The Jacksonville Jaguars have added running back Leonard Fournette, offensive tackle Cam Robinson, defensive end Dawuane Smoot, and others this weekend at the 2017 NFL Draft.
But what did their AFC South rivals do? All four teams in the division seemed to have a good draft, earning a grade of “A-“ or better from NFL.com’s Chad Reuter — but were the Jaguars really able to keep up with what looked like some very good drafts by their divisional opponents?
- Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson (1)
- Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt (2)
- D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texas (3)
- Julie’n Davenport, OT, Bucknell (4)
- Carlos Watkins, DT, Clemson (4)
- Treston Decoud, S, Oregon State (5)
- Kyle Fuller, C, Baylor (7)
Thoughts: Several Jaguars fans took to social media and other outlets to express their desire of seeing Watson land in Jacksonville. While I was not on that train, I didn’t want him to become a member of the Texans, either. He’ll battle it out with Tom Savage for the starting quarterback position, after the team traded up to select him at No. 12.
The Texans have been a playoff team four of the past six seasons. It’s widely believed in the football world that Houston is one competent quarterback away from being true Super Bowl contenders. If Watson does become a star, the Jaguars and the rest of the NFL will soon find out.
Many analysts projected Cunningham as a late first-round or early second-rounder. The Texans apparently opted to go best player available, and got great value by drafting him at No. 57 overall. Foreman is a big, bruising back, but also uses finesse running to get past defenders. He needs to improve in pass protection, but he can be a good compliment to Lamar Miller.
Other picks to watch: Watkins was a good fourth-round value who will likely see playing time as a rotational interior pass rusher. Fuller, a local product, could be a seventh-round flier who makes the team and provides depth.
- Corey Davis, Western Michigan (1)
- Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC (1)
- Taywan Taylor, WR, Western Kentucky (3)
- Jonnu Smith, TE, Florida International (3)
- Jayon Brown, LB, UCLA (5)
- Corey Levin, OT/OG, Tennessee-Chattanooga (6)
- Josh Carraway, OLB, TCU, (7)
- Brad Seaton, OT, Villanova (7)
- Khalfani Muhammad, RB, California (7)
Thoughts: The Titans got Marcus Mariota all kinds of weapons with Davis, Taylor, and Smith. Jacksonville’s seemingly elite secondary versus this new receiving set should be fun to watch. NFL.com’s Greg Rosenthal listed Tennessee as one of five teams that improved the most during the draft. Jackson is small, but a good cover cornerback. He gives the Titans’ secondary a much-needed boost.
I am an alumnus of Central Michigan University, which means I consider any Western Michigan Broncos player a rival. Fitting that Davis becomes a member of Titans, and as a Jaguars fan, I’ll still consider him a rival. However, I’ll have a hard time rooting against him. If he shores his hands up and stays healthy, he will be a good receiver for years to come.
Also, I think Smith is going to be a solid NFL player. I would have loved to see him in a Jaguars uniform, but the Jaguars opted to ignore the tight end position completely.
Other picks to watch: The two linebackers, Brown and Carraway, could be late-round gems who can come in on passing down sub-packages and also make an impact on special teams. Brown can be an asset in coverage, while Carraway can get to quarterbacks.
Tennessee has to be considered the team to beat in the AFC South this season.
- Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State (1)
- Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida (2)
- Tarell Basham, DE/OLB, Ohio (3)
- Zach Banner, OT, USC (4)
- Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida (4)
- Grover Stewart, DT, Albany State (4)
- Nate Hairston, CB, Temple (5)
- Anthony Walker, Jr., LB, Northwestern (5)
Thoughts: The Colts have, unsurprisingly, gone defense heavy in the draft. They’ve also gotten tremendous value from their early picks. Hooker, who many projected to be a top-10 pick, fell into Indianapolis’ lap at 15. Wilson was widely considered as a borderline first-round or early-second round projection.
Hooker is a great athlete. He had seven interception last season, returning three of them for touchdowns. However, there are concerns about his injury history and the amount of tackles he missed in college. Both Hooker and Wilson have a chance to immediately become reliable starters for a depleted Colts defense.
Basham is a player who can get to the quarterback. He’ll likely compete with Jabaal Sheard for a starting role, but wind up as a rotational player as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Other picks to watch: I fell in love with Mack’s game last season, and he has a chance to eventually earn the starting running back role with an aging Frank Gore. Walker is another player that I have been a strong proponent of throughout the draft process. Linebacker is a weakness for the Colts, and Walker should compete for playing time. Banner also has a chance to earn a starting role on a horrid offensive line.
Which AFC South foe do you think had the best draft? Which players scare you the most? Let us know in the comments below.
Which AFC South rival improved the most through the draft?
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