Ahead of the start of the 2019 NFL regular season, Last Word on Pro Football will be breaking down every position in the league by division. This article contains an in-depth, position-by-position breakdown of the AFC South defenses. The breakdown will consist of “the best” at every position.
2019 AFC South Breakdown: The Defense
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive front could become one of the best in the NFL. With Yannick Ngakoue leading the way, this talented front five is lethal. Calais Campbell has proven to be a star in the Bold City. Add Taven Bryan into the mix, and Jacksonville claims the title for best defensive line. The AFC South is loaded with great defenders like J.J. Watt and Justin Houston. However, the Jags overall front D-line is the best. The division feeds off of the defense. The Texans traded Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks. That gave way for the Jags to truly take the spot. Jacksonville’s defensive line has proven their worth. But can they repeat that in 2019?
Jacksonville also claims the title for best linebackers. With players like Myles Jack, Quincy Williams, and Leon Jacobs, the Jaguars have versatile players everywhere at the position. Darius Leonard for the Colts had a phenomenal season in 2018. If he can capitalize on that, he could win a few awards this year. But, the Jaguars are set up well at the position. Some of the best players in the league play in Jacksonville. The team also just gave Jack an extension, which was well deserved. His hard work on the field is paying off. Now he and the rest of the unit have to prove that when the season starts next week.
Kenny Vaccaro and Malcolm Butler help give the Tennessee Titans the nod for best safeties. The dynamic duo is versatile on the field in the secondary. Their viable skill sets are crucial to the Titans’ defensive success in 2019. Both players are highly touted and are some of the best in the game. The Jaguars come in at a close second with Ronnie Harrison being the primary safety in Duval.
The best cornerback in the league resides in Jacksonville. Jalen Ramsey might be a big talker. However, his game speaks for itself. He has eclipsed himself as one of the best players in the league. There were issues during camp about him not getting a new deal. But, many believe the front office will get that resolved. Losing Ramsey via trade or free agency would be a big blow to the team. Also, adding A.J. Bouye in 2017 from the Texans was huge. That addition gave Ramsey some leverage at the position. The duo has put up solid stats and has contributed heavily since then.
Overall, the outline of the best players on the defensive side are all great players. Some of the best players in the NFL play in the AFC South. This division gets overlooked all the time. However, this could be a close division race in 2019. All four teams could see monumental success.