The 2023 NFL Draft is behind us and now we head into the review process. Over the next two weeks, the Draft Countdown staff will break down each team’s draft hauls, division-by-division. Today, I look at the four teams in the AFC South!
How did the Texans, Colts, Titans, and Jaguars make out? Let’s take a look.
AFC South 2023 NFL Draft Recap
|1||2||QB||CJ Stroud||Ohio State|
|1||3||EDGE||Will Anderson Jr.||Alabama|
|2||31||C||Juice Scruggs||Penn State|
|3||6||WR||Nathaniel (Tank) Dell||Houston|
|5||33||ILB||Henry To’o To’o||Alabama|
|6||24||C||Jarrett Patterson||Notre Dame|
|6||28||WR||Xavier Hutchinson||Iowa State|
I LOVED the Texan’s draft haul, their willingness to trade up and get their guys makes for the foundation of a potentially substantial rebuild for coach Ryans. Less than an hour into the Draft and the Texans had locked down their leaders on offense and defense, I call that a win even without days two and three. From round 1 on, they continued to add players I thought had strong potential to be good players in the NFL, Scruggs most likely being a day 1 starter at center. This team needed edge rushers and throughout draft weekend added three guys that can bring it in Anderson, Horton, and UDFA Ali Gaye (who I fully expected to get drafted).
I don’t do grades, I never cared for them but will say great job Texans!
Best Pick: CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State
Biggest Reach: Nathaniel (Tank) Dell, WR, Houston
Day 3 Pick to Watch: Brandon Hill, S, Pitt
PFA Name to Know: Ali Gaye, Edge, LSU
|2||13||CB||Julius Brents||North Carolina|
|3||16||WR||Josh Downs||North Carolina|
|5||4||CB||Darius Rush||South Carolina|
|7||4||CB||Jaylon Jones||Texas A&M|
|7||19||OT||Jake Witt||Northern Michigan|
Being in Indiana, I know Colts fans are excited their team finally targeted a young quarterback to build around, as opposed to looking to aging veterans to fill the need. Time will tell if coach Steichen can develop someone with a ton of potential but who is very raw. Overall I think this class gives them potential starters on days one and two, with tons of potential on day three. Josh Downs can step in and be a safety net in the short to medium range for Richardson, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brents a day-one starter on the outside either. With Dre Bly as Brent’s coach at NC, I love his potential to be an impact player immediately.
Overall strong 1st draft class for Steichen and the new-look Indianapolis Colts!
Best Pick: Julius Brents, CB, North Carolina
Biggest Reach: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida (Don’t hate the pick at all but it’ll be fun to see if they can develop him!)
Day 3 Pick to Watch: Daniel Scott, S, Cal
PFA Name to Know: Emil Ekiyor Jr., CB, Alabama
|7||11||WR||Colton Dowell||UT Martin|
The Tennessee Titans may not have had a ton of draft capital but made the most of it! Skoronski and 6th-rounder Jaelyn Duncan were both some of the favorites in this class, so landing them both could be huge for the team’s long-term future at positions of need. Grabbing their quarterback of the future in the early 2nd round was a coop as well, most in our world expected Levis to be a first-rounder, so the slide was good for the Titans.
I do like the Spears pick long-term, because Derrick Henry won’t be around for much longer, and your backfield will potentially be Hassan Haskins and Spears, that’s a strong duo! I will note, UDFA Kearis Jackson from the Georgia Bulldogs could be a guy that makes the roster out of camp, has obviously been a part of some great teams but he’s a plus route runner and has great body control!
Well done Titans, you got impact players with nearly every pick!
Best Pick: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
Biggest Reach: None, I won’t do it as the Titans did a good job getting value without compromising!
Day 3 Pick to Watch: Jaelyn Duncan, OT, Maryland
PFA Name to Know: Kearis Jackson, WR, Georgia
|2||30||TE||Brenton Strange||Penn State|
|4||28||DE||Tyler Lacy||Oklahoma St.|
|5||26||S||Antonio Johnson||Texas A&M|
|6||8||WR||Parker Washington||Penn State|
|6||31||S||Erick Hallett II||Pittsburgh|
|7||9||OG||Cooper Hodges||App State|
|7||10||DT||Raymond Vohasek||North Carolina|
The Jaguars had a ton of day three draft capital, and I think did a good job of getting developmental depth pieces that fit their scheme well. Losing Taylor, we all knew they would need a tackle at some point early, so taking the best available in round one was a no-brainer! From round two on, they drafted guys that won’t need to start from day one but have the talent to fill in or turn into starters in time. I will point out, a short I did for RotoHeat’s YouTube a few months back, I loved Johnson this whole time, a steal on day three in my mind.
Great job Jacksonville, you took a playoff team and made them stronger, would not be surprised to see them win the South in 2023 (maybe!)
Best Pick: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M
Biggest Reach: Brenton Strange, TE, Penn State
Day 3 Pick to Watch: Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M
PFA Name to Know: Samuel Jackson, OL, UCF (I know what you’re thinking, not the same guy)
As always if you want to talk all things football, hit me up on Twitter or over on the Draft Countdown Discord! And check out the rest of my work here.
2023 NFL DRAFT REVIEWS