This week I’ll be looking at the AFC and NFC South and how they did with their drafts. I’ll ask 3 questions about each team. Did they address their biggest need? Who will have the biggest impact? What could 2019 look like?
Let’s start with the Indianapolis Colts. After having a pretty strong offensive line, quarterback Andrew Luck, and Pro Bowl tight end Eric Ebron, the Colts focused on defense. 7 of their 10 picks were defensive.
Who could have the biggest impact? Former Michigan State safety Khari Willis. He worked hard and was an impact player. I think he’ll fit in nicely. 2019 for the Colts? If their defense lives up to its potential, it could be tough sledding for the rest of the AFC South.
Going into the 2019 NFL season many teams have needs. Some have different needs than others, but no need is more important than that of the quarterback. There are at least 5 teams that are going to need some help at that position.
The Denver Broncos addressed theirs by agreeing in principle for Baltimore Ravens benched QB Joe Flacco. While Flacco won’t be the answer long term for the Broncos, he will at least give them some time to find their franchise quarterback.
Many NFL analysts have ranted that this 2019 quarterback class, to say it nicely, is average. No one guy stands out at this moment. You’d have to assume Bronco’s GM John Elway agrees with that assessment since he pulled the trigger so quickly on Flacco. I’ve always felt that if you pick a player in the first round, that player has to start day one. I just don’t feel that there are day one starters in this draft, which in my mind is why Flacco is a Bronco.
So what does this signing mean for the other teams that are quarterback-starved? It means another free agent/ “Gap” quarterback is about to hit the market. If the Broncos can’t find a team to trade their one and done QB, Case Keenum to, then he is expected to be released.
Even after being named MVP of a Super Bowl LII, even after saving the Eagles 2018 season and taking them to the playoffs, Philadelphia continued to tell quarterback Nick Foles he just wasn’t good enough. QB Carson Wentz, who has been injured the last two seasons, will be their starter. Foles decided that it was time to move on, and he paid $2 million to do it.
The Eagles had picked up Foles $20 million option, but that would mean he would continue to carry a clipboard for Wentz. Foles paid the fee to be released from that option, but Philadelphia still has the ability to franchise tag him. This would give the team the ability to trade him. It has been reported that multiple teams are interested in bringing Foles on board. This isn’t surprising considering the state of the quarterback situation in the NFL.
After Sunday’s AFC South Divisional loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the jury is out on if the Indianapolis Colts can actually make a wild card playoff appearance. Although there are still 4 games left in the regular season, chances now appear to be diminishing.
On Sunday’s matchup, it appeared to be the Battle the Defenses as the Colts only allowed the Jaguars 211 total yards. (132 passing and 79 rushing).
Defensive end Denico Autry led with seven solo tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and four quarterback hits. Autry has become one of the first Colts’ to pick up three sacks since defensive end Robert Mathis in 2013. Although Indianapolis did not get their needed divisional victory, the defensive line kept Jaguars backup quarterback Cody Kessler and company from the end zone and forcing two field goals.
About this time last year, Indianapolis had a problem when playing Jacksonville. In fact, Jacksonville earned the name “Sacksonville” while recording 10 sacks on second stringer QB Jacoby Brissett.
Brissett was filling in for a very injured QB Andrew Luck of the Colts and not allowing one win. And with that, the Jaguars proceeded to win the AFC South and started off this season as a favorite to take over and potentially become a contender. But the AFC South has been very unpredictable this season.
This past Sunday in Indianapolis, the Colts matched up with the Jaguars in a must-win divisional game. The Colts pulled off a victory over the Jaguars 29-26 and extended their win streak to three. Jacksonville, on the other hand, has a six-game losing streak going.
While no one can say it was a shoot out, the Tennessee Titans vs Jacksonville Jaguars game definitely had some drama.
The Titans won the coin toss and deferred to the Jaguars who got the ball first. After several snaps, Tennessee linebacker Wesley Woodyard sacked the Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and the Titans were looking good. They prevented Jacksonville from scoring on their opening drive. It was the start fans were looking for.
QB Blaine Gabbert was in for the Titans at the start of the game with QB Marcus Mariota on the sidelines dealing with a lingering elbow injury from the first game of the the season. However, Mariota being sidelined didn’t last long.
After Gabbert was sacked during the first quarter and placed under concussion protocol, Mariota was back in action, sporting a two fingered glove that was presumably to assist with the numbness he has been having in his fingers.
A game where no touchdowns are scored is not the most exciting thing to watch, but here is a little bit of social media coverage to spice up the game review a bit.
After seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars during practices, a scrimmage, and a pre-season game, there are a few observations that can be made.
I have no idea how they’ll do, but they won’t be beaten due to being out of shape. Head coach Doug Marrone is a taskmaster and until you’ve been under a Jacksonville sun at noon, you can’t imagine the heat these guys practice in. To his credit, Marrone and all the coaches wear black shirts.
Blake Bortles is, and most likely, will always be an inconsistent quarterback. Andy Dalton comes to mind. However, his lows were better than Dalton’s and he’s had more highs. It’s clear that he feels relaxed and loose. When he makes mistakes they appear more testing boundaries over making dumb mistakes. FYI, the guy is an athlete. After going two and half hours in the heat of the day, the team does wind sprints and he’s the first one every time. This guy will be a threat with RPO’s.
Earlier we had listed the first 15 draft picks with a trade. Let’s see what happens with the rest of the teams and who will get drafted from 16-32. So here is the final attempt in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.
The Jacksonville Jaguars continue to make moves. Their signings and releases freed up cap space and improved the roster in a few places.
Wide receiver Donte Moncrief was an uptick for them over WR Allen Robinson because his contract is less and is a “Prove It” one. He signed a one-year, $9.6 million, fully-guaranteed contract that also contains another $2 million in incentives.