football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Draft

Which AFC South Team Has Best Non-QB Roster?

  • The Draft Network
  • July 2, 2021
  • Share

What was looked upon as one of the NFL’s weakest divisions over the last decade has now provided a group of teams (mostly) on the upward trend as we approach the 2021 campaign. No longer will you find the faces of Andrew Luck, J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins, and Leonard Fournette within the division, as their departures have made way for the arrival of Carson Wentz, Julio Jones, Trevor Lawrence, and Travis Etienne just in the last six months to serve as the newfound headliners within a top-heavy division race.

In this exercise, however, each projected Week 1 starter is pushed to the sideline, allowing us to dive into the meat of each team’s offensive and defensive foundation to find the most well-rounded roster of the division’s four franchises.

Without further ado, let’s get right into it. From top to bottom, here is how the AFC South rosters stack up.

Tennessee Titans

Head coach Mike Vrabel has established a culture in Tennessee, and the Titans will prove to be one of the most exciting teams in football to watch week in and week out with the arrival of Jones. His talent coupled with A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry round out arguably the NFL’s most elite trio of weapons that could single-handedly win ball games for Tennessee. It’s a case of pick your poison, where the league’s leading rusher awaits if you go heavy on the outside to defend through the air, or on the flip side, you load up the box to protect against the run, and the impending unit of Jones, Brown, and free-agent vertical threat Josh Reynolds find themselves in man coverage—a dream scenario for Ryan Tannehill and Vrabel.

The “loss” of Jadaveon Clowney is a narrative long exhausted. He was irrelevant during his time in Tennessee, accruing zero sacks in 426 snaps. And welcomingly, his departure has made way for the arrival of Bud Dupree, a wily edge presence with proven success that will open up the opposite edge for Harold Landry to continue his development. Within the secondary, gone are Malcolm Butler and Adoree’ Jackson, but if 2021 first-round pick Caleb Farley is able to avoid injury, he could develop into a future lockdown presence on the outside opposite Janoris Jenkins.

They have all the pieces to repeat as division winners.

Indianapolis Colts

With Wentz’s arrival comes the expected breakout season of second-year back Jonathan Taylor, who headlines a nice complement of weapons for the former Eagles gun-slinger. Anchored by the top guard in football, the Colts’ line bolstered up this offseason by signing former Kansas City Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher to build a formidable bookend unit with Braden Smith. Keeping Wentz upright will be crucial due to his past of tasting the turf too often during his time in Philadelphia. 

T.Y Hilton was a surprising re-sign considering the lack of punch through the air the Colts have had the last couple of seasons, but all could change with the full-season presence of Michael Pittman Jr. and a healthy—for now—Parris Campbell rounding out the versatile receivers unit. 

Campbell, a second-round selection in 2019, is entering the most important season of his young career, following two campaigns in which he’s appeared in just nine games, recording just five starts. It’s been a rather underwhelming genesis for a once sought-after wideout prospect who still has yet to carve out a footprint in an ever-changing Indianapolis offense—but that could drastically change this fall. 

Defensively, the Colts tout one of the league’s strongest front-seven units headlined by DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard. Play on the backend must take a jump for the Colts to realize expectation, but the tandem of Kenny Moore II and Xavier Rhodes offers a nice duo on paper for Indianapolis to lean on if Wentz is unable to grasp hold of the offense early in the season.

Jacksonville Jaguars

You can scour the landscape, but I don’t think anyone has a clear idea of how Urban Meyer intends to right the ship in Jacksonville. Transition up top has ushered drastic changes in the locker room, as Etienne and Lawrence make the trip south from Clemson to headline the offense, but neither are expected to light the world on fire in their first seasons.

Despite an above-average group of offensive firepower and solid line assets, the usage of versatile chess pieces in Etienne, James Robinson, and Laviska Shenault Jr. could serve as the key for the Jaguars to potentially steal games if their youth-infused defense is able to stay off the field. 

An overall talented group of young athletes, Meyer has a nice foundation of players to build upon if he’s able to rid of his past demons and build the Jaguars back to relevancy.

Houston Texans

Texans fans, I’ll keep it as positive as I can.

I like Davis Mills. I like Nico Collins. I like Zach Cunningham. 

Other than that, Houston, we indeed have a problem. And lots of them.

There just isn’t much to be excited about, especially considering the underlying legal situation surrounding Deshaun Watson. Even if he returns, and that’s a massive “if”, I envision Houston selecting in the top five of the draft next spring as they hope to add much-needed talent to a roster extremely in need of such.

Following six division titles in the last decade, the Texans aren’t the same team of old, as they’ve gotten rid of their headlining talent over the last couple seasons, welcoming a shuffle in the front office to the tune of newly minted general manager Nick Caserio and head coach David Culley. They don’t resemble a competitive roster to this point, and for that, they are the clear favorites to occupy the cellar of the AFC South.

Filed In

Related Articles

Written By

The Draft Network