Which Impact Players Could the Colts Face in the AFC South?
By Evan Reller
The Indianapolis Colts hold the 29th pick in this years draft. They also hold a near annual ownership of the AFC South. The other three teams hold much better picks in the draft, but is that enough to shift the balance of power?
By winning the division, the Colts will pick last out of the four teams. The Tennessee Titans hold the second pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars the third, and the Houston Texans have the 16th. All three can find a talented player with those picks and make the South more difficult for the Colts.
Which talented rookies will the Colts be facing in 2015 and for years to come in the AFC South? We take a look at where the competition will go with their picks.
Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) scrambles against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The way I see it, the Titans have three choices in front of them:
- Select QB Marcus Mariota (or Jameis Winston, depending on what the Bucs do with the first pick).
- Select defensive end Leonard Williams.
- Trade the pick away for a king’s ransom (like the Rams did in 2012).
It certainly sounds like the Bus will be taking Winston, who is more pro-ready but carries heavy off-field baggage. Mariota is undeniably talented, but he comes from a spread offense which allows for gaudy numbers in the college game. It doesn’t translate as well to the NFL and the best chance for his success would be for a coach to commit to a spread attack.
I don’t see Ken Whisenhunt fully committing to that style of offense, while he has adapted in the past a spread is drastically different than most of whats run in the NFL. For the Colts sake, I certainly hope they take Mariota who could easily end up having a Vince Young type of career in Tennessee.
The Titans should take Williams as a cornerstone on their defense. He’s an incredible talent and has the best chance of having a long, successful NFL career out of all the players at the top of the draft.
The Titans have a clear need along the defensive line and at QB. They’ve publically said that Zach Mettenberger is their guy at QB, but the on field results suggest they’d want to upgrade at the position.
Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Amari Cooper (9) runs after a catch against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the third quarter of the 2015 Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
What the Jags ultimately do will depend on whether or not the Titans select Williams. Regardless, the Colts will likely be facing him twice per year (and if either teams sleeps on him, well, bully for the Colts).
If Williams is gone, the Jags should go after wide receiver Amari Cooper. He’s the most polished wide out in the draft and gives Blake Bortles a much needed weapon. Cooper said on ESPN recently that he wants to play with a young QB so that they can develop together.
Either Williams or Cooper would be a great fit for the Jags and at pick three, they can rest assured that one or both will be available.
Nov 9, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Missouri Tigers wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (15) catches a touchdown pass against Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Rodney Cox (21) at Commonwealth Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
The Texans have a number of needs to address with the 16th pick in the Draft. In our mock drafts, both Luke and I had them taking wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham to replace the loss of Andre Johnson.
However, the team also has a need a pass rusher. Outside of the Worldbreak, J.J. Watt, the team has been inconsistent. It might be too early to give up on Jadeveon Clowney, but microfracture surgery is tough to come back from.
The Texans will likely have a few options if they decide to go with a pass rusher. The top two options appear to be Shane Ray from Missouri and Alvin Dupree of Kentucky. I could also see Randy Gregory from Nebraska being available after failing the Combine drug test.
The Texans really can go where ever they want with this pick and find a quality player.
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