AFC South NFL Draft Grades: Texans Skip Top QB; Jaguars Take Risks

Jadeveon ClowneyAndre Johnson probably wouldn’t have given the Houston Texans an “A” for their 2014 NFL draft haul.

Johnson wondered aloud Tuesday — just three days after the draft concluded — if the Texans are “still the place” for him. Perhaps he’s not very excited about the prospect of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, T.J. Yates or Tom Savage throwing him passes in 2014.

Johnson probably wanted the Texans to draft one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s class, but instead they waited until the fourth round to grab Savage — a strange decision for a team that appears ready to compete in 2014.

This week, NESN.com will grade the picks made in each division, so let’s check out the AFC South.

HOUSTON TEXANS

Round 1, No. 1 overall: Jadeveon Clowney, outside linebacker, South Carolina
Round 2, No. 33 overall: Xavier Su’a-Filo, guard, UCLA
Round 3, No. 65 overall: C.J. Fiedorowicz, tight end, Iowa
Round 3, No. 83 overall: Louis Nix, defensive tackle, Notre Dame
Round 4, No. 135 overall: Tom Savage, quarterback, Pittsburgh
Round 6, No. 177 overall: Jeoffrey Paga, defensive end, LSU
Round 6, No. 181 overall: Alfred Blue, running back, LSU
Round 6, No. 211 overall: Jay Prosch, fullback, Auburn
Round 7, No. 216 overall: Andre Hal, defensive back, Vanderbilt
Round 7, No. 256 overall: Lonnie Ballentine, safety, Memphis

Apparently we finally know what a “Bill O’Brien quarterback” looks like. It would have been nice to see the Texans address quarterback earlier in the draft, but if Savage lives up to his potential, he could be a steal.

Otherwise, the Texans got an incredible haul in the draft, selecting the best player in the class, a top guard, a top-five tight end and a potential Vince Wilfork clone.

Grade: A

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Round 1, No. 3 overall: Blake Bortles, quarterback, UCF
Round 2, No. 39 overall: Marqise Lee, wide receiver, USC
Round 2, No. 61 overall: Allen Robinson, wide receiver, Penn State
Round 3, No. 93 overall: Brandon Linder, guard, Miami
Round 4, No. 114 overall: Aaron Colvin, cornerback, Oklahoma
Round 5, No. 144 overall: Telvin Smith, linebacker, Florida State
Round 5, No. 159 overall: Chris Smith, defensive end, Arkansas
Round 6, No. 205 overall: Luke Bowanko, center, Virgina
Round 7, No. 222 overall: Storm Johnson, running back, UCF

The Jaguars took a risk in drafting Bortles in the first round, but they did a nice job filling needs with the best players available.

Lee, Robinson, Colvin, Smith and Johnson all could be steals, but Lee’s knee had teams concerned, Colvin tore his ACL at the Senior Bowl and Smith failed his drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine, so Bortles wasn’t the Jaguars’ only gamble. If the risks pay off, great, but if they don’t, head coach Gus Bradley could be looking for a job in a few years.

Grade: B

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

Round 2, No. 59 overall: Jack Mewhort, guard, Ohio State
Round 3, No. 90 overall: Donte Moncrief, wide receiver, Ole Miss
Round 5, No. 166 overall: Jonathan Newsome, defensive end, Ball State
Round 6, No. 203 overall: Andrew Jackson, linebacker, Western Kentucky
Round 7, No. 232 overall: Ulrick John, offensive tackle, Georgia State

Do we count the Colts’ horrific trade, dealing a first-round pick for running back Trent Richardson, or no? That could go down as one of the worst trades in NFL history, especially since it eventually turned into Johnny Manziel.

Mewhort will help protect Andrew Luck, and Moncrief was a good value in the third round.

Grade: F if we count Richardson, C if not

TENNESSEE TITANS

Round 1, No. 11 overall: Taylor Lewan, offensive tackle, Michigan
Round 2, No. 54 overall: Bishop Sankey, running back, Washington
Round 4, No. 112 overall: DaQuan Jones, defensive tackle, Penn State
Round 4, No. 122 overall: Marqueston Huff, safety, Wyoming
Round 5, No. 151 overall: Avery Williamson, linebacker, Kentucky
Round 6, No. 178 overall: Zach Mettenberger, quarterback, LSU

No one will accuse the Titans of drafting for need in the first round. Lewan is blocked out by Michael Roos and Michael Oher at tackle and Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack at guard. Lewan clearly was the best player available at No. 11, but Odell Beckham, Aaron Donald and Kyle Fuller at least would have found the field in 2014.

The rest of the Titans’ draft was extremely solid.

Grade: B

Check out our other draft grades: AFC East|NFC East|AFC North|NFC North|NFC South

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