Draft Review: AFC South

Draft weekend is over. It’s sad times in the lair. I guess it’s back to binging super hero movies until fantasy season picks up for us keyboard warriors. But before we go open Disney+, here’s some grades. Remember, I did an analysis of each pick of the first round already, and be sure to check out the earlier editions of the review series.

Houston Texans – D

Apparently I’m the only person on the planet that actually likes (or at least doesn’t mind) the Davis Mills pick. Everyone is viewing spending #67 on Mills as a waste of a pick as he’s not going to be the long term solution. Yea, he probably won’t be, but all we talk about is how valuable quarterbacks are on the field and on the market. Quarterbacks are currency. Yes, the Texans have the worst roster in the league and it isn’t close and yes they could have used #67 on literally any other position and potentially gotten a solid contributor. Or, after they start 0-6 they can bench Taylor for Mills and see what happens. If he stinks, great, Houston will take their favorite quarterback with the first pick in 2022. If he actually shows flashes, even better. It won’t (or at least it shouldn’t) prevent them from taking a quarterback #1 next year, but if Mills shows enough in 2021 some desperate team might throw the Texans a second rounder. Look at what Wentz and Darnold just fetched in trades and you’re telling me if Mills flashes he can’t get a second? If he washes out of the league who cares? There’s just as good a chance whoever else they would have taken at 67 washes out of the league as there is that Mills does himself.

Houston followed up the Mills selection with just an absolute horrendous trade that I still cannot believe actually happened.

The Texans shipped off 109, 158, and a future 4th just to get up to 89. Nico Collins is an intriguing receiver prospect given his size and athleticism but good lord this is bad. Brevin Jordan in the 5th is good value and a potential steal.

The moral of the story though is that even after moving on from BOB Houston remains the worst run franchise in the league.

Indianapolis Colts – D+

I liked the Kwity Paye pick as a solid selection that was good value and hit a need. I actually like Dayo Odeyingbo as a prospect and the strategy of doubling up on pass rushers. Even if he does have to redshirt in 2021 I think this can be a steal.

There was a run on offensive tackles between picks 39 and 53 where six of them came off the board, and then Indianapolis picked 54th (which was Dayo). You have to wonder if this played a big role in their selection. After trading for Carson Wentz I anticipated Chris Ballard trading down in the draft to accumulate more picks. With a run of tackles happening right in front of them, 54 seemed like a perfect time to fall back and regroup. Instead, they went with Odeyingbo.

They then went on to basically not address their dire left tackle situation. Jim Irsay came out over the weekend and said they believe Sam Tevi can be their starting left tackle. He can be in the sense he will actually be their starter since there’s no one else on the roster. It’s a horrible idea, however. Last year, for the first time in his career, Wentz played behind a terrible offensive line and the result was him being the literal worst starting quarterback in 2020. Left tackle is only one out of five positions, and Philadelphia’s entire line was a nightmare last season, but the offensive line is a weak link proposition where it’s better to be average across the board than to even have four studs and then trash. This is a real issue. As I’ve mentioned in the other write ups, teams can begin signing players next week without it messing up their compensatory pick formula and there’s some interesting names in the free agent tackle pool, so we’ll see what the Colts do next.

Jacksonville Jaguars – C

The single worst pick of the first round was Travis Etienne. Not only are first round running backs bad, but the Jaguars already have James Robinson.

Jacksonville then comes back with a reach on Tyson Campbell at the top of the second round. Corners with an inability to change directions and a lack of ball production in college are just not my thing. I also don’t understand where the team plans on playing him. They just paid Shaquill Griffin a whole bunch of money to be one outside corner, and they just drafted C.J. Henderson 9th overall last year to be an outside corner. Ok, Henderson was selected by the previous regime but read the room. Are they planning to kick Henderson inside for their nickel package? Asante Samuel Jr. was just sitting there and the prevailing wisdom is that despite his incredible talent he needs to be a nickel corner due to his size.

The Jaguars next two picks were straight Trent Baalke specials. Walker Little battled injuries throughout his college career but was an elite recruit coming out of high school, and Andre Cisco is coming off a season ending surgery.

Backing up a bit, both Campbell and Little were 5 star recruits coming out of high school. In Peter King’s final mock draft he had a nugget about the Jaguars braintrust being in a better position that any other team to tap into the college knowledge pipeline due to their deep rooted connections. Time and again the Jaguars drafted players Urban Meyer recruited while still at Ohio State, regardless of how their college career panned out.

Meyer also spent a lot of time covering the PAC12 as a member of the FOX Sports broadcast team. Maybe it’s a coincidence he took both Little and Jay Tufele but it sure looks like in a draft where the major story line was teams had limited and incomplete information on players Meyer really relied upon the word of coaches he trusts/his own opinion from 3-4 years ago. I actually like the Tufele pick though.

I also like taking Jordan Smith in the fourth and seeing if can continue producing as a pass rusher despite his red-flag pro day numbers.

Lawrence is doing a lot of leg work for this grade here. I don’t even really mind the Little or Cisco picks but taking Etienne and Campbell where they did makes no sense and I don’t like what is already emanating out of Jacksonville. Baalke continuously drafted injured players while he was in San Francisco and it looks to be he will continue that trend here. At some point time will have marched too far forward for Meyer to have recruited anyone in the draft but I don’t like that it appears to have played such a major role in their decision making.

Tennessee Titans – B-

I was a big fan of shooting for the moon with Caleb Farley in the first round. Jon Robinson has made a habit of drafting for need in his Tennessee tenure and tapping Dillon Radunz in the second is another example. I was no where near as high on Radunz as anyone else so odds are I’m just wrong. There was also a clear drop off at the position and the Titans desperately need a new tackle in the wake of the Isaiah Wilson debacle.

I don’t really like the Monty Rice selection in the third round, but I love the Elijah Molden pick later in the same frame. Molden has been the best slot corner in college football the past two seasons and has nickel safety versatility. The dude can just cover and is a steal at pick 100.

Robinson finally did something about the receiver position in the fourth when he wildly reached on Dez Fitzpatrick. I’m not advocating for drafting based on needs but when you need a receiver and it’s a strong receiver class the stars just sort of align.

I think Rashad Weaver is a great pick later on in the 4th and has a chance to add to Tennessee’s pass rush. Robinson then finished out the draft by selecting two members of the All Name First Team in Racey McMath and Brady Breeze.

I really don’t like the Rice or Fitzpatrick picks, and I wish Robinson addressed receiver earlier, but Farley, Radunz, Molden, and Weaver is a good haul.

filed under: NFL

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