With free agency and the draft fast approaching, we’re continuing our weekly series focusing on the top three needs of each NFL team. We have hit the NFC North and South, along with the AFC North. It’s time to zoom into the AFC South.
Find a franchise quarterback
It’s no secret that the Texans need a quarterback. They need a face of the franchise to reinvigorate the fan base who has been through the ringer over the past few years. Whether it’s Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, or Will Levis, new head coach Demeco Ryans and company need to swing for the fences to secure their top option.
Pair that rookie with a star wide receiver
With two top-15 picks, the Texans could look to add a rookie receiver with their new quarterback. Jordan Addison, Quentin Johnston, or Jaxon Smith-Njigba could all be intriguing options at 13 if they choose to go that route.
Add some pass rush
Another option with their second of two first round picks is to draft the best available prospect on the defensive line. While there may be some slim pickings, quarterback hungry teams may push defensive prospects down the board. Houston would be wise to pounce if Tyree Wilson, Myles Murphy, or a similar prospect falls.
Escape QB purgatory and draft a rookie signal caller
The Colts have been stuck on the quarterback carousel for far too long and it’s time to get away from Andrew Luck’s shadow. Indianapolis will be selecting a rookie quarterback with the fourth overall pick, it is just a matter of who will be available. Without trading to first overall, it’ll likely be between Will Levis and C.J. Stroud. One of those two will be wearing the horseshoe helmet next season.
Pair Stephon Gilmore with a solid CB2
Stephon Gilmore signed with the Colts when many thought they would be playoff contenders. After a disappointing year, the Colts need to pair him with a solid cornerback James Bradberry, Sean Murphy Bunting, Jamel Dean, or Amani Oruwariye are all solid free agent options if the Colts decide to stay away from the deep draft class.
Find long-term fixes for center and right guard
No team in the NFL spends more on their offensive line than the Indianapolis Colts, and the results certainly did not match the paycheck. Ryan Kelly and the revolving door at right guard failed far too often in 2022. Minnesota’s John Michael-Schmitz could be an immediate upgrade at either position and would fit in the presumed wide zone scheme the Colts could be employing in 2023.
Add some playmakers on offense
Trevor Lawrence developed into what many thought he could become when he was drafted first overall in 2021. Even with Calvin Ridley joining the crew next season, and with Christian Kirk and Evan Engram having exceeded expectations, the Jaguars still need weapons. Adding a true in-line tight end could be an option, especially if they cannot retain Engram in the offseason.
Find bookend options at tackle
Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor are subpar and Walker Little still needs to develop further. It’s time to find long-term options at both tackle positions. They could send the house for Orlando Brown Jr. or try to find an option in the back end of the first round or late day two who could develop into a starter.
Focus on secondary help
While Tyson Campbell became a reliable CB1, Shaquill Griffin’s free agency deal has not quite worked out as Jacksonville had hoped. They badly need help in the secondary and could target the aforementioned free agents. But they could also look to dip into the deepest secondary class in quite some time. If Cam Smith or Kelee Ringo makes it to the 24th overall pick, the Jaguars’ front office should pounce.
Solidify the offensive line
This is far and away the biggest need of the Titans. Their offensive line struggled mightily in 2022, largely due to injury. But Taylor Lewan is aging and Tennessee will focus on replacing him. Paris Johnson Jr. or Peter Skoronski should be their target and would be home run selections if either are available.
Bolster the secondary
Caleb Farley’s injury history continues to lengthen. Kristian Fulton is an okay player. And while Roger McCreary impressed as a rookie, he should be pushed inside to the nickel. Vrabel needs to be able to rely on his secondary and the Titans cornerback class is far from reliable.
Actually replace A.J. Brown
Maybe this is a hot take, but Treylon Burks is not a good replacement for AJ Brown. Burks has a long way to go in terms of development and his recurring injuries are a cause for hesitation. While this is a run-heavy offense, they need to be able to cork the ball down the field if teams take away Derrick Henry. AT Perry, Dontayvion Wicks, and Xavier Hutchinson are some fun big-bodied receiver prospects who could make an instant impact as rookies.