The AFC South is seen by many NFL analyst as one of the weaker divisions in football. That can be a positive because it will take less improvement by the Jags to turn things around. The negative is a total lack of respect. Aside from the Colts, there is not much to be excited about right now in the AFC South, except for the impending NFL draft in which three of their teams will be picking in the top 11, and two in the top three. What I will be doing is ranking the AFC South at multiple positions. For now I will be going with the players who would be the presumed starters while attempting to take into consideration free agency and draft picks. We have completely ranked the offense (QB, RB, WR, TE & OL). Now we are focusing on the defense. We have completed DE, DT, LBs, & CB Now we’ll look at Safeties. Let’s start ranking.
- Tennessee Titans (Bernard Pollard/Michael Griffin) / 181 tackles, 0.5 sack, 14 PDs, 4 INTs – Exceptionally shocking. Both starting safeties are comfortably signed for a few years. Four more PDs then the next highest and three more INTs. The competition wasn’t really close. The Tennessee Titans have the best safeties in the AFC South.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (Johnathan Cyprien/Josh Evans) / 162 tackles, 1 sack, 7 PDs, 1 INT – May not be the best safety tandem yet, but is easily the best young group. Both starters were rookies last year & will look to continue growing into their roles. With improved front seven play, the young safeties could climb for the top. For now, the Jacksonville Jaguars have the 2nd best safeties in the AFC South.
- Houston Texans (D.J. Swearinger/Shiloh Keo) / 134 tackles, 0 sacks, 10 PDs, 1 INT – The safeties for the Texans did a good job considering how poorly the other positions on the defense played last year. 10 passes defended were the 2nd best tally in the division. The Texans’ defense needs to improve in many areas, including the safety positions, but for now the Houston Texans have the 3rd best safeties in the AFC South.
- Indianapolis Colts (Delano Howell/ Laron Landry) / 106 tackles, 1 sack, 4 PDs, 0 INTs – This rating could change pretty quickly. UFA Antoine Bethea (110 tackles, 1 sack, 6 PDs, 2 INTs) is the defensive leader. Because of his age (29) and his outstanding 2013 stats, the Colts may not be able to re-sign him. If they do, then they would easily jump up to possibly the top. Because I feel Bethea won’t stay, the Indianapolis Colts have the worst safeties in the AFC South.
For a team that has been the cream of the crop in just about every other position, it is clear that Indianapolis has some work to do to shore up the safety position. In Jacksonville, I hope they will look at the draft to possibly bring in someone stronger than Evans at FS. Evans is serviceable, and really outplayed his draft position, but I think they can do better. We’ll see what changes are made in free agency. See you soon with special teams. Thanks for the read!
Ratings by Michael McDonald.
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