AFC South Draft Notes

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Now that the feverish pace of free agency has cooled off and we turn our attention to the 2024 NFL Draft, let's look at my AFC South draft notes, how each team in the division will approach the draft, and how that might impact your fantasy rosters.


A few teams around the league may take offense, but the Houston Texans are the talk of the NFL and the new "it" team. After hiring DeMeco Ryans as head coach and adding CJ Stroud and Will Anderson in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Texans finished 10-7 last year, upsetting the Cleveland Browns in Wild Card Weekend. Since then, they have added Joe Mixon, Stefon Diggs, Azeez Al-Shaair, and Danielle Hunter for 2024. The Texans have let the rest of the NFL know they intend to compete for a Super Bowl this year.

The Colts, Jaguars, and Titans are all still looking for an identity. The Colts and Titans have 2nd-year quarterbacks and still need to determine if they have the right player for the job. However, both teams have the skill positions solidly fortified. The Jaguars have Trevor Lawrence under center but lost Calvin Ridley in the off-season. And will need to establish a more clear identity on offense. What will the rest of the division do to keep pace with the Texans?

Let's take a look at our AFC South Draft notes!

Houston Texans

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Total Picks: 9

Picks to make: 42 (2nd), 59 (2nd), 86 (3rd), 123 (4th), 127 (4th), 188 (5th), 189 (5th), 238 (7th), 247 (7th)

Team Needs

Offense: IOL

Defense: DL, LB, CB

Key Players Lost (new team):

Devin Singletary RB (New York Giants)

Jonathan Greenard Edge/LB (Minnesota Vikings)

Blake Cashman LB (Minnesota Vikings)

Denzel Perryman LB (Los Angeles Chargers)

Sheldon Rankins DL (Cincinnati Bengals)

Draft Predictions:

The Houston Texans do not have a first-round pick after trading up last year to select CJ Stroud and Will Anderson. While there is still time to decide if that was the best decision, the early reports are a resounding YES! In this draft, I see the Texans focusing on the defensive side of the ball after trading for Joe Mixon and Stefon Diggs. The offense appears to be in great shape, with Noah Brown, Tank Dell, and Dalton Schultz already in place.

In the second round, the Texans will have a selection of the second linebacker on the board. Edgerrin Cooper would be a great addition to the Texans. With their second pick in the second round, T.J. Tampa could be an ideal fit for the defense. He is tall and twitchy, and he breaks up passes with ease. The Texans have high expectations for 2024, and any player added in the draft will more likely be complimentary. 

Fantasy Impact:

With a team already poised to make a run at the Super Bowl and without a first-round pick, the Texans may not add any offensive players who will impact fantasy rosters in 2024. However, for IDP managers, a player like Edgerrin Cooper will make an immediate splash and should anchor IDP rosters for years to come.

Indianapolis Colts

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Total Picks: 7

Picks to make: 15 (1st), 46 (2nd), 82(3rd), 117 (4th), 151 (5th), 191 (6th), 234 (7th)

Team Needs:

Offense: WR, OL, RB

Defense: DB, DL

Key Players Lost (new team)

Gardner Minshew QB (Las Vegas Raiders)

Zak Moss RB (Cincinnati Bengals)

Draft Predictions:

Last season was supposed to be the year a rookie quarterback takes the helm; the team hits some bumps and learns from them. However, after Anthony Richardson's injury, Gardner Minshew stepped up and led the team to a 9-8 season. The future is now in Indianapolis. After a sticky contract negotiation with Johnathon Taylor, they are ready to take a step forward in 2024 with their foundation in place with Richardson, Taylor, and Michael Pittman.

The Colts should take a cornerback in the first round. At that spot, they should be able to choose between Nate Wiggins, Kool-Aid McKinstry, and Cooper Dejean. However, Brock Bowers may be available with the 15th pick, and it will be hard for the Colts to pass up on a player who could already be a Top-5 player. I project the Colts to select Brock Bowers with the 15th pick.

After that, the Colts draft should be "best available" on the board. I can see them looking at a receiver at 46. Keon Coleman, Troy Franklin, and Roman Wilson could all be available at that point and would instantly be on the field for the Colts. Later in the draft, the Colts may look for some depth behind Taylor. Jaylen Wright, Ray Davis, and MarShawn Lloyd could be ideal fits.

In the later rounds, the Colts could look to fortify their offensive line with Christian Mahogany or Trevor Keegan.

Fantasy Impacts:

If the Colts draft Brock Bowers, he will already be considered one of the Top tight ends in dynasty formats. He is that good. Whoever the Colts draft in the middle rounds to complement Michael Pittman and Josh Downs should have long-term value for fantasy managers.  One name I like for the Colts is Jermaine Burton. 

This offense, with Anthony Richardson, should be a team heavily invested in. This team has the potential to score plenty of points. 

However, if the Colts draft a cornerback in round one, I don't advise rostering him in IDP drafts. Rookie cornerbacks are not prepared to make an early impact in fantasy.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

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Total Picks: 8

Picks to make: 17 (1st), 48 (2nd), 96 (3rd), 114 (4th), 116 (4th), 153 (5th), 212 (6th), 236 (7th)

Team Needs:

Offense: IOL, WR

Defense: Edge, CB

Key Players lost (new team)

Calvin Ridley WR (Tennessee Titans)

K’Lavon Chaisson Edge (Carolina Panthers)

Rayshawn Jenkins S (Seattle Seahawks)

Brandon McManus K (Washington Commanders)

Draft Predictions:

In the first round, the Jaguars would have their choice of Edge players not named Dallas Turner. Laiatu Latu, Jared Verse, and Chop Robinson should all be available at pick 17. However, the Jaguars may also seriously consider a replacement for Calvin Ridley in this spot. 

If a player like Brian Thomas Jr. falls to them, I can see the Jaguars passing on the Edge players and selecting the receiver. Otherwise, if they want to take a receiver and Thomas is off the board, they may want to trade down a handful of spots and select AD Mitchell, Troy Franklin, or Ladd McConkey. 

In my mock drafts, when Brian Thomas fell to the Jaguars in round one, in the second round, a player like Chris Braswell may be a target to add at Edge or Ennis Rakestraw Jr. at cornerback.

Or, if the Jaguars go with Laiatu Latu in round one, Roman Wilson, Ricky Pearsall, and Malachi Corley were all available in round two.

My preference is the second scenario. The wide receiver depth in the 2024 draft is greater than the Edge depth. I prefer the Jaguars take Latu and Pearsall. Those two would both make instant impacts on the roster.

Later in the draft, I would love to see the Jaguars look at Jarrian Jones (CB) and D.J. James (CB) and look to energize the offensive line with Zak Zinter (G), Isaiah Adams (OT), and Christian Jones (OT).

Fantasy Impact:

If the Jaguars select Brian Thomas in round one, he is a lock to go in the first round of rookie drafts, regardless of format. Thomas is talented and will make an instant impact in fantasy. The Jaguars' second-round receiver options will also have a chance to impact fantasy, but they will more likely be available in the mid-to-late second-round in rookie drafts.

Laiatu Latu is an interesting pick for IDP. He lived in the backfield in college, and if that trend continues, he could be a monster in leagues that reward tackles-for-loss.

In the later rounds, the Jaguars will target the offensive line. Although those picks will help ensure Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne have the space to succeed, they won't necessarily see the field this year to see the impact.

Tennessee Titans

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Total Picks: 6

Picks to make: 7 (1st), 38 (2nd), 106 (4th), 146 (5th), 182 (6th), 242 (7th)

Team Needs:

Offense: OL, TE

Defense: Edge, DB

Players Lost (new team)

Ryan Tannehill QB (TBD)

Derrick Henry RB (Baltimore Ravens)

Andre Dillard OT (Green Bay Packers)

Azeez Al-Shaair LB (Houston Texans)

Denico Autry DL (Houston Texans)

Calvin Throckmorton OL (Denver Broncos)

Kristian Fulton CB (Los Angeles Chargers)

Draft Predictions:

In an off-season with plenty of surprising moves, Calvin Ridley leaving the Jaguars and signing with the Titans might be at the Top of that list. With Derrick Henry's departure, the Titans signed Tony Pollard away from the Cowboys to pair with Tyjae Spears to form an explosive, albeit unproven, backfield.

The Titans boast one of the more interesting wide receiver units: DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley, and Treylon Burks. Early in the draft process, many had the Titans hoping Malik Nabers would fall to them at the 7th pick; now, it appears Joe Alt (OT) will be the selection. Although not a flashy pick, he will provide Will Levis the time to make good decisions with the ball. When Will Levis took over this team last year, he was better than most believed he would be. This offense has signed some talented players and looks more fantasy-relevant for managers than just the team with Derrick Henry.

In round two, the Titans could take an Edge player. Chris Braswell, Darius Robinson, and Adisa Isacc are all available in my mock drafts at pick 6 in the second round. In round four, two of my favorite sleeper tight ends could be there for the Titans to provide some depth at the position. Ben Sinnott and Jared Wiley are both exciting prospects and could have some long-term potential for this budding offense.

Fantasy Impact:

The selection of Joe Alt will help improve all the offensive players currently on the roster. He is a solid tackle who will be an All-Pro one day soon. The IDP potential of any DL player selected in the middle rounds should intrigue fantasy managers. Chris Braswell and Darius Robinson would provide depth to dynasty formats. Any chosen tight end would only be a last-round rookie pick in the hopes of some playing time in the future.


Agree with my AFC South draft notes? Disagree with my AFC South draft notes? Let me know how you feel. Follow me @JGoody77 in the X World, and look out for more of my work @IDP_Plus and IDPguys.org

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