By Sonja Greenfield //@Mom23RN
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.
Let’s move on to the Houston Texans. According to some, their biggest need was for some protection for QB Deshaun Watson. They drafted two offensive tackles in total, including Tytus Howard in the first round of the draft. I think Howard will have the biggest impact on the team. If he’s able to do his job effectively and keep Watson upright, the Texans could make some real noise this year.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, whose QB situation was figured out when they acquired Nick Foles in free agency, probably needed to focus more on the offensive side of the ball, since they already have a top 5 defense.
However, they made a smart move by drafting defensive end Josh Allen. You can never have enough good edge rushers. Especially when you have to play against QBs like Luck and Watson twice a year. While I still feel they’ll be towards the bottom of their division, I think 2019 could show some improvement. The biggest impact in 2019? Offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor. This big guy could be one of the steals of the draft, and he could be a huge factor in the Jaguars offense.
We can’t forget the Tennessee Titans. They only had 6 picks in the draft, and their biggest need probably was a wide receiver. While they didn’t target one in the first round, they ended up picking AJ Brown from Ol’Miss in the second round. While I don’t see the Titans challenging for the division this year, I think they’ll at least make some noise. Who could have the most impact? Amani Hooker out of Iowa. Iowa players can just play, and Hooker could be just the guy to take their defense to the next level.
Moving on to the NFC South
Let’s start with the Atlanta Falcons. Looking to move on from 2018, their biggest need was some defense, quite possibly an edge rusher would have been great. However, they went offensive line in the first round with both picks, then ended up taking 3 defensive players out of their 5 remaining picks.
Chris Lindstrom will probably end up being the biggest impact on the team in 2019, due to his success at Boston College. Could Lindstrom be the key to a successful 2019? He certainly could be part of the answer.
Next up the Carolina Panthers. Their biggest need going into the draft was a defense. The retirement of Julius Peppers left a hole, but they addressed it by drafting defensive end Brian Burns. This was a fantastic choice and I think he’ll have one of the biggest impacts on the team due to his success at Florida State and his readiness to be great at the next level. If quarterback Cam Newton is healthy, 2019 could be a great one for the Panthers.
Looking at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their biggest need this year was defense, but they also could have gone offense as well with a running back. But they chose Devin White from LSU. Great, great pick by them. If QB Jameis Winston is able to get things together, and the defense is able to come together, this is another team that 2019 could be good too. I’m expecting White to probably have the biggest impact this year.
Lastly the New Orleans Saints. Their biggest need? Correct officiating (Sorry…too soon?) Alright, you could easily say center due to the retirement of center Max Unger, and they actually did address that by drafting Erik McCoy out of Texas A&M. While they didn’t have too much to tweak, they could still be back in the thick of things this season. If McCoy can fill the shoes of Unger, he could have the biggest impact from the draft on this team.
Talk draft with Sonja on Twitter @Mom23RN