Each offseason, experts and analysts look into potential needs for every NFL team in each division. By the end of each season, the teams are usually aware of specific areas that need to be addressed. Let’s take a look at some of the areas each AFC South team should look to improve upon over the course of this offseason.
Top needs: QB, RT, RB
Yes, I know. We’ve been singing the same tune for several seasons now. To no one’s surprise, the Jaguars really need to turn their attention towards the offensive side of the ball. More specifically, the quarterback position! There’s a reason why Jacksonville struggled heavily during the 2018 season, and his name is Blake Bortles. Too mean? Yeah, didn’t think so, either. His 13-to-11 TD:INT ratio and QBR of 79.8 speaks for itself.
Nick Foles might be a viable option if the Jags are willing to send a reasonable draft pick in exchange for the former Super Bowl 52 MVP. If not, they hold the No. 7 overall pick, and this years draft has plenty of interesting options, including Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. Take your pick, Jacksonville.
It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to shape up an offensive line that surrendered 31 sacks this season, (Tied for 17th in the league), either. Right tackle might be the place to start, considering Jeremy Parnell is 32 and isn’t getting any younger. Not to mention your backup is former Giants’ bust Ereck Flowers, who’s not exactly the “best” replacement.
Speaking of replacements, backup running back T.J. Yeldon is set to hit free agency, so it also might be wise for GM David Caldwell to find a decent backup to help Leonard Fournette carry part of the load heading into the 2019 season.
Top needs: OL, CB, WR
First and foremost. the Texans MUST address their offensive line woes. Not only did they allow a league-high 65 sacks, but opposing teams literally “lived” in the Texans’ backfield. Take a page from fellow rival Indianapolis Colts’ book, and do everything in your power to acquire protection for franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson this offseason, whether it’s through the draft or free agency.
Cornerback should be another priority for Houston, too. For one thing, Johnathan Joseph is 34 and might be loosing his touch. Shareece Wright was constantly torched all throughout the entire season, and Aaron Colvin played decently, too. But based on all three of these points, I see this position to be a major need for the Texans this offseason.
Wide receiver isn’t a huge need, but it wouldn’t shock me to see GM Brain Gaine go out and either sign or draft a receiver or two. Will Fuller has great potential, but was unhealthy for most of the 2017 and 2018 seasons and Demaryius Thomas is a solid veteran who just turned 31. Question is: Does Houston consider him a #2 wideout due to his age?
Top needs: G, WR, SS, (QB?)
Let’s start with the offensive line, who tied eighth for sacks surrendered with 42. Personally, I think the issue lies on both respective guard positions. Quinton Spain does a decent job overall, but struggles in pass-protection. Meanwhile, counterpart Josh Kline has a 58.0 ranking, according to Pro Football Focus, making him an “average” guard at best.
Wide receiver should also be a position of interest, too. Besides Corey Davis, who showed great potential in 2018, the Titans don’t really have a “true” #2 wideout. The good news is, this year’s draft class is loaded at the receiver position. I wouldn’t be surprised to see GM Jon Robinson go after a wideout or two during the offseason.
Strong safety, other than the offensive line, should be Tennessee’s number one focus this offseason. They need someone that’ll pair nicely with Pro Bowler Kevin Byard. Their solid upfront, it’s their back end that worries me.
Marcus Mariota may not be the answer the Titans have been searching for. Whether they want to admit it or not, time’s just about run out on the former No. 2 overall pick and 2014 Heisman Trophy winner. His production has been average at best at the next level, and he can’t seem to stay healthy. His 11-to-8 TD:INT ratio isn’t great, either. Besides, backup Blaine Gabbert certainly isn’t the answer long term, and quite frankly, I’m not sure Mariota is, either.
Top needs: DT, WR, OLB
For the first time in many seasons, the offensive line isn’t Indianapolis’ number one concern. Although, they’re far from perfect and could use some upgrades in key areas. For example, defensive tackle, specifically an interior pass-rusher. Denico Autry played better than expected this season (9 sacks). Now it’s time to pair him with another one-man wrecking crew on the defensive interior.
Similar to fellow division rival Tennessee, Indy, too, has a wideout concern. Personally, that may have been their downfall when they lost to Kansas City in the Divisional round of last seasons playoffs. Other than T.Y. Hilton, the Colts are in desperate need of a #2 wideout. Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal and others are talented players, but their ceilings may not be that high.
Anthony Walker Jr., and Darius Leonard formed one of the league’s best linebacker duos in the entire league this season. But outside linebacker should be another area to consider addressing this offseason. I get it, Indy’s extremely young at that position, but what’s stopping them from spending a nice chunk of change to find someone who’ll better fit DC Matt Eberflus’ scheme for 2019? Nothing. That’s what.
Besides, it’s not like Indianapolis has a league-high $122 million in cap space and nine draft picks to work with this offseason. Oh, wait? They do! So don’t sleep on Indianapolis potentially being BIG spenders during free agency. I know GM Chris Ballard likes to build through the draft, but man is this team already loaded in many key areas!