2023-04-19 · 3 min read · NFL/Football
Bryce Young- Quarterback Alabama and Anthony Richardson Quarterback Florida

AP | NBC Sports

For a second straight year, only one team out of the AFC South made the playoffs in 2022, as we are seeing a power shift as to who might dominate this division in the years to come.
Less than two years ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the laughing stocks in the NFL, but thanks to some high draft picks, an experienced head coach and plenty of spending in free agency, they’ve soared up the rankings.
The Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans will hope to rebuild quickly with high draft picks just like the Jags had in each of the previous two years.
There will be opportunities to do just that in Kansas City as every team in the AFC South this year will have a first-round selection.
Three of the first 11 picks in this year’s draft will come from the AFC South, so you can bet that the scouts, coaches, and management team in this division will be watching these top prospects very closely to make sure they choose the right player when the clock starts ticking on April 27.
Here are my predictions for the top selection for each team in this division.
Houston Texans- Round 1- #2- Bryce Young- Quarterback- Alabama
DeMeco Ryans has his work cut out for him to turn around a franchise that has won a combined seven games in the past two regular seasons, but a quarterback with plenty of upside is a great place to start.
Young is a former Heisman Trophy winner who knows how to handle pressure, having featured at Alabama, where he became the first quarterback in school history to throw for 3,000-plus yards in two seasons.
When you play for the Crimson Tide, you better be able to handle the expectations of winning, and Young has thrived under pressure, finishing second in the school’s program history for career passing yards (8,356) and passing touchdowns (80) while also throwing for five touchdowns in five games, the most-ever among Bama pivots.
There are questions about his 5-foot-10 height and slim build at 207 pounds, but all signs so far point to him being an elite quarterback in this league with quick feet, a strong arm, and a high footballing IQ, all things that the Texans need in abundance.
Indianapolis Colts- Round 1- #4- Anthony Richardson- Quarterback- Florida
After an ice-cold season for the Colts at quarterback a year ago, Shane Steichen could use a smoking-hot pivot to melt that freeze and bring this team back to respectability.
Richardson lit this year’s combine on fire with his electrifying performance, showing tremendous speed, physical ability and talent, which seems to come naturally to him.
He’s coming off an up-and-down season in which he threw 17 touchdown passes, ran for nine scores, and tossed nine picks.
It’s true he’s pretty raw and needs to work on his mechanics and footwork; however, his flexibility, ball placement, running and ability to throw on the run makes him a promising young prospect with potential.
Tennessee Titans- Round 1- #11- Peter Skoronski- Offensive Tackle- Northwestern
A season that looked to be playoff bound went south in a hurry for Mike Vrabel and the Titans in 2022, and now they’re left to pick up the pieces and regroup.
There are many ways the Titans could go at #11, but it seems pretty obvious it’s got to be on the offensive side, as they had no playmakers at the receiver position, no consistent quarterback and struggled with pass protection last year.
Given that new general manager, Ran Carthon is an ex-running back, he will know the value of rebuilding that offensive line, not just to help their prized running back Derrick Henry bust off significant gains, but also because the Titans need someone who can step in and fill the void left by Taylor Lewan.
In his Junior year, Peter Skoronski was a Preseason All-American with exceptional athleticism, a high football intelligence, with great vertical movements on double teams, and he is a natural leader.
Jacksonville Jaguars- Round 1- #24- Bryan Breese- Defensive Tackle- Clemson
The Jags chose two Clemson products in the opening round back in 2021, who’ve quickly become the faces of the franchise in Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne.
There’s plenty of reason to believe Bryan Breese could fit into Mike Caldwell’s defensive system in Duval County.
Breese is a tough customer who can push offensive linemen backwards with his power and ability to react quickly.
That skillset could allow a guy like Travon Walker to terrorize opposing quarterbacks next season.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Joel Lefevre


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