2022 AFC South Breakdown by Position: The Offense

During the month of August, the Last Word On Sports NFL department will be breaking down every division in the league by position. This article contains a position-by-position breakdown of the AFC South offenses. The breakdown will contain “the best” at each unit followed by “the rest” in descending order.
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Offense Article: 2022 AFC South Offense Breakdown by Position

Quarterback

The Best: Indianapolis Colts

The Rest: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, and Houston Texans

The Indianapolis Colts traded for veteran quarterback Matt Ryan in the offseason. Ryan was traded for a third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. This division isn’t perceived as one of the best when it comes to quarterback talent, but Matt Ryan leads this group. Ryan was sacked over 170 times over the last four years and won just 25 games over that timespan as the quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons. He joins a Colts roster that gives him the best offensive line he has been a part of and the best running game he has seen. The Colts were second in rushing yards and yards per attempt and the Falcons were 31st in rushing yards and yards per attempt in 2021. The last time Ryan was the quarterback for a team top five in YPC he was the NFL’s MVP.

The rest of the division is filled with question marks. The Tennessee Titans were the number one seed in the AFC but Ryan Tannehill was up and down for most of the season. Trevor Lawrence, the number one pick in the draft struggled mightily in his rookie season on a bad Jacksonville Jaguars team. He was perceived as the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck but he was far from that in 2021. Upgrading coaches going from Urban Meyer to Doug Pederson, Lawrence looks to rebound in his sophomore season. Davis Mills is going into his second season as the Texans starting quarterback. He had the least amount of expectations out of the top rookie quarterbacks and he arguably had the best rookie season along with Mac Jones. He enters this season still with low expectations looking to keep the Texans competitive in 2022.

Running Back

The Best: Indianapolis Colts

The Rest: Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans

The Colts were top two in yards, yards per carry, and yards per game in 2021. Jonathan Taylor won the Rushing title leading the league in yards and rushing touchdowns. He is the number one player chosen in most fantasy drafts and he looks to have a similar year in 2022. Taylor alongside one of the best offensive lines in the NFL gives the Colts the easy choice for the running back position in the league. The Colts also have Nyheim Hines, one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league.

 

He is expected to be a bigger part of the offense in 2022. The Colts also have Phillip Lindsay who will play a pivotal role if Taylor were to ever miss time.

The rest of the division has some really good running back groups as well. Derrick Henry has led the league in rushing yards in his last two healthy seasons. He missed nine games in 2021 due to a broken foot. He is now at the age where running backs start to slow down so it remains to be seen what he has left in the tank. The Jaguars have a young duo in James Robinson and Travis Etienne. Both are returning from injuries sustained last season. The Texans will start the season with rookie Dameon Pierce. Pierce was a fourth-round pick who won the running back competition in training camp. He is an exciting name for those playing fantasy and looks to showcase his talents this season.

Wide Receiver

The Best: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Rest: Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans

The Jaguars upgraded their receiver position in the offseason by signing Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. The Jags don’t have the best receiver in the division but they have the deepest group. Marvin Jones Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr. are still members of this core which gives them four solid options. Shenault has been a disappointment since being drafted in 2020. Doug Pederson will look to find ways to utilize him in 2022.

The rest of the division has better number one options at receiver but lacks depth. Michael Pittman Jr.(Fantasy Football Outlook for 2022) is the best wide receiver in the division but the Colts lack experience in other options. Rookie Alec Pierce has had a good preseason but he is still an unknown.

The Texans and Titans both have good number one options in Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods. They both have young talents in Nico Collins and Treylon Burks. But both are young and unproven compared to some of the other receivers in the division.

Tight End

The Best: Tennessee Titans

The Rest: Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Titans signed Austin Hooper in free agency to add to their tight end room. Along with veteran Geoff Swaim, the Titans have a solid tight end room with excellent run-blocking players. Overall this division isn’t known for the tight ends being flashy pass catchers but the Titans have the most proven bunch. Hooper has two 70-catch seasons on his resume and looks to help a Titans team struggling with options in the passing game.

The Colts have been notable for using multiple tight ends in the pass-and-running game. Jack Doyle retired in March and that leaves Moe Ali-Cox as their most experienced tight end. The Colts drafted Jelani Woods in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft. Woods is a 6-7 253-pound tight end who projects as a red zone threat in the NFL. The Jaguars and Texans are both question marks at the position. The Jags signed Evan Engram in the offseason who is a talented but inconsistent player who is looking for a new start in Jacksonville. The Texans have Brevin Jordan who finished strong at the end of his rookie season and looks to improve as a potential starter in year two.

Offensive Line

The Best: Indianapolis Colts

The Rest: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans

This was the easiest choice out of the five, the Colts boast one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. With All-Pros in Quentin Nelson and Ryan Kelly, the Colts have had one of the best groups in the NFL since Nelson was drafted five years ago. The Colts did lose two offensive linemen during the offseason but they still have their main core together. They are still ranked as one of the top groups in the league entering the season.

The Titans go into this season with question marks on the offensive line. All-Pro Taylor Lewan struggled last season after returning from an ACL tear. He looks to bounce back this year, the Titans lost some starters so they need a bounce back from Lewan. The Texans have one of the better LT in the NFL in Laremy Tunsil, outside of that there are question marks. They drafted Kenyon Green in the first round of the NFL Draft. He projects as an immediate starter but there are still concerns with him entering his rookie season. The Jaguars had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2021 and that will possibly continue in 2022. They added Brandon Scherff which will help the running game but improvements need to be made everywhere else along the line.