AFC South Notes: Colts, Jaguars, Titans

     

Colts

The Colts entered the 2020 offseason with a need to get better play from the quarterback position. However, Colts GM Chris Ballard has consistently told team beat reporters he won’t draft a quarterback for the sake of drafting a quarterback. Indianapolis’ moves to sign QB Philip Rivers and trade away their first-round pick reinforce that the Colts aren’t locked in to drafting a quarterback this year. 

“You can’t force that. You can’t force the quarterback position, especially in the draft,” Ballard said via the Athletic’s Zak Keefer. “I think history’s shown that. It’s gotta be the right guy, the right fit, for us and for our staff and for our organization. I don’t know when that’s gonna happen. Maybe this year. Maybe next year. Maybe two years from now. I don’t know. And I’m not gonna force it. Much to everybody’s dismay, and it might drive everybody nuts, but I’m not gonna force it. When we decide to take one who’s gonna be the future of this franchise, we gotta be right.”

While the Colts may have traded away their best chance to get a franchise quarterback by dealing their first-round pick to the 49ers for DE DeForest Buckner, Ballard said he had zero regrets about the decision. A first-round pick and a $100 million-plus extension is a steep price to pay, but Ballard believes Buckner is more than worth it. 

“It was easy. It was very easy. Here’s a 26-year-old, he’s got everything we stand for, high character, he’s a producer. All you gotta do is turn on the Super Bowl game,” Ballard said. “Great guys produce in the big games. Just watch the Super Bowl game. I mean, that guy played his ass off. He was disruptive the entire game. He’s durable. He’s got the character. He plays a premium position in this defense. It was an easy decision. Easy decision.

“I know the 13th pick is a high price, but we haven’t made a lot of big moves like this, and a chance to acquire a player of this caliber, with his character, I thought was a no-brainer. As a matter of fact, I held my freaking breath, praying it was gonna get done … and look: Premium players cost a premium price. That’s the cost of having a great player. We’re gonna have a few of our own players on our own team that are gonna cost big money. That’s the price to having good players.”

Jaguars

  • NBC Sports’ Peter King mentions Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue and RB Leonard Fournette are candidates to be traded during the draft. 
  • King adds the Jaguars could be candidates to trade for Dolphins QB Josh Rosen to back up starting QB Gardner Minshew, as new OC Jay Gruden was interested in acquiring Rosen last year with the Redskins. 
  • NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo says the Jaguars have been discussing a trade with Fournette since free agency. Garafolo mentions former Jaguars EVP Tom Coughlin was the driving force behind drafting Fournette, while the team has been disappointed with Fournette’s attitude, punctuality and work ethic. 
  • Garafolo adds Fournette has had to be woken up in team meetings and has been moody despite no shortage of opportunities to get the ball. Given Jacksonville’s offense hasn’t struggled when he’s missed games, Garafolo says it makes sense he’s become expendable. 
  • As for Ngakoue, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says trade talks for franchise-tagged players like Ngakoue are complicated because of the significant compensation required in the form of high draft picks and a new contract. 
  • Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio says a league source pointed out Jaguars executive Tony Khan essentially confirmed Ngakoue was available in his Twitter fight with the player Monday, which is a contrast from an impression several teams got from the Jaguars that they weren’t inclined to trade Ngakoue. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer says the Jaguars have been pegged by other teams as “the Trevor Lawrence team — referencing the Clemson quarterback who’s the early favorite for the No. 1 pick in 2021 — because they’re looking at trades that also include 2021 picks. 

Titans

  • Per Erik Bacharach of the Nashville Tennesseean, Titans GM Jon Robinson didn’t rule out still potentially signing DE Jadeveon Clowney, though he said how the coming draft unfolds could dictate that: “We haven’t closed the door on anything but I’d also say we haven’t inched closer to any finality either. … Who we pick could potentially impact that.”
  • Robinson suggested the Titans would be open to trading back out of the first round and getting more picks. (Paul Kuharsky)
  • The Titans are looking for a three-down back to complement RB Derrick Henry, not necessarily finding another player with his unique skillset. (Terry McCormick)
  • Robinson mentioned the Titans have considered moving CB Adoree’ Jackson inside to replace Logan Ryan as a slot corner. (Turron Davenport
  • Alabama DE Terrell Lewis says he’s met with Titans GM Jon Robinson and HC Mike Vrabel. (Turron Davenport)
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