Second Year Spotlight: AFC South

Jadeveon Clowney – OLB – Houston Texans The number one pick in the 2014 NFL Draft had a very disappointing rookie season because of knee injuries. He only participated in four games last year and finished with seven total tackles and no sacks. He suffered a knee injury early on, had surgery, and was able to come back in late October. He still experienced problems and finally had microfracture surgery on the knee in late November. Clowney is said to be doing very well with his rehab, and the hope is that he is full go late in the preseason and 100% by opening day. If healthy, Clowney gives the Texans a player who has the opportunity to be a dominant edge rusher and a complement to All-World defensive lineman J.J. Watt. While Clowney had a disappointing final season at South Carolina, the tools are there for him to succeed. While I don’t expect him to be in top form early on, I do feel he will put up respectable numbers and help make an already good defense even better. Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson – WR’s – Jacksonville Jaguars The Jaguars spent second round draft picks on Lee and Robinson a year ago, and both played fairly well. While there were a number of rookie receivers who played well last year, generally, a receiver is in his second year before he really begins to break out. That is the hope for both Lee and Robinson. Neither played poorly, but they did not play quite as well as expected. Lee finished the year with 37 receptions for 422 yards and only one touchdown. Robinson had 48 catches for 548 yards and two touchdowns. The two receivers complement each other very well. Lee is a quick, fast, deep threat with outstanding run after the catch skills. Robinson can be more physical and a possession type but still has enough speed to get deep. For second year quarterback Blake Bortles to reach his potential, both Lee and Robinson have to come on strong this year. The talent is there and they know what is expected of them. Now all they have to do is get the job done. Donte Moncrief – WR – Indianapolis Colts From a physical standpoint, there is no reason Moncrief doesn’t become a top wide receiver in the NFL. He has all the natural tools. At 6’2 – 220 he has outstanding size to go along with better than 4.4 speed. He is long, has good hands, and is extremely athletic. Coming from a very simple spread offense in college, the only thing that is missing with Moncrief’s game is experience and confidence playing in a complex NFL offense. As a rookie, the former third round pick had 32 catches for 444 yards and three touchdowns. He added another five catches in the playoffs. This year, with Reggie Wayne gone, the Colts would like Moncrief to at least double that production. This being his second year in Pep Hamilton’s system, he should be able to start strong and help improve an already strong passing game. DaQuan Jones – DE – Tennessee Titans As a rookie in 2014, Jones looked like a rookie. He showed flashes of potential but could never put it together. He finally got a chance to start the final game of the 2014 season at defensive end and played well. He finished the game with four tackles and a sack. Coming into his second season, Jones is looking good and has been given the starting nod at the 5 technique defensive end spot. He has the tools to be a very good run stopper on base downs and can move inside to defensive tackle in passing situations and provide a strong inside rush. If Jones can come up with 50 tackles and 6.0 sacks for the season, he will be looked at as being a solid part of the defensive front. I look for him to put up those numbers or better. Follow Greg on Twitter @greggabe

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