A moment NFL fans have been waiting for has come and gone. The 2020 NFL Draft is now in the history books. This year’s draft was perhaps the most unusual one in recent memory, as it was a fully virtual draft. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many, but the draft allowed fans to have some semblance of normalcy. What will the 2020 season look like? That is still unkown. However, this weekend was a good time to forget about what’s going on in the world for just a little while. A few hundred young men’s lives have been changed forever. There were many surprises and some upsets. Here we’ll take a look at the 2020 NFL Draft Grades for each team in the AFC South.
2020 AFC South NFL Draft Grades
Houston Texans: B-
The Houston Texans had just five picks in this year’s draft, the least in the AFC South. One pre-draft deal that took the league by surprise was Bill O’Brien’s decision to deal star wideout DeAndre Hopkins and fourth-round pick for running back David Johnson along with a second and fourth-round pick. With these selections picks, the Texans did their best to fill needs and came away with some solid players.
Ross Blacklock is a defensive tackle from Texas Christian University. He was the third interior defensive lineman selected. Though Derrick Brown and Javon Kinlaw got a lot of press, Blacklock is a strong, powerful guy. Though he dealt with an Achilles injury in 2018, he showed determination and came back in better shape his last year of college. He should start sooner than later.
Jonathan Greenard is a pass rusher from Florida. He played under Dan Mullen for just one season, after being a grad transfer from Louisville. Greenard also dealt with injury, dislocating his wrist his junior season. But, his last year of college ball was a good one. He had 9.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception. He should fit right in with the Texans defense and will be able to learn from one of the best in JJ Watt.
The first pick of the later rounds was Charlie Heck. He’s a big guy, at 6’8” and about 310 pounds. His father used to play in the NFL and is now an offensive line coach. Heck will have his work cut out, as he comes to a line that features Laremy Tunsil and second-year right tackle Tytus Howard.
John Reid (cornerback) and Isaiah Coulter (wide receiver) both enter crowded position groups and should be considered depth picks.
Indianapolis Colts: B
The Indianapolis Colts added nine players through the draft this year, the second-most in the AFC South. Obviously, the biggest offseason move for the team was adding long time veteran quarterback, Philip Rivers. Though aging, Rivers may still have some good football left in him. The team started out by adding players on his side of the ball.
The first two picks for the Colts were meant to bolster the offense. After not selecting in the first round, the team had two second-round picks. Michael Pittman Jr. is a wide receiver out of Southern California and one of the top receivers in this year’s talented class. He could make a quick impact but will be able to learn from veterans such as T.Y. Hilton and the younger Parris Campbell. Jonathan Taylor was the second selection for the team this year. Unfortunately for Marlon Mack, Taylor was the third running back drafted and had a strong collegiate career at Wisconsin.
Perhaps the most notable offensive player now a Colt is quarterback Jacob Eason. The Washington and Georgia product will have time to learn under Rivers and Jacoby Brissett before time in the limelight. Danny Pinter and Dezmon Patmon are both depth picks, but Pinter has the upside to be a starter eventually.
Rounding out the Colts’ defensive selections are Julian Blackmon, Rob Windsor, Isaiah Rodgers, and Jordan Glasgow. Blackmon could have the most immediate impact, being a third-rounder, although he’ll be up against teammates such as Malik Hooker and Khairi Willis.
Jacksonville Jaguars: A-
Players Added: C.J. Henderson, K’Lavon Chaisson, Laviska Shenault Jr., DaVon Hamilton, Ben Bartch, Josiah Scott, Shaq Quarterman, Daniel Thomas, Collin Johnson, Jake Luton, Tyler Davis, and Chris Claybrooks
The Jacksonville Jaguars had the most selections in the AFC South this year.. With 12 selections to start, trades were a possibility. However, they stood pat and chose 12 players. It was a defensively heavy draft for the Jaguars. The team chose seven defenders and five offensive players. In addition to heavy defense, their first two picks were both on that side of the ball.
In the first round, the Jags selected C.J. Henderson and K’Lavon Chaisson. Henderson is a cornerback out of Florida and will start immediately on a position group that needed an upgrade due to Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye’s departures. Chaisson should also be a quality starter but may be rotational at first. Yannick Ngakoue is still on the team, though he could be traded. Chaisson and Josh Allen will be a strong pass-rushing duo.
Hamilton and Quarterman should have the biggest defensive impact outside of the two first-rounders. Hamilton will compete on the interior of the line and help the run defense. Quarterman is a Jacksonville native and enters a crowded linebacker group, but is a hard worker.
The Jags offensive players in the draft feature Shenault, Bartch, Johnson, Luton, and Davis. Shenault and Bartch are the only two likely to have an impact early. Especially Shenault, who is one of the top receivers in this year’s receiver class. Somewhat of a gadget player, Shenault can be utilized across the formation. New Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden should be happy about that. Bartch is likely to be a swing tackle, and the fierce division three level athlete has room to grow.
Luton, Johnson, and Davis should see most of their action in the preseason this year. Luton, a sixth-round quarterback, gives the Jags a third signal-caller. Johnson is an intriguing receiver prospect at 6’6”. He has the size, but lacks speed and will be developmental going forward. Davis didn’t have much production in college, but loves the sport and could end up on the practice squad.
Tennessee Titans: C+
The Tennessee Titans had the second-fewest draft picks in the AFC South, with six. They took a balanced approach, drafting three players on each side of the ball. The team made it to the AFC Championship last year, and did their best to become stronger.
Offensively, the team took Isaiah Wilson, Darrynton Evans, and Cole McDonald. Wilson was the team’s first pick, at 29th overall in the draft. Wilson was the other side of a strong offensive line in Georgia that featured Andrew Thomas (number four overall pick this year). A right tackle, Wilson has a shot at starting quickly in the Titans offense. Evans is a running back out of Appalachian State. Evans is fast, with a 4.41 second 40 time. But on a team with Derrick Henry, he’ll assume a backup role, where he’ll have time to develop. The Titans needed to add a backup quarterback after losing former starter, Marcus Mariota to free agency. Mcdonald will back up Ryan Tannehill. Mcdonald is a good athlete but lacks the accuracy needed in the NFL.
Defensively, the Titans took Kristian Fulton, Larrell Murchison, and Chris Jackson. Fulton was in the upper tier of cornerbacks in this year’s class. He could have easily been a first-round selection. Fulton should eventually be on the outside as a starter and will have a chance to compete, but is likely to see time in nickel coverage early on. Murchison and Jackson were fifth and seventh-round selections, respectively. They should be considered depth players on a stout defense. Murchison, a defensive tackle, could be an eventual replacement for Jurrell Casey. Casey left the team via trade to the Denver Broncos in March but was a long time anchor of the defense.
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