Jaguars news: AFC South gearing up for the 2023 NFL Draft

Jacksonville Jaguars fans at the 2023 NFL Draft.
Jacksonville Jaguars fans at the 2023 NFL Draft. / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

The 2022 season marked the first time in years that the Jacksonville Jaguars weren't in the cellar of the NFL. The Jags are now the team to beat in the AFC South and although they're the early favorites to seize the division for the second year in a row, they can't afford to take it for granted.

After all, the Houston Texans loaded up on talent in free agency. Similarly, the Indianapolis Colts will be in a position to select their potential franchise quarterback of the future in the 2023 NFL Draft. Last but not least are the Tennessee Titans who are trying to revamp their roster even though they're dealing with a cap crunch.

Heading into the draft, the Jaguars and their division foes will be focused on meeting with prospects and sorting out their big boards. With that in mind, here are some things that took place in the AFC South this week.

The rest of the AFC South is trying to catch up with the Jacksonville Jaguars

3. The Indianapolis Colts could trade for Lamar Jackson if they aren't sold in this year's quarterback batch

The Colts have tried several options at quarterback since Andrew Luck retired but none of them have worked. Although they signed former Jaguar Gardner Minshew in free agency, they currently hold the fourth overall pick in the draft, so they'll be in a position to take one of the top prospects at the position.

However, if Indy isn't sold on any of their options in the draft, they could then pursue Lamar Jackson, who's looking for a new contract formally request a trade. Peter King of NBC Sports wrote in a recent column that the Colts would be interested in the 2019 NFL MVP if the guarantees he's seeking aren't absurd.

On the other hand, Colts owner Jim Irsay would prefer that they draft and develop a quarterback, so they "could have financial flexibility. Regardless of the route they take to address the quarterback position, Indianapolis will be a team to watch in the upcoming weeks.

2. The Tennessee Titans aren't letting DT Jeffery Simmons go anywhere

The Titans had to part ways with several key contributors this offseason and are undergoing a soft rebuild, meaning that they're trying to stay competitive while making significant changes to their roster. But in spite of the turnover Tennessee has undergone the last couple of months, they are keeping defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, a staple of their defense the last few years.

A first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Simmons was set to play under the fifth-year option of his rookie deal next season but the Titans have given him a massive four-year contract worth $96 million, which ensures he remains in Tennessee beyond 2023.

Simmons has logged 21 sacks over the last four seasons and has been named Second-Team All-Pro twice in his career. Signing him to a long-term deal ensures the Titans' defense will continue to consistently create pressure up front.

1. The Houston Texans are keeping their draft plans close to the chest

The Texans will most likely take a quarterback with the second-overall pick in the draft but whom they choose may depend on what the Carolina Panthers, who hold the top selection, decide to do. If the Panthers decide to take C.J. Stroud at No. 1, they will then be in a position to take Will Levis, Anthony Richardson, Bryce Young, or Hendon Hooker.

If C.J. Stroud is available at No. 2, he should be the pick. But if he's not, the Texans could trade back a few spots and still get the quarterback they want. Either way, Houston will play a big role in how the first half of the first round unfolds.

Fortunately for the Jaguars, quarterback is the one position they don't have to worry about due to the presence of Trevor Lawrence, who is one of the top passers in the league heading into the 2023 season.

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