The AFC South might be the most rudderless division in the NFL. The Colts angrily jettisoned Carson Wentz and replaced him with one of the few QBs older than me, the Jaguars couldn’t put a competent team around Trevor Lawrence last year (and is apparently having internal arguments about the #1 overall pick), the Texans are… the Texans, and the Titans were the #1 seed in the AFC last year. What can these teams do in the 2022 NFL Draft to make fantasy football fans happy? Let’s take a look.
Additions: Marlon Mack (RB – IND)
Losses: Deshaun Watson (QB – CLE), Tyrod Taylor (QB – NYG)
Impact Picks: Round 1, Picks 3 & 13, Round 2, Pick 37; Round 3, Picks 68 & 80
Fantasy Needs: Everything
Pick a position group, and the Texans desperately need an upgrade at that slot. I expect two of their three day two picks to be a running back and a wide receiver, but that likely depends on how the draft falls. The Texans don’t seem enamored with quarterbacks in this class, and would be smart to trade back if a QB-needy team should come a-knockin’, to amass more picks. But, they would also be smart to get a guy in the trenches with three. There’s no offensive skill weapon worth taking in the top five or six players in this draft, meaning the Texans need to snag Ikem Ekwonu, Evan Neal, Kayvon Thibodeaux or Aidan Hutchinson with that pick.
But, let’s be clear: the Texans need everything but Brandin Cooks. They’re bad everywhere, and that includes Davis Mills. Mills’ upside is Kirk Cousins, which is perfectly fine for a team that wants to sometimes be the #7 seed in the AFC, but they aren’t going anywhere. The Texans should also get a running back because their current RB1 is Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead, or Dare Ogunbowale.
Additions: Matt Ryan (QB – ATL)
Losses: Carson Wentz (QB – WAS), Marlon Mack (RB – HOU), Zach Pascal (WR – PHI), T.Y. Hilton (WR – FA)
Impact Picks: Round 2, Pick 42; Round 3, Pick 73
Fantasy Needs: Wide Receiver, Tight End
The Colts are pretty much set at running back, what with the best young running back in the NFL getting handoffs from Matt Ryan. Ryan is also set, though the old man is the second-oldest Colts QB in the last three years, which is mind-boggling. Unfortunately, the Colts aren’t in a position to get a young QB thanks to the Carson Wentz trade last offseason. All-in-all, that position is going to be a wash for this year.
But, the Colts can make some waves getting Michael Pittman some running mates in the pass catching corps. Either snagging a wide receiver that falls to the second round (like Skyy Moore) or getting their tight end of the future with that pick (Trey McBride). The Colts need to get Matt Ryan some pass catchers, other than Pittman and Nyheim Hines. Their best bet comes in the second round.
Additions: Christian Kirk (WR – ARI), Zay Jones (WR – LV), Evan Engram (TE – NYG), Brandon Scherff (OG – WAS)
Losses: James O’Shaughnessy (TE – CHI)
Impact Picks: Round 1, Pick 1; Round 2, Pick 33; Round 3, Picks 65 & 70
Fantasy Needs: Offensive Line
The Jags backed up a series of Brinks trucks to Zay Jones, Evan Engram and Christian Kirk this offseason, to add to Marvin Jones Jr., Dan Arnold and Laviska Shenault. Throw in Travis Etienne returning from injury, and suddenly Trevor Lawrence has seven pass catchers to choose from. So, he doesn’t need one there. Also, Travis Etienne is pretty good, but is coming off of an injury (and so is James Robinson), so the Jags would be smart to use a day three pick or two on some depth running backs that fall.
But, ultimately, they should do the thing the Colts failed to do (and ruined Andrew Luck) and the Bengals did this offseason (to prevent ruining Joe Burrow) and get Trevor Lawrence more protection. On Wednesday before the draft, the Jags extended Cam Robinson to defend Trevor Lawrence’s blindside. But they need more along the line to make sure he doesn’t die. That’s why they are likely taking Neal or Ekwonu with this pick.
Additions: Robert Woods (WR – LAR), Austin Hooper (TE – CLE)
Losses: Roger Saffold (OG – BUF), Julio Jones (WR – FA), D’Onta Foreman (RB – CAR)
Impact Picks: Round 1, Pick 26; Round 3, Pick 90
Fantasy Needs: Backup Running Back, Depth Wide Receiver
The Titans are pretty much set at offensive line, and mostly need some bits and pieces along the offense to help shore up their depth. Derrick Henry can’t handle 30 touches per game forever, and they lost D’Onta Foreman, who did a good Derrick Henry impression down the stretch (18 carries for 75 yards per game in the last five games of 2021), so they need a new guy to fill that role. There are some bangers in this class, like Dameon Pierce, who could fill in nicely. The Titans also need depth at wide receiver. All respect to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Chester Rogers, but Robert Woods is coming off of an injury and A.J. Brown struggles with health. They need a guy who could carry the load for a handful of games, if need be. I think Alec Pierce out of Cincinnati hits the price versus potential production standpoint for the Titans in the third round of the draft.
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