5 Offseason Moves That Change the AFC South

By Thomas Ringgaard |
5 Offseason Moves That Change the AFC South

5. Jaguars LB Telvin Smith decides to sit out 2019 season

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Well... We obviously saw this coming, right?

Since he was drafted, Telvin Smith has been a high-profile player for the Jaguars, racking up over 100 tackles in each season, as well as getting 9 INTs, 5 forced fumbles, and 7.5 sacks. After ranking as the 67th player on the NFL Network's NFL Top 100 list as voted by League players, Smith has decided there are more important things in his life than football, and that he: "... must take time away from this game & get my world in order."

This is obviously a huge blow as the Jags defense looks to return to top level, and some rotation is expected to fill out the LB position. Earlier in May, Myles Jack told John Reid that he will switch to MIKE linebacker as the team continues to search for their starting WILL linebacker.

4. Tennessee Titans upgrade at WR

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Titans had a very respectable running offense in 2018, ranking 7th in yards per game and 11th in points per game. The passing offense, however, ranked 29th in passing yards/game and 27th in passing points/game.

Big yikes.

Is Marcus Mariota a high-level passing QB? No. By no means. Has he had the offensive personnel to thrive as a passing QB? Again, no. By no means.

Corey Davis stepped up well in his second year and racked up almost 900 yards and 4 TDs on 65 catches - by far the best receiver on the offense. Over the off-season, though, the Titans brought in slot matchup nightmare WR Adam Humphries, as well as Ole Miss standout A.J. Brown, who will provide safe hands and top routes as he will play both inside and outside for the Titans. 

3. Texans unable to provide protection for Deshaun Watson

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Deshaun Watson was sacked a league-high 62 times in 2018, a stat that, combined with Watson's recent ACL tear, led many to believe the Texans would go all out to acquire top offensive line help. 

Introducing Tytus Howard, first round offensive tackle from Alabama State. The small school prospect was flying up boards after the Senior Bowl, but flying in to the first round? Unexpected to say the least.

Howard is, however, the first offensive tackle drafted in the first round by the Texans since Duane Brown in 2008, which worked out pretty well. But to put things in perspective, here is a video of Howard going against fellow first rounder Montez Sweat at the Senior Bowl:

2. Jaguars sign QB Nick Foles

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What a journey this wonderful man has had. Quick recap of perhaps the most unique QB career: 
- Goes mad in 2013, putting up 27 TDs, 2.891 yards, 2 INTs and a 119.2 passer rating, going 8-2 and getting the Eagles to the playoffs. Gets in the record books with 7 passing TDs against the Raiders (and he got pulled in the 4th quarter).
- Gets traded to the Rams under head coach Jeff Fisher, and spirals down the drains as all QBs do under his scheme.
- Goes to the Chiefs under head coach Andy Reid as a backup and considers retirement. 
- Replaces Carson Wentz and puts up passer ratings over 100 in 4 out of 5 games as he led the Eagles to their first-ever Super Bowl win.
- Takes the 2018 injury-plagued 5-6 Eagles on a streak to finish the season 9-7 and is 1 dropped pass away from beating the Saints at the Superdome in New Orleans to advance to the NFC Championship.

Foles can take a talented team with a lot of pieces to the ultimate goal. Jaguars hope history will repeat.

1. Colts assemble potentially NFL-best offense

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In 2018, the Colts offense ranked 5th in points per game and 7th in yards per game. All of this despite: 
1) Having a somewhat abysmal WR room as the hottest non-T.Y. name was arguably Chester Rogers.
2) A thin RB room carried by second-year running back Marlon Mack.
3) Andrew Luck's first season back after injury.

The Colts managed to upgrade significantly with WR Devin Funchess, who will fill in well on the outside, as well as rookie 2nd round pick speedster Parris Campbell, who adds a much-needed home run ability for Luck outside of T.Y. Hilton.

Furthermore, Spencer Ware, a guy who I personally love, provides a solid overall back to complement a rising star in Mack, who now has another year under the belt. Most importantly, though, Luck stayed healthy for a full year and now has a full off-season to get the offense to an elite level.

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