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SNS 2024 NFL Draft Team Analysis - AFC SOUTH



Houston Texans


DRAFT / UDFA GRADE: 3 Stars

Total Picks - 9


DRAFT PICKS


2 (42) Kamari Lassiter / CB / Georgia

2 (59) Blake Fisher / OT / Notre Dame

3 (78) Calen Bullock / S / USC

4 (122) Cade Stover / TE / Ohio State

5 (144) Jamal Hill / LB / Oregon

6 (205) Jawhar Jordan / RB / Louisville

7 (238) Solomon Byrd / EDGE / USC

7 (247) Marcus Harris / IDL / Auburn

7 (249) LaDarius Henderson / OL / Michigan


NOTABLE UDFA


British Brooks / RB / North Carolina

Jadon Janke / WR / South Dakota State

Jaxon Janke / WR / South Dakota State

Max Tooley / LB / BYU

Tarique Barnes / LB / Illinois


DRAFT & UDFA ANALYSIS


The Texans after last year's draft, and this off-season's free agency and trade acquisitions, de-empasized the 2024 NFL Draft and did not have a first round selection. They used their first selection, #42 overall, on Lassiter, a highly experienced CB with average size and athleticism, is highly competitive and confident and will contribute as a rookie. Fisher could have been the first OT selected in the 2025 NFL Draft had he returned to South Bend. He has every physical attribute to start at either OLT or ORT. Bullock is long, fast, and rangy. He gives them a classic free safety to cover the deep third of the field. Stover is a strong player with the power to block in-line and the athleticism to a threat with the ball in the open field. Hill, a former safety, fits the mold of the modern-era off the ball LB with speed, range, and coverage ability of TEs, RBs, and some WRs. Jordan is undersized but quick with good burst, and the toughness to run between the tackles. Byrd, a transfer from Wyoming, has an athletic build and displays the ability to bend, flatten, and close on the QB. Harris fell to the seventh round despite a great senior season. He has the quickness and agility to line up at 3T or slide out and hold the edge in the run game as a 4-3 DE. Henderson, a transfer from Arizona State where he was an All-PAC 12 guard after the 2022 season, played OLT at Michigan in 2023. He has incredible length but struggles the farther he has to move and had difficulty handling a power rush as an OT. He will likely slide inside where he dominated as a Sun Devil. He has starting potential as an OG.

Brooks, a career backup at North Carolina, has the body type and running style to be developed as an inside runner. He has little wear and tear on his body and has an excellent chance of making the practice squad. Jadon and Jaxon Janke are productive twin WRs with years of productivity at the FCS level. They are not only identical twins but have nearly identical games and career stats. It'll be interesting if the Texans decide one Janke is worth developing more than the other and how the organization handles it. Both brothers look like potential NFL contributors. Tooley was a great season prior to a season-ending injury. He has good range, instincts, and tackling ability. He has a good chance of making the practice squad. Barnes is fast and active and looks like he could be a demon on special teams. He is likely competing with Tooley for one practice squad spot. It should be interesting. 


Indianapolis Colts


DRAFT / UDFA GRADE:  4 Stars

Total Picks - 9


DRAFT PICKS


1 (15) Laiatu Latu / EDGE / UCLA

2 (52) Adonai Mitchell / WR / Texas

3 (79) Matt Goncalves / OT / Pittsburgh

4 (117) Tanor Bortolini / IOL / Wisconsin

5 (142) Anthony Gould / WR / Oregon State

5 (151) Jaylon Carlies / S / Missouri

5 (164) Jaylin Simpson / S / Auburn

6 (201) Micah Abrahama / CB / Marshall

7 (234) Jonah Laulu / IDL / Oklahoma


NOTABLE UDFA


Jason Bean / QB-WR / Kansas

Kedon Slovis / QB / BYU

Trent Pennix / TE / North Carolina State

Dalton Tucker / OT / Marshall

Spencer Shrader / K / Notre Dame


DRAFT & UDFA ANALYSIS


Pretty much no one had the first defensive player not being drafted until the middle of the first round but that indeed is what happened. Indy, with pick #15, selected EDGE Laiatu Latu (UCLA), who became the first defensive player selected. Latu had to medically retire while at Washington due to a neck injury, but the Colts' obviously felt comfortable with his health status. He is the most accomplished and prepared for the NFL of any Edge in this draft and is technically sound and ready to contribute as a rookie. Mitchell is exceedingly fast (4.34 40) with the size and build to line up as an outside WR. He should be a starter before the end of the season. Goncalves has the desired size and wingspan for an OLT. He has a nasty playing demeanor but lacks some foot speed and agility. His NFL future may be as a guard. Bortolini lacks some desired size but he is a strong, mean, and tough center with a blue collar mentality. He'll provide a high quality backup to starter Ryan Kelley. Gould is a slick and fast underneath WR with the toughness to exploit seems out of the slot. He is an NFL-caliber punt returner, which is likely his best route to earning a roster spot. Carlies has minimal production in college but had a great combine workout. If he can tap his athletic upside, he could become a starter down the line. Simpson is a quality slot CB with the range and speed to play as a traditional free safety. Abraham recorded six INTs last season and has excellent ball skills. Special teams will be his ticket to a roster spot. Laulu, a transfer from Hawaii, has an excellent frame and raw athleticism worth developing. He started the first three games and was subsequently benched. He will try to earn a practice squad spot this summer.

Bean, a QB at North Texas who split time between QB and WR at Kansas, is very fast with an excellent burst of acceleration that makes him a nightmare in the open field. He'll try to earn a job as a Joe Webb-type of versatile player in Indy. Slovis is a great athlete with a live arm and plenty of playing experience at USC, Pittsburgh, and BYU. Accuracy and health issues have always been present but he has NFL talent. Pennix is bit of a tweener as a TE or FB but is a good athlete who should perform well on special teams. Tucker is tall, big, and long with a substantial reach. He's not overly smooth and spends too much time on the ground. Shrader has a great leg but accuracy issues plague him.


Jacksonville Jaguars


DRAFT / UDFA GRADE:  4 Stars

Total Picks - 9


DRAFT PICKS


1 (23) Brian Thomas / WR / LSU

2 (48) Maason Smith / DL / LSU

3 (96) Jarrian Jones / CB / Florida State

4 (114) Javon Foster / OT / Missouri

4 (116) Jordan Jefferson / IDL / LSU

5 (153) Deantre Prince / CB / Ole Miss

5 (167) Keilan Robinson / RB / Texas

6 (212) Cam Little / K / Arkansas

7 (236) Myles Cole / EDGE / Texas Tech


NOTABLE UDFA


Joshua Cephas / WR / UTSA

Wayne Ruby / WR / Mount Union

Joseph Scates / WR / Memphis

Andre Carter / EDGE / Indiana

Josh Proctor / S / Ohio State


DRAFT & UDFA ANALYSIS


The Jags were able to trade back and still acquire one of the best WRs in this class. Thomas had his best season last year and offers a prototypical combination of height, speed, reach, and explosiveness to become the #1 option outside to replace the departed Calvin Ridley. His teammate, Smith, offers a developing game that is similar to KC's Chris Jones. He has length and athleticism worth developing. Jones is a quality slot corner who matches up well with quickness in space. Foster has good length and movement skills. He should be a quality swing tackle backup with the potential to be a starter. Jefferson, the third Tiger drafted by the Jags, is a solid and balanced IDL with good strength. Prince has good length and the hips to play man coverage in space. Robinson is a quick RB who excels in space and has little wear and tear on his body. Little has a very good combination of leg strength and accuracy. He could win the kicking job but will likely begin the season on the practice squad. Cole has great reach and enough agility where he could be developed. His length could be useful as a kick and punt blocker. 

Scates is an experienced and productive receiver. He is thin and does not get much separation but he competes, and often wins, at the catch point. Cephas is a tough, strong, and physical WR who works the middle of the field and is a load to take down. Ruby is thin but quick. He has faced a poor level of competition but could earn a spot on the practice squad. Carter, a transfer from Western Michigan, is limited athletically but has decent size and a great motor. Proctor was a reliable, productive safety who handles the run and pass well. He lacks some desired range and athleticism.


Tennessee Titans 


DRAFT / UDFA GRADE:  3.5 Stars

Total Picks - 7


DRAFT PICKS


1 (7) JC Latham / OT / Alabama

2 (38) T'Vondre Sweat / IDL / Texas

4 (106) Cedric Gray / LB / North Carolina

5 (146) Jarvis Brownlee / CB / Louisville

6 (182) Jha'Quan Jackson / WR / Tulane

7 (242) James Williams / S / Miami

7 (252) Jaylen Harrell / EDGE / Michigan


NOTABLE UDFA


Dillon Johnson / RB / Washington

Jabari Small / RB / Tennessee

David Martin-Robinson / TE / Temple

X'Zauvaea Gadlin / OL / Liberty

Jordan Strachan / EDGE / South Carolina

Khalid Duke / EDGE / Kansas State

Gabe Jeudy-Lally / CB / Tennessee


DRAFT & UDFA ANALYSIS


Latham is exactly how you'd design an OT to look - big, tall, strong. Huge hands with an enormous wingspan. He runs well and looks like an absolute beast. And a beast he is in the run game where he can grind edge defenders into the ground. He handles a straight up speed rush well and when he latches on, you're typically done. He has difficulty with games, stunts, and late blitzes and savvy pass rushers can give him fits. Sweat, the Outland Trophy winner, is a huge run defender who offers little pass rushing skill other than an effective bull rush. He also has a pending DWI and weight issues. Gray, SNS' #1 ranked LB, is a complete TE with the ability to stop the run, cover TEs and RBs, and blitz. Brownlee has adequate length and height and excels in man coverage. Jackson is a very quick slot WR with experience as Tulane's #1 WR the last two seasons. Williams is a huge safety with height, mass, and length. He is best crashing down on the run but also covers the flat effectively enough to possibly play OLB. Harrell is an ascending talent with athleticism, length, and explosiveness.

Johnson is one of the most productive RBs in college football at Washington, and Mississippi State, who is a well-rounded RB with running, receiving, and blocking skill. Injuries have taken a toll and he has a lot of wear and tear on his body. Smal served primarily as a backup for Jaylen Wright last season in Knoxville but displayed the inside running skill and instincts to carve out a practice slot spot. DMR has prototypical skills and solid production. He could earn the TE3 job this summer. Gadlin is massive and moves well for his size. He could be developed into an ORT / OG. Duke is athletic and quick. He can burn you with his first step. GJL, a transfer from Vanderbilt (via BYU), has great length and matches up well with size but can be overmatched against quickness.

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Tomorrow - SNS takes a look at the NFC SOUTH and analyzing draft performances of Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay!!






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