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The Rest Of The AFC South Improves While The Texans Regress

Houston isn’t keeping up with the Joneses.

2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

It certainly isn’t news to anyone that the Houston Texans were the only AFC South team without a first round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. One could make an argument that Laremy Tunsil was Houston’s first rounder, and their second rounder, and their first rounder in 2020. But that doesn’t do much to keep pace with the roster improvements of other AFC South teams.

Indianapolis Colts Offseason Additions

The Colts started the offseason by acquiring veteran quarterback Carson Wentz. They retained the services of T.Y. “Texans Killer” Hilton and brought in former Carolina Panthers left guard Chris Reed.

Last night, in a stroke of good fortune for the Colts, one of the NFL draft’s biggest names fell to them at the #21 spot—Michigan edge rusher Kwity Paye. There was a time in the not so distant past where the #2 EDGE rusher off the board wouldn’t have made it out of the top ten. This year’s run on quarterbacks and offensive skill positions worked in Indy’s favor, much to Houston’s chagrin.

Jacksonville Jaguars Offseason Additions

In what’s either going to be a huge franchise turnaround or the biggest crash-and-burn in the last decade, Jacksonville entirely revamped their organization this year. Bringing in NCAA coaching legend Urban Meyer to run the ship is a major boom-or-bust move. Meyer and his staff wasted no time fortifying the defense, adding Malcom Brown, Damien Wilson, Shaq Griffin, and Rayshawn Jenkins. A run defense that has been ailing them for two seasons now may finally become acceptable.

Last night saw the inevitable selection of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the #1 overall pick. Then, somehow, Clemson tailback Travis Etienne fell to the Jaguars at #25. With D.J. Chark, James Robinson, and Laviska Shenault Jr. already on the roster, Jacksonville has the makings of a very potent team.

Tennessee Titans Offseason Additions

The team formerly known as the Houston Oilers didn’t waste any time improving their roster in 2021. Former Pittsburgh Steelers EDGE Bud Dupree, Saints cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and Colts defensive lineman Denico Autry are definite upgrades at their positions.

Last night, the Titans worked to add further strength to their cornerback group by selecting Caleb Farley with the #22 pick. Many considered Farley the best cornerback in the draft. The 6’2”, 197 lb. corner would have been a great addition for the Texans, who desperately need help in the cornerback room, but he was never going to last until the third round.

We’ll have to wait until tonight’s third round of the NFL Draft—barring any unforeseen trades—before we can get a better picture of how new Houston General Manager Nick Caserio runs his first draft as the primary decision maker. Thankfully, he didn’t make any Bill O’Brien style (read: bad) trades yesterday, so there’s that.

Rumors swirled this week that many NFL personnel people strongly believe the 2022 draft crop is much stronger than this year’s group of would-be rookies. If that’s true, Caserio’s plan of overloading the roster on one-year deals and stockpiling draft picks for 2022 might look genius this time next year.

Right now, it just looks like 2021 will see our beloved Texans buried under the AFC South basement, looking up at the Colts, Jaguars and Titans for at least the next 16 months until Kickoff 2022.