Offseason Review: AFC South
Each Wednesday, NFP will take a look at how one of the NFL’s eight divisions did in the offseason. Today, the AFC South.
Most improved team: Colts.
It’s a close call between the Colts and Titans, as both teams added quality and quantity. The Titans should have given themselves one of the best interior offensive lines in the league with the additions of Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack. Other quality pickups include safeties George Wilson and Bernard Pollard, running back Shonn Greene, receiver Kevin Walter and defensive tackle Sammie Hill. The additions of wide tight end Delanie Walker and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick help to offset free agent losses. The Colts, meanwhile, added nine potential starters to an 11-5 team. The potential starters: wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, offensive tackle Gosder Cherlius, guard Donald Thomas, fullback Stanley Havili, defensive end Ricky Jean-Francois, nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin, outside linebacker Erik Walden, safety Laron Landry and cornerback Greg Toler. They might not all be stars, but that’s a lot of talent.
Biggest veteran move: Ed Reed, Texans.
At 34, Reed is neither as fast nor as durable as he once was. But he is a tremendous presence and still a playmaker. As long as he is on the field, he should make a difference for the Texans. And his leadership will give the team a dimension it did not have.
Best draft addition: Luke Joeckel, Jaguars.
A lot of people thought he was the best player in the draft, and the Jaguars got him with the second pick. He is a solid addition who should be a fine starter from day one. He’ll start out on the right side, but likely eventually will be a left tackle. The only issue is how Joeckel will transition from left to right, but the early signs have been encouraging. The addition of Warmack by the Titans also was a good one, and he should be a force early in his career as well.
Best under the radar move: Roy Miller, Jaguars.
He isn’t a big pass rusher or playmaker, but Miller has been a strong force in the middle of the Bucs defense. He will fit in well with Gus Bradley’s scheme and give the Jaguars a physical presence. His addition allows the team to move Tyson Alualu to defensive end, making the front even stronger. Runner up best under the radar move would be Matt Hasselbeck to the Colts.
Dan Pompei covers pro football for the Chicago Tribune at chicagotribune.com.