NFL: Mocking the AFC South Ahead of the 2021 Draft

With the NFL season coming to a wrap only a few weeks ago, and the Draft 2 months away, it seems like the right time to start my mock draft.  The way I plan on doing it is by division, that way it is easier to go in-depth with the picks and allow fans to go to their favorite team easier.  With that said, I will be starting off with the AFC South, the division that holds the #1 pick in the draft.  Before I go into the picks, let me establish a few things regarding the process:

  1. This mock draft will be 1 round total.  Each article will be a different division, and the teams within each article will be ordered by the first pick they have (earliest pick first). If a team has multiple firsts, they will be listed together based on who has the earliest. I.E. the team with the #1 pick and #25 pick (Jaguars) will show up first.
  2. Any teams that do not have a first-round pick will not be excluded, however.  Instead, I will be explaining the trade they made to lose this pick, and giving it a grade on whether it is good or not in hindsight.
  3. Picks will be based upon team needs as well as the best player available.  I will not be overlapping any players from one division to the next, just like any other mock.

With all of that out of the way, let us begin with the most obvious pick in the draft. 

Jacksonville Jaguars – Pick #1 – Trevor Lawrence (Clemson QB)

This is probably the easiest pick to make in the last decade for any team.  Trevor Lawrence is the most hyped-up QB prospect since at least Andrew Luck, if not Peyton Manning.  The hype, in this case, is completely warranted though.  

Trevor Lawrence is a fantastic player, a generational talent even, and pairing him up with Urban Meyer should be an interesting fit for sure.  The Jaguars team as of right now is not bad, there are some solid weapons for Lawrence to work with.  I look at players like James Robinson out of the backfield, D.J. Chark and Dede Westbrook out wide, and even possible players in later rounds as catalysts to kick off Lawrence’s NFL career.  

In terms of Lawrence as a player, there are very few things to criticize.  He is capable of throwing short, medium, and deep passes with elite accuracy and placement.  Lawrence is mobile enough to get out of the pocket and make plays.  He can improvise, he has a fantastic QB frame, and he knows how to read defenses.  The only thing I would consider him having to improve on is working through his progressions more often.  He needs to be able to look at other options rather than just one or two when considering throwing.  Otherwise, he is elite in essentially every department imaginable.  

Jacksonville Jaguars – Pick # 25 – Teven Jenkins (Oklahoma State OT)

This is not a flashy pick, nor is it one that will really excite many Jags fans I am sure.  However, I think protecting TLaw should be something of major consideration for this team.  Preventing a Joe Burrow-type situation from happening is definitely worth the draft pick.

Teven Jenkins is an extremely solidified offensive lineman from his college experience.  He started 35 of his 37 games at Oklahoma State and started at many different offensive line positions.  He played his majority at right tackle, but also played left tackle and right guard.  The thing that is notable about this is that he really performed well at all of these positions, while he did perform best at his natural right tackle spot.  

Teven is an absolute monster, at 6’6” 320 pounds, and is relatively top-heavy which is fantastic in pass protection.  He is extremely quick to set and establishes himself rather fast by using his hands to get defenders in front of him and keep them there.  In terms of run blocking, he is solid as well, he can quickly generate some momentum from his upper body strength and drive defenders away to open up the right side gaps.  He would be a great addition to the Jags offensive line, and would really give Lawrence a chance at showing off his talent.

Houston Texans – Draft Pick #3 (traded away previously) 

Many people will remember this trade for various reasons.  Here is the rundown of it for those who either did not know or do not remember:

Dolphins Trade: Laremy Tunsil & Kenny Stills, 2020 4th round pick, 2021 6th round pick

Texans Trade: 2020 & 2021 1st round picks, 2021 2nd round pick

This trade, in hindsight, is kinda 50/50 looking back at it.  Laremy Tunsil has been fantastic for the Texans, making the Pro Bowl both in 2019 and 2020 due to his performance.  He is definitely worth the picks in a sense, as he is a franchise OT no doubt.  However, the Texans really could have used the first-round picks from last year and this year.  While the pick last season was not fantastic as they made the playoffs and the second round of them, this year’s pick ended up being #3 in the draft.  

There is a good chance the Texans could have someone like Penei Sewell from this class if they had not traded the pick.  So they could have Penei, another player from last year’s class in the late first, and still have a second-rounder this year.  Granted, they thought Kenny Stills would work out better in the long run, but they barely used him.  Overall the trade is kind of irrelevant in terms of the Texans anyways because they have lost many of their playmakers in the last 2 seasons, and are heading towards a rebuild.

Indianapolis Colts – Draft Pick #21 – Samuel Cosmi (Texas OT)

Well, now we have an idea of where this team is going in the offseason somewhat.  The Colts as of the day prior to me writing this have traded for QB Carson Wentz to play behind center for them.  So QB is likely off the table for now with the Colts, therefore I go best available offensive lineman.

The Colts offensive line took a huge hit already with the retirement of 10-year veteran OT Anthony Castonzo.  Replacing him in some capacity needs to be the largest priority of this offseason, so they can give Carson Wentz a fighting chance.  Samuel Cosmi is a lights-out run blocker, and his 6’7” 310-pound frame is absolutely part of that ability.  He opens up gaps with ease and truly gets out in front of his backs to protect them and give them as many yards as he can.  

Something to note for future reference with Cosmi is that his pass blocking is not extraordinary, as he is lacking some weight in muscle.  He will need to be trained up and taught how to trap rushers if he is to perform at a high level in the NFL.  However, with a mid to late first-round pick like this, that is something you would expect to have to do.  If he can be trained more in pass protection and put on maybe 10 pounds of lean muscle, he will be an absolute force to be reckoned with.

Tennessee Titans – Draft Pick #22 – Joseph Ossai (Texas Edge)

With the Colts taking a Texas OT only 1 pick prior, might as well put him to the test with a Texas edge rusher.  Edge has been a position of need for the Titans for quite a while now, and getting a productive one in the draft like Ossai would be a fantastic late first-round pick.  

Joseph is an extremely athletic and long-framed edge that has little to no issue getting around the tackles.  Due to his thinner nature, he also plays outside linebacker at times, which adds to his versatility.  He is extremely explosive and energetic and has an extremely high motor for a defensive end.  He is fantastic at getting the ball out of the ball carrier’s hands and is very capable with his hands during the play.  

In terms of things he needs to work on, he really is an extremely raw prospect.  He has a lot of things to learn, and a little muscle weight to put on before he really has an impact on the line.  He also has issues at times reading into run plays and over commits prior to the running back hitting gaps.  This is definitely something that could be trained and fixed over time with the right coaching staff though.  I believe Tennessee would be able to clean up these errors and form him into a genuine NFL stud.  

Related Article: New York Giants: Why Keeping Dave Gettleman is the Right Move

Who do you think the AFC South teams could draft? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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