AFC South Defensive Changes


Houston Texans

2014 Ranks - Pass: 8th; Run: 11th

We may have to wait a little bit longer but the Watt-Clowney combo could be glorious. 

We may have to wait a little bit longer but the Watt-Clowney combo could be glorious. 

Key Losses:
LB Brooks Reed (+2.5)
S Kendrick Lewis (+1.8)

Key Additions:
NT Vince Wilfork (+8.9)
S Rahim Moore (+0.2)
CB Kevin Johnson (Round 1, Pick 16)

Notes:

  • Solid unit against both the run and pass in 2014. Having the best player in football in JJ Watt helps (+107.5).
  • CB Kareem Jackson (+9.5) and CB Jonathan Joseph (+5.0) represent one of the best CB duos in the league and 1st round pick CB Kevin Johnson adds good depth.
  • Jadeveon Clowney could be back week 1. The hype has died down by now, but don’t sleep on him. Watt and Clowney in tandem will be ridiculous. Unfortunately, as of July 27th, the Texans have placed Clowney on the active/PUP list. This means he could be ready for week 1 or be out until week 7. It makes sense that the Texans would want to be cautious with the player in which they invested the 1st overall pick.
  • Lost S Kendrick Lewis (+1.6). Replaced by S Rahim Moore (+0.3). Lateral move. 
  • Signing veteran NT Vince Wilfork will improve the run defense.

2015 Matchup Projection - Pass: Unfavorable; Run: Unfavorable

If Clowney is healthy and can perform up to even a fraction of the hype, this already stout defense may very well lift itself into the elite. 


Indianapolis Colts

2014 Ranks - Pass: 12th; Run: 19th

Deflated footballs aside, the Indianapolis Colts' inability to stop the run was exposed in the AFC championship game. 

Deflated footballs aside, the Indianapolis Colts' inability to stop the run was exposed in the AFC championship game. 

Key Losses:
DE Cory Redding (+3.7)
S Laron Landry (+1.6)
S Sergio Brown (+5.3)
DE Ricky Jean-Francois (+0.4)

Key Additions:
OLB Trent Cole (+6.5)
DE Kendall Langford (-4.6)
S Dwight Lowery (+1.1)
CB D’Joun Smith (Round 3, Pick 1)

Notes:

  • The secondary, led by elite CB Vontae Davis (+21.8) was quite good but the run D unraveled towards the end of the season and was notably exposed in the AFC Championship game in which LaGarrette Blount took them for 148 yards and 3 touchdowns. 
  • This off-season, they’ve lost their 2 best DEs, Cory Redding and Ricky Jean-Francois . Newly acquired DE Kendall Langford is an average player that should fill one of the spots while the aging DE Arthur Jones (-10.2) fills the other. 
  • The Colts also lost Sergio Brown and LaRon Landry who each split time for the Colts at free safety. To replace them, the Colts have brought in FS Dwight Lowery who looked passable for the Falcons in 2014. 
  • Drafted CB D’Joun Smith with the 1st pick of the 3rd round. Smith will presumably serve as a backup for CB Greg Toler (-12.4) who graded as a bottom 10 starting cornerback in 2014. The Colts hope Smith will be able to surpass Toler on the depth chart at some point during the season.

 2015 Matchup Projection - Pass: Unfavorable; Run: Favorable

It would seem that the Colts have done a fair job of plugging the holes caused by players leaving in free agency but have done little to improve the defense overall, opting to draft WR Phillip Dorsett in the 1st round instead of seeking help on the defensive line. 


Tennessee Titans

CB Jason McCourty looks to bounce back in 2015. Acquisitions S Da'Norris Searcy and CB Perrish Cox make this secondary nothing to sneeze at. 

CB Jason McCourty looks to bounce back in 2015. Acquisitions S Da'Norris Searcy and CB Perrish Cox make this secondary nothing to sneeze at. 

2014 Ranks - Pass: 23rd; Run: 28th

Key Losses:
DE Quentin Groves (-11.2)
S George Wilson (-14.1) 
S Bernard Pollard (+1.8)

Key Additions:
OLB Brian Orakpo (+5.2)
S Da’Norris Searcy (+8.6) 
CB Perrish Cox (+1.2)

Notes:

  • One of the worst teams in the league on both sides of the ball in 2014. There’s no way to go but up. 
  • S George Wilson who graded as a bottom 10 safety is replaced by Da’Norris Searcy who graded as top 20 safety. 
  • New CB Perrish Cox is solid and provides much needed stability opposite CB Jason McCourty. 
  • 2014 was a down year for CB Jason McCourty as he earned a grade of just -2.4. From 2011-2013, he graded at +11.6, +15.6, and +10.6. 
  • Added OLB Brian Orakpo who, combined with stud OLB Derrick Morgan (+14.6) and DE Jurrell Casey (+21.2), should provide a respectable pass rush. 

2015 Matchup Projection - Pass: Neutral; Run: Favorable

The Titans have upgraded all across the board on defense and, under the command of new defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, should manage to be respectable in 2015. 


Jacksonville Jaguars

2014 Ranks - Pass: 21st; Run: 23rd

3rd year coach Gus Bradley is on the hot seat. If his defense can continue to improve, he may see year 4. 

3rd year coach Gus Bradley is on the hot seat. If his defense can continue to improve, he may see year 4. 

Key Losses:
DE Red Bryant (-1.6)
LB J.T. Thomas (-14.8)
LB Geno Hayes (+5.9)

Key Additions:
DE Jared Odrick (+9.0)
S Sergio Brown (+4.7)
LB Dan Skuta (+1.6)
CB Davon House (-0.1)

Notes:

  • It’s year 3 for the Jags under Gus Bradley and it’s time for the rebuilding process to yield results. 
  • The young D-line showed flashes last year, finishing the season tied for 6th in sacks with 45. 
  • 3rd overall pick, Dante Fowler Jr. , might have provided the spark this team needed to become truly formidable but, alas, he tore his ACL on the first day of rookie minicamp just 8 days after being drafted. 
  • Lost LB Geno Hayes who was decent but also lose LB J.T. Thomas who was terrible.  
  • Lost DE Red Bryant who was good in run defense but contributed little to the pass rush. 
  • Added 4 new starters in free agency: DE Jared Odrick , LB Dan Skuta, CB Davon House, and S Sergio Brown . All graded as average or above average in 2014. 

2015 Matchup Projection - Pass: Neutral; Run: Favorable

It would have been nice to see what this defense could have been with Dante Fowler Jr. let loose and wreaking havoc. Still, key additions combined with a young and improving returning cast could push this unit into being at least average.