Welcome to GNB Sports' second edition of the NFL Offseason Guidelines, where we preview what we believe each NFL team should do in the offseason, division by division. Next stop: The AFC South.
The AFC South had the Super Bowl XLIV runners-up: the Indianapolis Colts. The Texans had their first winning record in franchise history. The Titans finished the year strong with Vince Young at QB. The Jaguars were geared to make the playoffs, then lost two games—one to the Browns—to end the year.
Here’s what each team needs to do to get to that next level this offseason.
Positions of Strength: QB, WR, TE, RE
Positions of Weakness: S, CB
Biggest Free Agents: WR Kevin Walter (UFA), TE Owen Daniels (RFA), MLB DeMeco Ryans (RFA), CB Dunta Robinson (UFA)
Summary: I see no reason why Daniels and Ryans won’t be back. This team is a definite playoff contender next season. Robinson may leave but most likely won’t, and Walter will probably stay a Texan. I can see a 10-6 or 11-5 finish.
Potential First-Round Draftees: S Taylor Mays (USC), CB Kyle Wilson (Boise State), S Earl Thomas (Texas)
Positions of Strength: QB, WR, TE, DE, S
Positions of Weakness: CB, DT, G
Biggest Free Agents: S Antoine Bethea (RFA), ILB Gary Brackett (UFA), S Melvin Bullitt (RFA)
Summary: Peyton Manning is definitely the best QB in the game. Both safety free agents did very well for the Colts, and with Bob Sanders slated to be injured again next year, they should come back—especially Bethea, who was originally slated for the Pro Bowl. Brackett might not come back given the Colts history with free agent LBs. This team the exact same way could win Super Bowl XLV.
Potential First-Round Draftees: G Mike Iupati (Idaho), DT Dan Williams (Tennessee), DT Terrence Cody (Alabama)
Positions of Strength: RB, CB
Positions of Weakness: OLB, WR, S, G
Biggest Free Agents: None of note, but cut WR Torry Holt, T Tra Thomas
Summary: Sims-Walker is their only real receiver; they need to go out and get one. They are starting a lot of young players who can only get better, but this team will need some time to develop. They cut Holt and Thomas to get younger, most likely. They should make a run at one of the young RFA receivers like Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson, or Malcolm Floyd.
Potential First-Round Draftees: S Earl Thomas (Texas), WR Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State), QB Tim Tebow (Florida), trade down would be good for them unless they pick value.
Positions of Strength: RB, LT, S
Positions of Weakness: DE, OLB, DT, WR
Biggest Free Agents: DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (UFA), LB Keith Bulluck (UFA), TE Bo Scaife (RFA), C Kevin Mawae (UFA)
Summary: Most people believe Vanden Bosch will walk and the Titans will draft a DE in the first round, and I agree. Bulluck and Mawae will most likely come back, and Scaife will be re-signed.
Potential First-Round Draftees: DE Derrick Morgan (Georgia Tech), DE Carlos Dunlap (Florida), Jason Pierre-Paul (South Florida), DT Terrence Cody (Alabama)
That does it for this round. Join me next time, when I do the AFC East.
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