Two teams from the AFC South made the playoffs last season, as the Indianapolis Colts went from worst-to-second, earning a wild card berth, while the Houston Texans captured their second-consecutive division title. The Jaguars and Titans have plenty of work to do if they're to catch the Colts and Texans and both came through with strong 2013 draft classes.
While the jury will remain out for years on the 2013 draft class, NFL analysts and draftniks submitted grades for each team in the league just days after the draft concluded. Mel Kiper, Chris Burke and Rob Rang are three of the many who delivered draft grades, and here's a look at how the trio graded the AFC South.
Almost every mock draft throughout the entire draft process had Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel projected to be the No. 1 overall pick of the draft, but Joeckel fell to No. 2, where the Jaguars promptly scooped him up. Jacksonville addressed its defensive needs as well, selecting safety Johnathan Cyprien in the second round before selecting UConn cornerback Dwyane Gratz in the third. The Jaguars added some offensive firepower in Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson in the middle rounds before drafting three cornerbacks to end the draft.
Chris Johnson is smiling somewhere. The Titans continued to address their offensive line through the draft, despite signing guard Andy Levitre earlier this offseason. Tennessee used its top pick on Alabama guard Chance Warmack before using its second-round pick on wide receiver Justin Hunter. The Titans addressed the defensive side of the ball as well, selecting UConn cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Missouri linebacker Zaviar Gooden in the third round.
Indianapolis drew criticism for its first-round pick, Bjoern Werner, and how he fits as a 3-4 outside linebacker. NFL draftniks and analysts believe Werner is better suited for a 4-3 defense, but the Colts went ahead and made him the No. 24 pick anyway. The Colts used their third and fourth-round picks on offensive linemen, selecting guard Hugh Thornton and center Khaled Holmes. Indianapolis passed on drafting a wide receiver or cornerback in this draft, a move that could haunt the Colts, as Indianapolis could use more depth at those positions.
At last, the Texans have a wide receiver to start opposite Andre Johnson. Houston used its first-round pick on Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, addressing its biggest need right away. The Texans used their second-round pick on South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger, who will have a chance to develop under future Hall-of-Fame safety Ed Reed's tutelage. Houston focused on the trenches in the middle rounds, using its third and fourth-round picks on offensive tackle Brennan Williams and defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Trevardo Williams.