AFC South teams begin arms race at NFL draft

Touring the AFC South Podcast host Mike Patton joins Brother From Another to talk about AFC South teams building through the draft and who is the team to beat in the division.

Video Transcript

- And brings perspective on all things AFC South, as a creator of the "Touring the AFC South" podcast. He brings that knowledge to the table right now on "Brother from Another." Mike, good to see you, brother. I went into this first round being like, the AFC South is going to be the story, given that they had three teams in the top 12, two picking twice, and then the Jaguars being real slick at the back end of the first round, everybody chasing what they have in Trevor Lawrence.

So start with the Texans, a lot of people's big winners picking CJ Stroud at two, Will Anderson at three, trading back end for the price of the 12th and 33rd picks this year, and a '24 first and third next year. How did the Texans do?

MIKE PATTON: I think the Texans did great. I mean, honestly, they came into this draft with a lot of different things they needed to fill mainly quarterback and a pass rusher. With CJ Stroud, you come in there and you get him in there. And he is probably the most talented quarterback out of all of them, in my opinion. He definitely is ready to play right now. He fills a hole. And basically, they couldn't go back to Davis Mills being the quarterback again on that team.

Now, you have defensively with the number three pick, you have Will Anderson Jr. They did not have a pass rush. Jerry Hughes Jr. was their leading pass rusher. And unfortunately, he's very long in the tooth. And you can't depend on that type of production next year either. So, adding Will Anderson Jr., adding CJ Stroud definitely fills two holes on that team and allows them to progress forward and maybe compete for the AFC South this year.

- Oh, wow.

- Well, yeah. So if you look at it that way, they clearly had a great night of drafting, the Texans did. But last year, the Jaguars won the division dramatically, that last game against the Titans. Whose division is it? After this draft-- I know it's early, night one, we got a couple more to go. Whose division is it in 2023? Do you still give it to the Jaguars? Or you got somebody else?

MIKE PATTON: You got to still give it to the Jaguars at this point. I mean, look at it. You have Marvin Jones Jr. He leaves, and you have Calvin Ridley in a trade you got last year for a fifth round pick. And they're still basically adding to those pieces to the team. And they're the most solid and most developed team in the division right now. The Titans and the Colts are still trying to find themselves again. And the Texans are still trying to find themselves also. So yes, right now, it's still Jacksonville's division.

- I give Jacksonville a lot of credit. Trent Baalke and our guy Doug Pederson, the official coach of "Brother from Another." I gave them a lot of credit, because they didn't pick up high. But they traded back twice, ended up with Anton Harrison from Oklahoma to take the place of the now-suspended Cam Robinson. And Michael, they got their own second and third tonight.

But then on Saturday, you're going to here to Jaguars a lot, three fourths, a fifth, three sixths, and two sevenths.

- Come on. Three sixths!

- So, they got a chance to add a lot of roster depth. I love the maneuvering that they did yesterday. All right, back to the top of the draft, though, Mike. The Colts taking Anthony Richardson, and I get the sense that Indianapolis would prefer to watch him struggle with them than be great somewhere else. I think they were enamored by that ceiling, more than they were scared by the floor. What do you think about the Colts bringing in Anthony Richardson, who a lot of people think just needs more experience and more seasoning?

MIKE PATTON: Honestly, I think it's a great move. If you look at their coach Steichen, he actually coached Justin Herbert with the Los Angeles Chargers. And then also, look at him and Jalen Hurts. With Anthony Richardson, he can actually accentuate his strengths, allow him to run the football. But also, he can help him in the passing game, put him in positions to succeed with the weapons that they have on Michael Pittman Jr. and Jonathan Taylor, a little bit of maybe a quarterback option read type of things as well. So, you definitely get a quarterback that's going into a right situation with a great guy with quarterback.

- You like the pick?

- The bottom fell out of that organization last year. It seems like a good-- they're better than the fourth overall pick as a roster, feels like.

- You like that pick, Mike?

MIKE PATTON: Right. Yeah, I actually like that pick. I thought it was the best fit for Anthony Richardson, to be honest.

- So, and lastly, the Titans. Our guy Ran Carthon's first draft, they end up with Peter Skoronski out of Northwestern at 11. Will Levis and Hendon Hooker from right down the road at Tennessee are still on the board. Do the Titans get in on this arms race? You got three teams they got their QBs now. What do the Titans do at QB? They got a new stadium. Who is their new face of the franchise, once they move on from Ryan Tannehill?

MIKE PATTON: Well, the great thing is, they got probably about four years to figure it out. This stadium probably won't be around till 2027.

- Yeah.

MIKE PATTON: But honestly, taking a look at it, I'm not sure they draft either Levis or Hendon Hooker. If you have to pick, I'd say Hendon Hooker. But to me, in my opinion, I think they need to spend that time developing Malik Willis. And with bringing in Peter Skoronski, you add him to that team, you add a lineman that can help blow open holes for Derrick Henry and give him a little bit more of an actual opening to run the football, instead of being touched in the backfield every single time, like he did last year.

- Mike Patton, appreciate you, man.

- Good stuff, Mike.

- Thanks for helping us tour the AFC South.

- Thank you.

- They're running things. They're on the come up, all four teams.