Here at Battle Red Blog, we mainly talk about us, the Houston Texans. But OCCASIONALLY, I wanna talk about me, I wanna talk about Tennessee, I wanna talk about Jacksonville, I wanna talk about Indianapolis, I wanna talk about I. For this week’s groupthink I invited the entire AFC South into the discussion. I asked the masthead a simple question, which AFC South team had the best offseason and improved the most?
Here are our responses:
Of the four teams, I am only impressed with Jacksonville’s draft. Although they had the earliest draft picks of the division, what they did sets them a part in terms of instant starters and depth building.
Jawaan Taylor in the second round was an absolute steal. He is the most NFL ready lineman in this past draft and fills a major need for this team. Josh Allen will terrorize the Texans for a decade. He seriously is Von Miller in the making. Then later in the draft RB Ryquell Armstead has a good chance to enter the running back rotation on this offense and will be an instant impact on special teams. Outside of getting their QB of the future, the Jags had a relatively quiet free agency. Yes they lost a lot of talent across the defense, but they lost them at positions of depth.
I was unimpressed with the Titans draft. Hit or miss indeed. Jeffrey Simmons and Amani Hooker are great additions. A.J. Brown is a system WR who was surrounded by amazing receiver talent. Cameron Wake bolster a below-average defense that blew many games for this team.
For the Colts, they were too picky in their additions. Spencer Ware with their offensive line could be deadly, but there are definitely other RBs that have better skill sets than him. Justin Houston I believe will have less of an impact on this team than expected. Although top to bottom they have the best roster, they could have set the league on fire with several huge pick ups.
BE-SFs: For me, they kinda had a Facts of Life off-season: the good, the bad, the facts of life. Signing Rodger Saffold was a great move, but their draft seems really meh.
Clots: I will break with my fellow blogmeister, Big Matt, and say that I think the Clots had a decent off-season. The Justin Houston signing is fantastic and something the Texans should have done. Parris Campbell is intriguing. They could have done more, yes, but it wasn’t that bad.
Glitter Kitties: For my money, they easily had the best off-season. Nick Foles, Jawaan Taylor, and Josh Allen in a vacuum improves this team greatly. Then, you think about how they match up with the rest of the AFC South? I don’t think, with Foles, they are a legit Super Bowl contender, but they look like they’ll be the prey to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
I may hate the Colts’ offseason even more than I hate Houston’s. The Colts had nearly $100 million in cap space and they added Justin Houston and Devin Funchess. That’s it. They retained their own players without making the decisions to correct their abominable pass rush, add another cover cornerback, and another starting caliber safety. Their draft? They took a bunch of guys and traded down. Great. That will just get you losing in the first or second round of the playoffs. Chris Ballard is a dumb risk averse nerd and needs to learn what a window is. Maybe he can stare up at one to find solace in between getting dunked into the toilet.
The Texans did slightly more, but they too, didn’t take advantage of the opportunity they had in front of them. Plenty of cap space, draft capita, and Deshaun Watson’s on his rookie contract. And the Jags’, well they added a mediocre quarterback, someone who in theory should be able to create for others and be at least mediocre. They paid him so much though. I think Nick Foles will be fine this year, but once he has to be better, and takes up more of their cap, they will end up in a Kirk Cousins situation. 8-8. 7-9. Mediocre. They did have the best draft in the division though.
I’d have to go with Tennessee. I don’t know who the Titans are. I don’t think they will be great at anything, but they added starters at positions where they needed to.
I’ll forever love this team for signing Adam Humphries to ensure he didn’t go to New England. The Titans have needed a slot receiver that run slants off of play action passes with Marcus Mariota for forever. They got it now. Rodger Saffold is a slam dunk, Pro Bowl level offensive guard, and now they know longer have to watch Josh Kline’s J-K tricep tattoos get pushed into the backfield. They have a competent backup option for those six games Mariota is injured with Ryan Tannehill, who, dare I say it, may end up being the Titans’ starter after this year. PFF loved the Titans’ coverage, but they had a terrible pass rush, and pass defense. Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan were worthless last year. Cameron Wake, as long as he’s healthy, he’s 37, and Harold Landry, a young Pro Bowl talent, should be at least competent. And if Jeffery Simmons starts and plays this year, he can be the final piece this pass rush has been missing.
The Titans added the most talent this offseason, and fixed most of their needs. They are pretty good everywhere. They aren’t great at anything. Solid. Dependable. Real Wrangler jeans. That’s Tennessee.
The Colts had the potential to win the offseason as the team with the most cap space, but their moves were not enough of a slam dunk. Justin Houston *may* work, Spencer Ware *may* work, but there were no guarantees.
The Titans made a lot of quiet moves that I favor more than Indy’s. Adam Humphries, Rodger Saffold were among the signings.
The Jags got the top QB in the class, which is a win. They landed possibly the best edge rusher in the draft, win. And they landed Jawaan Taylor for a bargain in the second round, win. Ws all around for Jacksonville.
Jacksonville made the strongest and most obvious moves to upgrade their team, and had the overall best offseason in the AFC South. They upgraded the QB position, and had the strongest draft haul in the AFC, if not the entire NFL. Josh Allen and Jawaan Taylor will likely be regulars in the Pro Bowl for the next decade.
I’m really bummed that the Titans secured Saffold, because that would have been a great free-agent addition for the Texans. Other than that, I wasn’t blown away with the rest of their efforts. Likewise, the Colts had a “Meh, Luck is back under center, so we’ll win games anyway” type of offseason.
As easy as it is to criticize the Texans for sitting on a pile of cap space like Dom DeLuise as Caesar enjoying a treasure bath. No wait. It is appropriate to criticize them, because that’s exactly what Brian Gaine and Cal McNair did. Here, take a moment and watch this for the reference:
Now, back to where I was going with this: Notwithstanding the, ahem, treasure bath approach to hoarding cap space, the Texans rolled the dice like drunk sailors at a craps table in Monte Carlo during the draft on what many correctly call “projects.” Look, this draft class seemed pretty weak overall, and certainly lacked any “sure-thing” players where Houston had the biggest needs. Instead, they went after extreme athletic talent and high-upside potential without giving up future draft capital. The reports coming out of training camp have been good with respect to Tytus Howard, and the water polo tight end, who’s full name is: Kahalekuiokalani Michael Wodehouse Warring. I’m a homer at heart, and am starting to get excited to see these guys on the field soon.
We won’t know for a couple of years, but if Gaine’s draft gambles don’t pan out, the Houston fans and media will line up to drown him in an alabaster bathing vessel devoid of any treasure.
Stacking it all up, I’d rank the AFC South’s offseason like this:
That’s where we stand. Log on. Have a thought. And let us know how you feel.