In this series, we’ll be taking a look at every division’s best starting offense and defense comprised of players from each of the four teams in the division. On the offense we’ll be using an 11 personnel basis and on the defense we’ll be using a 4-4 front in fairness to all schemes with three corners and two safeties on the back end. Without further a do let’s dive in and look at the AFC South, home of the Texans, Titans, Colts, and Jaguars.
QB Deshaun Watson- Houston Texans
Alike the situation of Aaron Rodgers, I don’t think Watson plays a game this year but he is by far the most talented quarterback in the AFC South. Deshaun led the league in passing yards last season with Will Fuller V, Brandin Cooks, and Randall Cobb as his weapons. The sky is the limit for Watson if he ever plays another game.
Projected Stat Line: 0 games played
RB Derrick Henry- Tennessee Titans
The 2019 and 2020 NFL rushing king is in for another huge season with the Titans. King Henry got an upgrade on the offensive line with the addition of new right tackle Dillon Radunz. With the addition of the athletic rookie Radunz, Derrick Henry will have a strong lead blocker on both sides of the field now and defenses won’t be able to stack the box to one side.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/347 carries/1,839 rushing yards/5.3 YPC/15 rushing touchdowns/5.3 YPC/24 receptions/177 receiving yards/7.4 YPC/0 receiving touchdowns
WR Julio Jones- Tennessee Titans
The Titans made a big move for Julio Jones this offseason and will look to balance out their run heavy offense now that there are two big time receivers in Nashville. Jones is still an elite receiver and will provide a deep jump ball spark for Tannehill and company.
Projected Stat Line: 13 games played/68 receptions/1,139 receiving yards/16.8 YPC/8 receiving touchdowns
WR Michael Pittman Jr.- Indianapolis Colts
The Colts big time hesitation to resign T.Y. Hilton tells me that they are confident in Pittman Jr. to be the future as the WR1. The former USC Trojan standout is fully capable of being a prolific WR1 with Carson Wentz under center now.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/82 receptions/1,058 receiving yards/12.9 YPC/8 receiving touchdowns
WR A.J. Brown- Tennessee Titans
One sure thing for the Titans passing offense is the talented former Ole Miss Rebel, A.J. “the recruiter” Brown. Brown is slot/outside capable and is one of the best route runners in the league. Now that Julio is in town, Brown will get more opportunities in one on one looks.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/77 receptions/1,140 receiving yards/14.8 YPC/9 receiving touchdowns
TE Jack Doyle- Indianapolis Colts
This is an incredibly weak division for tight ends hence why Jack Doyle made the list. He isn’t bad by any means but he is no Travis Kelce. As a receiver he is average but in terms of blocking he is top tier.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/44 receptions/444 receiving yards/10.1 YPC/4 receiving touchdowns
LT Taylor Lewan- Tennessee Titans
The AFC South is stacked with left tackle talent with the likes of Laremy Tunsil, Cam Robinson, and Eric Fisher being around but I believe Lewan will have the best season in 2021. Taylor is an incredibly technical blocker who shines in pass protection.
LG Quenton Nelson- Indianapolis Colts
Big Q is the best left guard in the league and it isn’t even close. In fact, I believe Quenton is a future HOFer and could be one of the best guards to ever play in the National Football League. The man has played three full seasons since being drafted 6th overall in 2018 and has only allowed three sacks.
C Ryan Kelly- Indianapolis Colts
The former 2016 first round draft pick from Alabama has been a stud since entering the league. He is an anchor in the middle of the Colts line and excels in run blocking. Kelly is the third highest paid center in the league and deserves every penny of it.
RG Mark Glowinski- Indianapolis Colts
The former West Virginia Mountaineer is one of those nasty maulers that just wants to run you over. Glowinski wants to take his opponent’s lunch money on every play and is one of the best run blocking guards in the league because of it.
RT Braden Smith- Indianapolis Colts
The Colts offensive line is absolutely ridiculous. If Eric Fisher wasn’t injured last season they just might have all five spots on this list for offensive lineman. Braden Smith is one of the most stout right tackles in the league. Smith boasts a complete and technical play style.
DE Kwity Paye- Indianapolis Colts
I don’t think we will see eye popping sack numbers from Paye in his rookie season but we are sure to see a decent number of pressures, knockdowns, and TFLs from the former Michigan Wolverine. I have always been a huge Paye fan and now we all have the pleasure of watching the ultra talented Colts coaching staff mold Kwity into a beast.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/55 TOTAL/37 SOLO/2 forced fumbles/4 sacks/8 TFL
IDL Jeffery Simmons- Tennessee Titans
Either you love him or you hate him but no matter your opinion, Simmons has undeniable talent. As a pass rusher, he is a wrecking ball who tears through blockers with his overwhelming power and in the run game, he shows a little finesse and range in his game. I think we’ll see a big season from Simmons in 2021.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/58 TOTAL/27 SOLO/2 forced fumbles/6 sacks/11 TFL
DT DeForest Buckner- Indianapolis Colts
If you ask me who the best 4-3 DT is in the league, my answer would be Buckner. He is a menace in both facets of the game and he has a permanent residence in his opposition’s backfields. He is borderline un-blockable and you can only hope to detain him long enough.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/67 TOTAL/48 SOLO/3 forced fumbles/13 sacks/18 TFL
DE Kemoko Turay- Indianapolis Colts
Perhaps this is cheap because the Colts are the only team in the division running a 4-3 scheme but I am a fan of Kemoko nonetheless. I’m really hoping we can finally see a full season out of Turay because this kid has talent for days. He is an athletic beast who could burst onto the scene with proper coaching and adequate health.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/37 TOTAL/27 SOLO/1 forced fumble/5 sacks/6.5 TFL
OLB Josh Allen- Jacksonville Jaguars
After a promising rookie season at DE, Allen regressed as a starter last year as he only played in eight games and let’s be honest, it’s nearly impossible to succeed in a scheme like that of the 2020 Jacksonville Jaguars. Now, Allen will be operating under new HC Urban Meyer and will be back where he belongs at OLB where he played in college.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/53 TOTAL/37 SOLO/2 forced fumbles/12 sacks/13 TFL
ILB Myles Jack- Jacksonville Jaguars
A long time staple for the Jags through ups and downs has been do it all linebacker Myles Jack. The former UCLA Bruin had arguably his best season to date last year before he was done for the season after 14 games of stellar play. Now that he is in an Urban Meyer defense, I’m looking for big things in 2021.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/133 TOTAL/92 SOLO/2 forced fumbles/1.5 sacks/1 interception/7 passes defended/5 TFL
ILB Darius Leonard- Indianapolis Colts
One of the best linebackers in the league the last few years has been Colts sensation Darius Leonard. Since leading the league in tackles his rookie year, Leonard has continued to be a focal point of this Colts team and looks to have his best year yet as he awaits a massive contract extension.
Projected Stat Line: 15 games played/144 TOTAL/91 SOLO/3 forced fumbles/4 sacks/3 interceptions/7 TFL
OLB Bud Dupree- Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans have been a joke of a team when it comes to pass rushing but their problems might be on the horizon of being fixed after the arrival of Bud Dupree. Bud has had an outstanding last few years and looks to come roaring back after a season ending injury in 2020.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/55 TOTAL/33 SOLO/2 forced fumbles/10.5 sacks/13 TFL
CB C.J. Henderson- Jacksonville Jaguars
If you ask me, I think Henderson will be the best corner in the south next year and will be top ten in the league. He reminds me a lot of Marshon Lattimore and has the potential to be as good as him. Urban Meyer’s schemes have always been reliant on dominant corner play so we should see a primed C.J. Henderson who is ready to burst onto the scene.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/68 TOTAL/55 SOLO/2 forced fumbles/4 interceptions/14 passes defended
CB Xavier Rhodes- Indianapolis Colts
The Rhodes are closed once again after Xavier revived his career in Indy. Last season the former lockdown cover man faced a ton of back lash due to his regression on the Vikings. He then went on to exceed expectations as the Colts CB1. I see a similar season coming on in 2021 for the former All-Pro.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/40 TOTAL/32 SOLO/3 interceptions/10 passes defended
CB Shaquill Griffin- Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s goodbye Seattle and hello Duval for Shaquill Griffin. Now that he is in a man heavy scheme where he isn’t pressured to be a lockdown CB1 but instead is asked to be a starting CB2, we may see a much more confident defender in Griffin. He has the potential to return back to his Pro Bowl form on the Jaguars. There is another uber talented corner duo in Duval County.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/66 TOTAL/47 SOLO/2 interceptions/11 passes defended
SS Khari Willis- Indianapolis Colts
I am a huge fan of Willis and at this point, the lack of attention he gets is disrespectful. He has been a consistent tackler and a smart player for the Colts. Khari has never been a do it all guy who can rush the edge or cover the slot but he can sit low or even in the box and make the play. That can’t be said for the other strong safeties in this division.
Projected Stat line: 17 games played/92 TOTAL/76 SOLO/1 sack/1 interception/5 passes defended/4 TFL
FS Kevin Byard- Tennessee Titans
Since 2016, Byard has been one of the premier ball hawks in the league. Kevin just doesn’t have many flaws in his game and deserves the massive contract he is on. It was a down year in terms of turnovers for Byard in 2020 but that was never and issue for him in the past and shouldn’t be an issue for him in the future.
Projected Stat Line: 17 games played/95 TOTAL/68 SOLO/1 sack/4 interceptions/11 passes defended
1.Indianapolis Colts: 12
WR Michael Pittman Jr., TE Jack Doyle, LG Quenton Nelson, C Ryan Kelly, RG Mark Glowinski, RT Braden Smith, DE Kwity Paye, IDL DeForest Buckner, DE Kemoko Turay, ILB Darius Leonard, CB Xavier Rhodes, SS Khari Willis
2.Tennessee Titans: 6
RB Derrick Henry, WR Julio Jones, WR A.J. Brown, LT Taylor Lewan, IDL Jeffery Simmons, FS Kevin Byard
3.Jacksonville Jaguars: 4
OLB Josh Allen, ILB Myles Jack, CB C.J. Henderson, CB Shaquill Griffin
4.Houston Texans: 1
QB Deshaun Watson
WR T.Y. Hilton- Indianapolis Colts
LT Eric Fisher- Indianapolis Colts
C Brandon Linder- Jacksonville Jaguars
ILB Zach Cunningham- Houston Texans
CB Kenny Moore II- Indianapolis Colts
CB Caleb Farley- Tennessee Titans
FS Justin Reid- Houston Texans