INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts, to this point, have utilized the beginning of the league's 2017 free agency period to address a number of areas on the roster.
On offense, notable moves include the re-signing of tight end Jack Doyle (leading to the trade of former No. 1 tight end Dwayne Allen) and running back Robert Turbin, as well as the signing of guys like wide receiver Kamar Aiken, tight end Brandon Williams and center/guard Brian Schwenke, each of whom should bring with them added competition at their respective positions.
On defense, new Colts general manager Chris Ballard has been particularly cognizant of the need for high-upside pass rushers, as the team has signed the likes of John Simon and Jabaal Sheard, as well as former first-round pick Barkevious Mingo. Big defensive end Margus Hunt, nose tackle Al Woods and inside linebacker Sean Spence also bring plenty of experience to Indy, while perhaps one of the most notable moves so far has been the re-signing of Darius Butler, who looks to make a full-time transition from cornerback to safety.
And on special teams, the team found a replacement for now-retired punter Pat McAfee in the veteran Jeff Locke, while the team also brought in Joe Fortunato to compete at long snapper.
Ballard, of course, isn't close to being done reconstructing the roster. Perhaps another free agent or two could find their way to Indy in the next few weeks, and then, of course, comes the NFL Draft and the signing of undrafted college free agents.
So what currently stand as the Colts' primary areas of need? One could look at cornerback, where the team has Vontae Davis as a clear-cut No. 1, but then a long line of players vying for the No. 2 and slot spots after the release of Patrick Robinson and Butler's move to safety.
And then there's inside linebacker, where the team will have 100-percent turnover at the MIKE and WILL spots from Week 1 last season. While the Colts went with youngsters Edwin Jackson and Antonio Morrison the final four weeks of 2016, The Ringer's Danny Kelly believes it's here, at inside linebacker, that should be Indy's biggest draft need this year.
But what about the rest of the division? It's important to keep an eye on the three other teams in the AFC South Division, each of which have forged their own interesting storylines so far this offseason.
So let's go back to Kelly's piece on each team's biggest draft needs, and compound it down into a team-by-team look at the rest of the AFC South.Houston Texans
Biggest draft need: Quarterback
Kelly's rationale: "The Texans managed to wriggle free from the four-year, $72 million contract they gave Osweiler last spring, but presumptive starter Tom Savage isn't the answer either. The team still needs to draft and develop for the future. Kizer and Mahomes could be great fits for the Texans in the first round, as they both possess strong arms and aggressive styles that would satisfy Bill O'Brien's desire for a more explosive downfield passing game."Jacksonville Jaguars
Biggest draft need: Offensive line
Kelly's rationale: "Trading a future seventh-round pick to the Dolphins for Branden Albert helped the Jaguars address their need at the tackle position after letting 2016 starter Kelvin Beachum go, but the team can't stop there. Albert has the upside to be a solid starter this year, except relying on a guy who's 32 years old, hasn't played a full season since 2011, and is coming off his worst year as a pro is a gamble. Meanwhile, right tackle Jermey Parnell (30) isn't getting any younger, and the depth on the edges behind both starters is basically nonexistent. The guard position could use an upgrade as well, as both A.J. Cann and Patrick Omameh struggled last season and at least need some competition."Tennessee Titans
Biggest draft need: Cornerback
Kelly's rationale: "The Titans defense surrendered the third-most passing yards of any team last year and finished with the 26th ranked pass defense per Football Outsiders DVOA. Even after the signing of free agent Logan Ryan, the secondary needs help. Ryan's ability to play outside or in the slot gives Tennessee a lot of flexibility. With Jason McCourty, Brice McCain, and Ryan, the Titans have solid starters in base and nickel looks. But depth behind that trio is still an issue, and with McCourty and McCain both entering contract years, the future of the position needs to be addressed with one of Tennessee's two first-round picks"
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