By: Lucas Kochevar
The draft is officially over and its time to evaluate the moves that were made. In these blogs, I will take a look at the moves that were made during the draft going by each division. I won't be doing grade because it really is unfair to these kids that haven't played a snap in the league. Instead, this is aimed more for the teams and how they drafted. In this article, I will be reviewing the AFC South with the Jaguars, Colts, Titans, and Texans. Lets go
Notable Picks: QB Trevor Lawrence, RB Travis Etienne, CB Tyson Campbell, OT Walker Little, S Andre Cisco
The Jaguars held the number one overall choice along with six other picks in the first four rounds. Since their surprising 2017 run to the AFC title game, the Jags have been tearing down the roster to try and rebuild an actual contender. New HC Urban Meyer and GM Trent Baalke had their first, and most important, draft as they took some day one starters to try and build a culture. Unsurprisingly, they selected QB Trevor Lawrence. This was in the works for months and they made it official when drafting the future of the franchise. He is a home run prospect and should have no trouble finding his footing in the NFL. Tyson Campbell adds to a young Jags secondary and should get some playing time if he can learn to consistently play the ball. Little and Cisco both suffered season ending injuries. They are both likely projects that could plug-in next year with a high ceiling. By far, the most interesting pick was Clemson RB Travis Etienne. They selected him with their second first round pick that they got in the Jalen Ramsey trade. Choosing a RB in the first round is controversial, but the Jags did it while also having a solid young RB from last year. James Robinson was an undrafted gem last year as he eclipsed 1,000 yards so selecting Etienne doesn't make a ton of sense and seems like a reach. with so many needs on the roster.
Notable Picks: DE Kwity Paye, DE Dayo Odeyingbo, QB Sam Ehlinger, S Shawn Davis
The Colts have had an immaculate time drafting under current GM Chris Ballard. They enter another year with a new QB in Carson Wentz, but a lot of the team remains intact with some players exiting like OT Anthony Castonzo and LB Anthony Walker. This was an overall draft class that feels very safe, but they didn't get better to compete immediately. I understand that it's hard to really find a strong impact player at pick 21, but still Kwity Paye is gonna take some time to develop into a strong edge rusher. Paye was one of the top three DEs in this draft so where I doubt he'll make an immediate impact, I think he can develop into an important piece on that defense. Their second round pick Odeyingbo tore his Achilles tendon at the senior bowl so this will essentially be a redshirt season. Ehlinger was taken in the sixth round and has a Tebow-esque quality to him. The most interesting pick that I think they found value with was S Shawn Davis from Florida. With Malik Hooker leaving, Davis provides some upside and could be a hidden gem for that secondary if he can work his way into the lineup. My biggest issue is that they didn't take an O-Lineman until the very end of the draft. Unless they are banking on signing one of the free agent OTs, it will be intriguing to see how they fill that hole on the line.
Notable Picks: CB Caleb Farley, OT Dillon Radunz, LB Monty Rice, CB Elijah Molden, DE Rashad Weaver
There are some parts of this Titans draft that I REALLY like and there are some parts where I am scratching my head. The Titans totally missed on Georgia OT Isaiah Wilson last year as he was a headcase. This is where OT Dillon Radunz fits into the puzzle. This kid was my favorite under-the-radar player that could fall to a team at the end of the first round. I think he needs reps to really develop into a strong starting OT in the league, but he has all the tools to be a ten plus year player. I love the value of him in the second round. Rice needs to get better in coverage to guard the NFL speed, but he is a solid interior LB. The University of Washington hasn't gotten the credit as a NFL producing school, yet have produced multiple players at the next level. Molden is a very sneaky value pick in the third round and should help the Titans secondary as they lost multiple pieces. Weaver is dealing with some court issues, so it's hard to say if his character will drag him down. Caleb Farley is the biggest wildcard in this draft. There was talk that he was the best CB in this draft before his medicals revealed some big concerns. He originally suffered a knee injury that held him out of college and then he had back concerns that came out during this draft process. If, and its a big if, Farley is healthy then this is a strong pick for the Titans to bolster the CB position. Only time will tell if the AFC South champ will be able to repeat as the division winners.
Notable Picks: QB Davis Mills, WR Nico Collins, TE Brevin Jordan
I said that I wasn't gonna give out grades on the draft, but the Texans get the biggest F out of any team. The Texans are a complete and total mess. This draft was just more evidence of that. The whole Deshaun Watson saga has been a complete mess. I won't address any of the allegations against him because that's not fair to either side. The whole situation has been poorly handled from the jump. The Texans didn't have a pick in the first two rounds of this draft due trading for multiple players like Laremy Tunsil. Houston has holes everywhere on the roster. They could have taken anyone with their first pick of the draft in the third round. They decided to take a big project QB with Davis Mills, who only started 11 games and has a knee injury in his past. I liked Mills coming into the draft as QB6 and thought he might be pretty good if he could sit behind one of these vets and learn a system. I HATE that he has to come into a dumpster fire like the Texans. If this pick tells you anything its that Deshaun Watson will not be wearing a Texans uniform this upcoming season. Next, they traded up, with their very limited resources, to select Nico Collins, who is a big physical receiver. The only pick that I was a fan of was TE Brevin Jordan. Normally, there is a TE prospect who gets taken late and has a chance to be a big sleeper like George Kittle and Travis Kelce were. I won't say Jordan can be those guys, but he is a really nice athlete and can stretch the field as a vertical threat. I have zero clue what the Texans are doing and I do not trust this team at all moving forward.