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article imageTennessee Titans huge trade highlights big AFC South off-season

By Scott Huntington     Apr 15, 2016 in Sports
One of the weakest divisions in the NFL season has just gotten a lot more interesting thanks to some exciting deals going on in the AFC South. The biggest stunner of all is the blockbuster Titans/Rams draft trade.
The Tennessee Titans traded away the first overall pick to the Los Angeles Rams for a stash of early picks in this year’s and next year’s drafts.
“We were high-fiving,'' said Titans coach Mike Mularkey. "We were fist-bumping, no doubt. The coaches, I can tell you they were really jacked up.”
In the deal, the Titans traded away the first overall pick, a fourth-rounder and a sixth-rounder in 2016 for the following:
• The Rams’ first round pick (15)
• Two second-round picks (43, 45)
• A third-round pick (76th)
• The Rams’ first round pick for the 2017 draft
• A third-round pick in 2017
The trade gives the Titans the opportunity to fill in some of their many holes and build around second-year QB Marcus Mariota.
The young QB was the second overall pick in the 2015 and was a bright spot for the Titans in an overall dismal year. Mariota showed poise and promise as a rookie. However, the Titans went for 3-13 and tied the Cleveland Browns for the worst record in the NFL.
Several teams were interested in the Titans’ first overall pick, but apparently it was the Rams that offered the sweetest deal.
“There was interest in the pick, and in the end we thought this was the option that made the most sense for us,” said Jon Robinson, general manager of the Titans. “We think we can really bolster this roster with the picks that we now have.”
If the Titans can hit on some of its draft picks then the team could start competing again in the weak AFC South. They last made the playoffs in 2008.
The Texans Find Their Quarterback
The Titans weren't the only team to make big moves. The Houston Texans had a revolving door of quarterbacks last year with Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallet, TJ Yates and Brandon Weeden all starting games. The defense was good enough to drag the rest of the team to the playoffs, but it was one and done for the Texans after a dismal offensive performance.
The quarterback position was something of a question mark before that season even started, and it ended up biting the team in the end. That’s not the case this season, as the Texans shelled out big money to sign Brock Osweiler to a four-year $72 million contract (with $37 million guaranteed). Osweiler looked sharp when filling in for Peyton Manning last season, but he’s only started seven games in his four-year career with the Denver Broncos.
This past season showed that the Texans can’t neglect the quarterback position for another season. This contract with Osweiler shows that they’re willing to spend anything in the hopes of improving the position.
Jaguars Plan to Start Winning
The Jacksonville Jaguars had one of the worst records in the league last year, and now just want to start winning. The team has been in rebuilding mode for several years now and progress has been incremental but slow. This year is something of a make or break year for fourth-year coach Gus Bradley.
The Jaguars have one of the youngest teams in the league and hope some proven veterans can help improve the team on both sides of the ball.
The team has spent more than $170 million to bring in free agents this offseason. Part of these efforts include newer, more modern facilitates, including a brand new Hydrotherapy facility with new training technology. These moves may help, but it will still be a tough road ahead. Beginning the season against the Packers, Chargers, Ravens, and Colts could easily give them a starting 1-3 record or worse.
Colts Focus on Health, Luck
The Indianapolis Colts missed the playoffs for the first time in four years with an 8-8 record. Considering the injuries they had at quarterback, that .500 record doesn’t show that the team is truly on a decline. With Andrew Luck injured, 40-year-old veteran Matt Hasselbeck starting almost half the season.
Without Luck, the Colts were below average. The injury turned 2015 into a lost year, but the team has all the pieces to contend. The Colts have had the least exciting off-season, but getting Luck healthy may have the best results.
Whether any of the AFC South’s moves will pay off for 2016 remains to be seen.
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