Carrying on the series of team needs by division, here’s the AFC South
Need to protect star quarterback Deshaun Watson so that means a decent investment needs to go into the O-Line. Watson was the most sacked quarterback through 2018, and it’s not like he’s a statue when he’s in the pocket! With Demaryius Thomas cut and Will Fuller faltering fitness levels the Texans would be wise to seek out a genuine second wide receiver to play alongside star DeAndre Hopkins. If a genuine secondary threat can’t be found then looking for a solid tight end could be another option.
On defence, the Texans will need to decide what they want to do about Jadeveon Clowney. The former first overall pick is heading to free agency and with JJ Watt’s contract still rather big, there’s a good chance that the Texans won’t want to commit so much money to the pass rush. I’d expect him to be tagged and possibly traded to ensure that they get something for him. Outside of pass rush, they’ll need to address the backfield with strength needed at cornerback and safety if Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson aren’t kept on.
The defence in Jacksonville is set and none of the star players are heading to free agency so unless they’re drafting for strength in depth, their attention should turn to the offensive side of the ball.
And there’s a couple of glaring needs there! First and very much foremost is to get a new quarterback. I believe they’ve pretty much given up on Blake Bortles and will look to free agency to bring in a veteran – Nick Foles maybe? They do have draft position to get a quarterback but I’m not convinced by this years class. They could look to bring in a player like Bridgewater on a one year deal, see how he does and if he’s not good enough, draft someone next year when the class is thought to be better. When they do find someone, they need to find players for him to throw the ball to. Presumably, the Jags will continue to utilise a run heavy offence (providing the trust in Fournette is rebuilt) , but they still need someone. Donte Moncrief is heading into free agency, they could look to sign him as I don’t imagine him to be costly, but he’s not a number one. Tight end is another position that could use some work.
Like the Jags, there aren’t many ‘big’ players heading to free agency this year. The only name that really stands out is Derrick Morgan, and seeing he’s 33 they may just let him walk or else sign him back on a cheap deal.
Mariota is still yet to prove his worth as a franchise quarterback. But getting him some more weapons would help – Corey Davies developed quite well towards the end of the season but the loss of tight end, Delanie Walker really hurt. Walker will be back next year but getting a bit younger at the position would be beneficial to the team as well. Like Davies, running back Derek Henry ended the season very well. The Titans will hope he can continue that form heading in to the 2019 season but getting some quality depth behind him would help.
On the defensive side of things, the draft is packed with defensive lineman and I could see the Titans picking up one to either play through the interior or on the edge to compliment last years second round pick Harold Landry. Malcolm Butler came in last year and looked ok (I’m not going any further in my praise than that) but they’ll need to find a safety if they decide not to bring back Kenny Vaccaro who came in mid way through 2018.
The offensive line looks to be fixed, the quarterback is decent and there’s some good players on defence. All this led to a strong campaign in 2018 and heading in to 2019 with a lot of hope. Andrew Luck had receivers who were far from household names in 2018, giving him one (maybe two) new receivers would help elevate the offence that little bit more. Marlon Mack is an ok running back but with the amount of cap space the Colts have, they could make a run at Le’Veon Bell, though the risk to the dressing room could be one step too far. Luck, Hilton and Bell plus another quality wide receiver and even Ebron would make for an exciting offence.
On the defensive side of things, they need to try and sign Pierre Desir. The cornerback isn’t stellar but he showed in a few games that he’s decent enough to be on the field – closing down DeAndre Hopkins in both games he played against him. Pass rush is the big need for the defensive unit, and luckily for the Colts the draft is stacked high with both interior and edge pass rushers. From the Darnold trade the Jets made last year, the Colts have an extra second round pick which along with their first, could be used to solidify the defensive line.Embed from Getty Images