
DaQuan Jones, the big defensive tackle from Penn State, is a very good inside player. He can stop the run and has surprising pass rush skills for a player his size. Another solid pick.
Marqueston Huff from Wyoming is a safety with corner traits. He has good instincts and has a chance to get on the field right away. Linebacker Avery Williamson is a good backup type.
I am not one of those who feel Zach Mettenberger is an NFL quarterback. Yes, he has size and a strong arm, but in my opinion, it ends there. Mettenberger has virtually no mobility, average accuracy, and I don’t like his leadership skills. He is a backup at best.
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