The Combine Report: 2017 NFL Team Needs – AFC South

By: Barry Barnes, Founder

Other than using the vehicle of the NFL Draft to solve an immediate need, teams look to the selection process to build depth. Due to expected injuries and overall development, constructing a solid roster from top to bottom is essential for clubs to succeed. Players must be teachable, hungry and ready, which is why the NFL Regional Combine is significant.

NFL teams should build according to their division. If a squad can amass the right talents to execute the system well enough to dictate outcomes on the field, skies the limits.

The AFC South appeared to be the division with the best grouping of young quarterbacks entering last season. After a huge acquisition by the Houston Texans and an apparent meltdown in Jacksonville, the football world is pondering thoughts of when the South will take it to the next level.

The South is established on finest with deep balls and explosive plays.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Combine Report: 2017 NFL Team Needs – AFC East


Statistically, the AFC South was not the division that struggled the most in the NFL last season, as it landed on the negative side in points differential at -108. In terms of anticipation, the unit was probably the most disappointing division in 2016.

The talent market is as fruitful as it has ever been for the AFC South to improve and move forward. The only question is – can they find the right assets to invest?

HOUSTON TEXANS – (Current RC players – DB Denzel Rice, LB Gerald Rivers, WR Wendall Williams)


Last season, 9-7 (AFC South Champions)


The Texans were the only team in the NFL that won their division on the left side of the differential at -49, which highlights the continuous growth of the AFC South needs to be competitive around the league and how inept they were offensively in 2016.

Nevertheless, a new season presents new opportunities, and with fresh liberties, comes probabilities to build a brand stronger.

Needs – Quarterback, Linebacker, Offensive Lineman, Running Back


Austin Apodaca/Google Images

Justin Dvorak (Colorado Mines), Mobile, great arm and touch, smart

Austin Apodaca (New Mexico), Strong arm, quick release, smart, moves well, great touch

Zach Kline (Frenso State), Quick release, strong arm, great touch, moves well, has a good deep ball



John Silas (Elon University), Smart, balance, strong, decent speed, good hands

Omar Howard (Richmond), Natural tackler, good speed, solid footwork

Teron Fitzgerald (Texas State), Quick, explosive, decent hands, aggressive

Offensive Lineman

Tarrance Wells (North Carolina Central), Molder, stronger, good feet, high motor

Dustin Stanton (Oregon State), Huge, balance, control, great footwork, quick

Elijah Wilkinson (UMASS), Athletic, mobile, strong, great feet and hands

Running Back

Jakhari Gore (Marian, Ind.), Smooth, strong, fluent, great hands, solid route runner, high IQ

William Stanback (Virginia Union), Powerful, huge, good hands, tough, physical

Marquell Beckwith (Alabama State), Explosive, good hands and feet, quick, tough


TENNESSEE TITANS – (Current RC players – TE Jerome Cunningham)

Last season, 9-7


After assembling a balance offense and a decent defense, the Titans will be in position to challenge for the division. When quarterback Marcus Mariota went down in Week 16 against the Jacksonville Jaguars due to a fractured right fibula, the Titans could have finished the season with double-digit wins and possibly the division.

A couple pieces here and there, the AFC South title should be in their future for the 2017 campaign.

Needs – Cornerback, Wide Receiver, Linebacker



Forrest Jones (Texas A&M-Kingsville), Fluent, great hands and feet, decent speed, instinctive

Jason Thompson (Utah), Fluent, explosive, great hands, strong, light on toes

Marcus Sayles (West Georgia), Explosive, decent hands and speed, special teams ace

Wide Receiver

Jordan Hicks (Incarnate Word), Burner, undersized – but quick with decent hands and discipline

Rashad Lofton (Concordia-Chicago), Great stop, start and go ability, tough, fast, balance

Montay Crockett (Georgia Southern), Great hands, playmaker, fluent, quick, burner


Arkez Cooper (Grambling), Solid, decent speed, aggressive, discipline tackler

Abner Logan (Albany, N.Y.), Powerful, physical, decent hands, moves well

Dvonta Derricott (Arkansas Tech), Intense, solid tracking speed, great hands, great tackler, discipline

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – (Current RC players – OL Denzelle Good, DBs Chris Milton and Darryl Morris, TE Brandon Williams)

Last season, 8-8


The Colts must be healthy in key positions in order for them to win. In a wide-open division where anyone can catch fire, the Colts must stock up on the right talent to stay on track because they cannot afford another derailment.

Needs: Offensive Lineman, Linebacker, Running Back

Offensive Lineman

Tarrance Wells (North Carolina Central), Molder, stronger, good feet, high motor

Jack Plankers (North Dakota State), Nasty, agile, powerful, quick, great feet, solid pass protector

Darius Jokarzadeh (Swansea University), Agile, fast, strong, powerful, raw talent


B.J. Bello (Illinois State), Agile, great feet, decent hands, hybrid, plays the pass, quick

Anthony Zappone (Slippery Rock), Discipline, Strong, smart, great balance and footwork, decent hands

Quentin Parks (Texas A&M-Kingsville), Very quick, strong, huge, good foot and hands

Running Back

Jakhari Gore (Marian, Ind.), Smooth, strong, fluent, great hands, solid route runner, high IQ

Matthias McKinnon (Wagner), Powerful, dual-threat, great hands and feet, patient, aggressive, fast

Virgil Hammond (Minn. State-Mankato), Fast, strong, solid blocker, decent hands and footwork, discipline

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS – (Current RC players – DB Akeem Davis, RB Bronson Hill, OL Greg Van Roten, DE Jonathan Woodard, LB Josh McNary)


Last season, 3-13


The Jags is starting to accumulate some solid talent, but Jags fans have to continue to wait for productivity. With some additional pieces, the wait will not have to be long – hopefully.

Needs: Offensive Lineman, Tight End, Defensive Tackle, Safety


Offensive Lineman

Dillon DeBoer (Florida Atlantic), Durable, four-year starter, moves well, athletic, good speed

Shalom Ogbonda (Florida Atlantic), Agile, balance, has control, great feet and hands, strong

Tight End

Tyler Scalzi (Texas Tech), Good hands, extremely physical, good route running

Robert Tonyan (Indiana State), Strong, great hands, total package

Nehemiah Winston (UC Davis), Workhorse, strong, agile, decent hands, blocked in Pro-Style offense

Defensive Tackle

Calvin Lyons (Southern Arkansas), Quick first step, agile, take on double teams, powerful, good feet

Patrick Grafree (Eastern Kentucky), Huge, powerful, quick, nasty, great feet and use hands well

Marshall Lee-Mundin (Shepherd), Agile, great hands, athletic, instinctive


Stephen Thayer (Missouri Valley), Fast, decent hands, good foot, solid build

Chris Brockman (Colorado Mines), Smart, strong, great hands, discipline, physical, solid tackler

Julius Rucker (Southern Oregon), Great tackler, instinctive, tracks ball well, solid hands, balance

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