The AFC South was one of the weaker divisions during the 2021 season, with the worst combined record. Aside from the Titans who weren’t considered title contenders, the other teams found very little success.
Although they had trouble finding wins last season, their teams have incredible potential with young talent and underrated players. This division, out of the whole league, is the biggest victim of the underrated bug.
Tennessee Titans – Denico Autry, DL
The veteran defensive lineman out of Mississippi State had a decent track record throughout his 8 year NFL career, but he remains consistent every year. He managed to tie his single-season sack record, even at the ripe age of 32.
He plays interior and holds the edge, with the size and athleticism for both. He demands attention, and even while keeping the focus of the offensive line, he managed to get 9 sacks and lead the Titans in QB hurries.
Indianapolis Colts – Bobby Okereke, LB
Darius Leonard takes most of the attention on defense, but his linebacker counterpart Okereke is an incredible talent on his own. Leading the team in tackles and grabbing 2 interceptions, he fits in the defense quite nicely.
The Colts may have the most underrated linebacker corp as a whole. Okereke was 6th on the team in TFLs, 4th in sacks and interceptions, and led the team in solo tackles.
Bobby is 26 years old and can play both in coverage and in his gaps. He’s a dynamic linebacker that isn’t afraid of contact, which he proved in his rookie season playing the SAM. He’s on the road to stardom, but sits in the shadow of one of the best linebackers in the league.
Houston Texans – Brandin Cooks, WR
Yes, I know. Brandin Cooks is a well-known player and has a lot of respect. However, regardless of whatever respect he has earned, he deserves much more.
In 6 out of his 8 professional seasons, he produced over 1,000 yards. There are only 8 players to have 6 or more seasons with 1k receiving yards since 2010, and Cooks is one of them.
What’s more impressive is that he wasn’t even in the NFL until 2014, meaning he still managed that many productive seasons with 4 years less experience. Cooks has the least years of pro experience out of anybody on that list, alongside Mike Evans.
Brandin Cooks should be a perennial pro bowler and even in all-pro conversations. He’s versatile, quick, and finds the endzone consistently. He is possibly one of the most underrated players in the NFL and is an absolute game-changer.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Christian Kirk, WR
Some believe that Kirk was overpaid this offseason with 4 years $72 million with $37 million guaranteed. However, that amount of money seems fair due to his constant upgrades in production.
His first full year of play was in 2021 where he recorded 982 yards and 5 touchdowns. In all years prior, he managed to miss some games for a variety of reasons.
Kirk, despite his 4 years pro, is only 25 years old. He was a No. 2 or 3 receiver behind Hopkins (when healthy) and A.J. Green. With such a violently talented receiving corp, he may earn himself many more targets and room for receptions for the Jaguars.