To start, receivers and tight ends are a critical component of the offense. Of course the team needs a quarterback who throws an accurate pass, but that is a discussion for another day. The AFC South team’s issues in this critical area are quite similar.
First, each AFC South team’s number one receiver has experience. After that, player inexperience is the order of the day. To add, most receiver positions after number one are there for the taking. Training camp sorts them out and there may be some surprises on all the teams. The bottom line as stated by Terry McCormick of Titaninsider.com is “there appear to be more questions than answers at receiver coming in.” Finally he added there is a lack of experience and injury issues.
Let’s begin with the Houston Texans. Above all, DeAndre Hopkins is a genuine star. His high ratings include: number 13 of the top 100 NFL players, number 2 receiver in the NFL by Sporting News, and number 3 receiver according to Athlon sports. No doubt he is impressive. However there is no set number two. The tight end group has no stars. The Texans hoped to remedy this by picking two tight ends and a wide receiver in the 2018 draft.
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Next we look at the ultimate nemesis, the Tennessee Titans. No doubt their best receiver is tight end Delanie Walker. He rated number 72 of the top 100 NFL players and number 4 of the tight ends. In addition, he made the 2016 Pro Bowl. He is an older player but may have several seasons left to play. His heir apparent is third round draft pick Jonnu Smith.
Sadly the wide receivers are coming off injuries. As a result Rishard Matthews led the team with 795 yards and 4 touchdowns. At the same time, Corey Davis was sidelined much of the season with a hamstring injury. Training camp will tell the story.
Now we look at the Indianapolis Colts. T.Y. Hilton is the one and only wide receiver with experience. Hilton ranked as the 18th wide receiver according to AthlonSports. The Colts have a group of young inexperienced receivers. Andrew Ites of Horseshoe Heroes stated “this group of wide receivers doesn’t have me extremely excited.” Therefore he hopes for surprises from the young talent.
On the other hand, the Colts tight ends are very good. Jack Doyle is a blocker and pass catcher rated the number 12 tight end by AthlonSports. In addition Eric Ebron exhibits speed and athletic ability. He rates as the number 15 tight end by AthlonSports.
Last but not least let’s look at the Jacksonville Jaguars. The tight end position looks improved. For example the team acquired Austin Sefarien Jenkins, the only receiver rated by Athlon Sports. He is the number 16 tight end. In addition, Ben Koyack and James O’Shaughnessy return.
The receiver corps with the exception of our current number 1, Marqise Lee, is very young and inexperienced. However potential abounds. DJ Chark is an exciting draft choice. Rashad Greene returns from injury. Also, Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole showed great potential in 2017.
Without a doubt all the teams have receiver issues. The bottom line is great potential but limited experience. However all the teams have at least one ranked player.