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2020 AFC South All-Division Team: The Offense

2020 AFC South

In this series, the Last Word on Sports NFL department will be selecting the best players in each division by position. Without further ado, here are the players that make up the 2020 AFC South All-Division Team’s offense.

2020 AFC South All-Division Team: The Offense

Quarterback: Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans

There simply isn’t a better quarterback, talent-wise, that can match up with Deshaun Watson in the AFC South. It would’ve been a completely different story two years ago but Watson is leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the field. He’s the complete dual-threat package with the abilities to both run with the ball and fit his passes into tight windows for completions anywhere down the field. Even with a suspect offensive line, Watson was able to finish the 2019 season with 4,487 yards, 29 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 15 regular-season games and two playoff games.

While he might have the same level of success going into this season given the loss of his top target, DeAndre Hopkins, he’ll still remain the AFC South All-Division Team’s top QB moving forward.

Honorable Mention (s): Ryan Tannehill, Titans; Gardner Minshew II, Jaguars; Philip Rivers, Colts

Rookies to Watch: None

Running Back: Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry has been virtually unstoppable in the last season and a half. He topped the leaderboard in 2019 with most total rushing attempts (303), most rushing yards (1,540), most rushing touchdowns (16), and most rushing yards per game (102.7). It’s a death sentence for any opposing defender to try and tackle him in open space and it shows. His 4.8 yards per attempt for his career ranks second amongst all active players (only behind Cam Newton with 5.1 YPA).

He’s only on the rise and will continue to bully defenses for years to come.

Honorable Mention(s): Leonard Fournette, Jaguars

Rookies to Watch: Jonathan Taylor, Colts

Wide Receiver: T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts

DeAndre Hopkins would’ve been the easiest number one wide receiver choice here. But now that he’s moved onto the NFC West, T.Y. Hilton takes over the top spot in the division. Often overlooked in the scrum of top pass-catchers in the NFL, Hilton has been Indianapolis’ most consistent and reliable receiver since Reggie Wayne.

His first real hiccup came this past year as he missed six games due to injury and ended up with only 11.1 yards per reception. Prior to that, however, he was a dominant down-the-field receiver, averaging 16.1 yards per reception, which would put him in a tie for third among active players. His 15.6 yards per reception when factoring in 2019 puts him sixth.

Hilton’s deep-ball separation and playmaking abilities are what push him to the top of the list for AFC South receivers. He’ll continue to be a consistent 1,000-yard finisher and a top ten WR in the future.

Wide Receiver: A.J. Brown – Tennessee Titans

The mantle for the final two receivers on this list is a toss-up but the edge goes to A.J. Brown. Brown burst out onto the scene as a rookie for the Tennessee Titans and posted an absurd 20.2 yards per reception, ranking only behind Mike Williams‘ 20.4.

While Brown’s numbers are unsustainable in the long-term, he’s still an incredibly dynamic receiver on the outside and has the ability to become one of the league’s best down the field right alongside with Tyreek Hill. In addition, Brown has elite ball-tracking skills and is quickly moving up the conversation as one of the league’s top emerging wideouts.

He’ll move securely into Tennessee’s number one wide receiver spot and be a fixture on the offense for his quarterback, Ryan Tannehill.

Wide Receiver: D.J. Chark – Jacksonville Jaguars

D.J. Chark certainly doesn’t have the upside as a down-the-field receiver as Brown does but where he makes up for it is with his possession skills. Chark exploded for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019 despite having to deal with inconsistent play at the quarterback position. His route-running and pass-catching were much improved in comparison to his 2018 rookie year and he was quickly lauded as Jacksonville’s go-to playmaker on the outside.

While the argument can be made that a more established veteran like Brandin Cooks or another deep-ball playmaker like Will Fuller could make the list above Chark, there’s no denying the third-year WR’s talent. He’ll look to burst out as a top-tier playmaker going into 2020.

Honorable Mentions: Brandin Cooks, Texans; Will Fuller V, Texans

Rookies to Watch: Michael Pittman Jr, Colts; Leviska Shenault, Jaguars

Tight End: Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts

Consistency is key for tight ends. Only the very best in the entire NFL play major roles in their respective teams’ passing offenses, so for most, it’s key that they deliver when called upon. Jack Doyle has been the definition of consistent for the Colts. Over the last four seasons since taking over the starting role, he’s notched two Pro Bowl selections (2017 and 2019) while being regarded as one of the better “dual-threat” tight ends in the league (blocking and receiving).

While Doyle doesn’t put up flashy 1,000-yard seasons with 10+ touchdowns like some of the best in the league, it’s simply about his consistency. Tennesee’s Delanie Walker has been the more prolific tight end in his respective career but going into 2020, Doyle remains the best in the division.

Honorable Mention(s): Delanie Walker, Titans

Rookies to Watch: None

Left Tackle: Taylor Lewan – Tennessee Titans

If you’re trying to think up a list of left tackles better than Taylor Lewan, you won’t end up with many. He’s been one of the best left tackles in the league and has only allowed 10 sacks in the last four seasons, including just two each in 2018 and 2019. While he and Houston’s Laremy Tunsil are locked head-to-head, the edge will go to Lewan due to his outstanding length and ability to pave the way for Tennessee’s run offense.

Honorable Mention(s): Laremy Tunsil, Texans; Anthony Costanzo, Colts

Rookies to Watch: None

Left Guard: Quenton Nelson – Indianapolis Colts

Quenton Nelson‘s talent is through the roof. He was possibly the best offensive line product of the decade and has lived up to that claim without question. In only two NFL seasons, the Notre Dame product compiled two First-Team All-Pro selections and two Pro Bowl selections (both of which he started).

He’s become a borderline Hall of Famer in just two years and it’s not even a stretch to say he’d already been in if he could. He has ultimate quickness and strength on the line, is able to deliver a killer block, and can pull around the edge better than his fellow lineman.

He’ll easily remain on this list every year it gets put out.

Honorable Mention(s): Andrew Norwell, Jaguars

Rookies to Watch: None

Center: Ryan Kelly – Indianapolis Colts

Ryan Kelly has proven his worth over the last two seasons as a top-three center in the NFL. As another key piece of the Colts’ outstanding offensive line, Kelly made his first Pro Bowl alongside his teammate.

In 3,398 total snaps in his career, he’s allowed just two sacks (one each in the last two years). He shot up the rankings at his position and sits as one of the best emerging young players on the offensive line.

His Pro Bowl votes will surely continue into the next few years as he remains the centerpiece of a top offensive line.

Honorable Mention(s): Ben Jones, Titans; Brandon Linder, Jaguars

Rookies to Watch: None

Right Guard: A.J. Cann – Jacksonville Jaguars

This is a weak position for the AFC South. Outside of Cann and the Colts’ Mark Glowinski, it’s been a revolving door at right guard for the last few years.

Cann, however, is a solid guard who, despite having relatively slow feet, has played well for Jacksonville as its only consistent offensive lineman alongside Linder.

Honorable Mention(s): Mark Glowinski, Colts

Right Tackle: Braden Smith – Indianapolis Colts

Braden Smith is quickly becoming one of the more reliable tackles in the league. He immediately transitioned from guard coming out of college and proved his worth as the team’s offensive line quickly improved. He displays great footwork and hands and has been one of the many young pieces the Colts have hit on in the last few years.

Smith could very well get selected into his first of many Pro Bowls in 2020.

Honorable Mention(s): Jawaan Taylor, Jaguars

Rookies to Watch: Isaiah Wilson, Titans

Be sure to check out the top 2020 AFC South players at each position on defense and special teams.

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