By Steven Weldon
The final two divisions remain to be covered with five days until the draft! Today, the AFC South.
This team looked like the class of the AFC South just a year ago. This past season though, Blake Bortles imploded, Leonard Fournette got hurt, and the Jags looked pedestrian. This coming season, they've added former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles to replace Bortles, and will hopefully lead Jacksonville back into the AFC contender conversation. They have a lot of work to do.
This draft they are in prime position to take the best offensive lineman, and that could be Jawaan Taylor of Florida or Andre Dillard of Washington State. They're going to need to keep Foles upright, and any future quarterback they may target.
NEED: To sustain a great season, and carry it over to the next season.
WANT: The second half of the 2017 AFC Championship back.
QUESTIONS: Will Leonard Fournette bounce back from a disappointing sophomore campaign?
The Titans are in a holding pattern that can only change if the offense gets it together. Marcus Mariota has never played a full season, and there's been a revolving door of skill position players who have not panned out. Regardless, they've signed some nice pieces in free agency, and the draft is where they can go two directions.
On the offensive line, they ought to select Garrett Bradbury from North Carolina State. His stock has risen to the middle of the first round recently, and he can be proficient protection for Super Mariota.
If they choose the other side of the ball, Christian Wilkins from Clemson is a good defensive tackle.
The prevailing question is still "Who was the better 2015 Draft Quarterback?", and largely neither Mariota or Jameis Winston have been able to definitively answer that question.
NEED: Mariota to use his new receiver options to propel the Titans to the playoffs.
WANT: An impact rookie that can greatly increase the likelihood of the above sentence.
QUESTIONS: How much time will coach Mike Vrabel get with this team?
Deshaun Watson needs protection. He was pummelled 62 times by the opposing team last season, and that's just official sacks. The Texans could not pick up protection in free agency, so they will likely look to the draft. Greg Little of Ole Miss may be the right pick for the offensive line improvement.
The Texans did very well this season, but it all crumbled in the wild-card round to their division rival, the Colts. Improvement is necessary, or they'll experience a similar fate to what the Jaguars experienced.
NEED: Someone protecting Watson!
WANT: To jump that small hump they can't get over. The Texans have never been to the AFC Championship game, and this could be the season.
QUESTIONS: Will Deandre Hopkins become the true best wide receiver in the game?
The Colts shocked everyone, having an incredible season on the back of a finally healthy Andrew Luck and rookie standout offensive lineman Quenton Nelson. Their other draft picks filled excellent needs on defense, and it was a perfect storm that got them an upset win in the wild-card round.
Unfortunately, they ran into an on-fire Patrick Mahomes and crumbled in the divisional round. This may have been due to a somewhat weak secondary, and with their low-enough draft selection, they can get a talented cornerback with the pick. Byron Murphy of Washington is a legitimate option here, or the Colts could look at Rock Ya-Sin from Temple as well.
NEED: Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton to have career years, and a good secondary.
WANT: It would be nice if Marlon Mack had a breakout year and became a nice compliment to the Colts' offense.
QUESTIONS: How high is this team's ceiling, now that Luck is healthy?
One more division to cover, and then a mock draft on the way! Thanks for sticking around!