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2022 Preseason All-AFC South team: Matt Ryan-led Colts dominate offense, sharing defensive spotlight with Titans

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Over the next two weeks, as part of our annual tradition this time of year, we’ll be announcing teams for all preseason divisions. As usual, the roster was primarily compiled by his one-man panel, but after I had my first run on the roster myself, CBSSports.com’s writing and editorial staff provided critical input. was given.

we are on tuesday AFC East following Wednesday, AFC NorthThe conference concludes with AFC South today and AFC West tomorrow. Next week is NFC. Leaving aside the difficult topics…

Attack skill position

QB: Matt Ryan (IND)

RB: Jonathan Taylor (IND)

WR: Michael Pittman (IND), Brandin Cooks (HOU), Christian Kirk (JAX)

TE: Blevin Jordan (HOU)

FLEX: Derrick Henry (TEN)

Everyone, please be prepared. This division is rough. Matt Ryan, last seen struggling quite a bit for the 2021 Falcons, is clearly the best quarterback in the division at the moment. Without AJ Brown by his side, Ryan is likely to be the most productive passer in the 2022 season as well, without somehow rediscovering his elite efficiency. We know he will be put in a position to succeed by Frank Reich.

Before the injury, Henry was on track for another absolute monster season. In his eight games he tallied 219 times for 937 yards and scored 10 points. This puts him on pace for 465 carries in 17 games in his season. However, his 4.3 yards per carry average was his worst since his second NFL season. He is now 28 years old and with his back running 247 pounds, he has recovered from his broken leg and in the last 2.5 years he has scored 955 touches. It’s unlikely he’ll continue to be as ridiculously productive in 2022 as he was in 2019-2021…but he’s still making this team. Not a running back, just a flex guy, Taylor nods for the benefit of

Pittman took a step forward in his second year despite his quarterback play being downgraded, and with Ryan replacing Carson Wentz, should continue to progress as a No. 1 perimeter option. Cooks remains one of the league’s most consistent producers, topping 1,000 yards each year, despite continuing injury problems. With Davis Mills under center all season, he has a good shot at getting there again. Excellent, and should help promote Lawrence in his second year.The division’s crop of tight ends is pretty weak, and stands out for Jordan as a secondary target in Houston’s offense. When he actually hit the field last year, he was pretty effective in the middle and upseam.

offensive line

OT: Laremy Tunsil (HOU), Braden Smith (IND)

G: Quenton Nelson (IND), Brandon Sherf (JAX)

C: Ryan Kelly (IND)

This is the area where AFC South is strongest. Tonsil’s monster contract exaggerates to some extent that he’s actually one of the best tackles in the league, but he’s a very good tackle, and why expect a decline in his 28-year-old season? There is none. one year ago. Smith has been overshadowed by his future Hall of Fame teammate Nelson, who was drafted on the same team in the same year, but he has emerged as a very good right tackle. Nelson is absolutely straightforward here. obvious. Scherff’s contract is a bit pricey for a player with a medical history, but when he’s on the field, he’s one of the best guards in the NFL. Kelly has his own health issues, but he’s also a really good center. Because he’s been mostly healthy for the last few years and has relative youth on his side.

defensive front

EDGE: Harold Landry (TEN), Quitty Pei (IND)

IDL: DeForest Buckner (IND), Jeffery Simmons (TEN)

LB: Shaquille Leonard (IND), Zach Cunningham (TEN)

We’re betting Landry, who hit his prime at age 26, will continue the “biennial” trend and have a productive year under defensive coordinator Shane Bowen following a 12-sack season last year. Pei, on the other hand, should benefit from Gus Bradley’s coaching. He has shown his ability to make the most of athletic edge rushers, including Pei’s new teammate Yannick Ngakue, who continues to follow Bradley from team to team.

Without Aaron Donald, Buckner would have been a better known player. He doesn’t get enough attention because he’s so good inside defensively, playing alongside a handful of the best defensive players in NFL history. Simmons began to show his potential in the regular season last season and exploded in Tennessee’s playoff loss against the Bengals, who will be a monster even though he will be 25 this season.

Leonard had it easy here too. He was a star from the moment he stepped onto the field, earning four consecutive Pro Bowl and All-Pro Team selections (1st-3rd, 2nd-1st). We’re not betting that trend will continue in 2022 – even with a different defensive system. Did. He helped strengthen the second level of Tennessee’s underrated defense. We expect him to be a consistent force this year during the full season.

defensive backfield

CB: Kenny Moore II (IND), Stephon Gilmore (IND), Christian Fulton (TEN)

SAF: Kevin Byard (TEN), Julian Blackmon (IND)

FLEX: Darius Williams (JAX)

Moore is one of the NFL’s most underrated players and has been one of the league’s most consistently good slot corners over the past few seasons. Here he meets his due date. Gilmour hasn’t rediscovered his Player of the Year height defensively, but that doesn’t mean he’s still not a really good player. While he’s not exactly a perfect fit in Bradley’s defense, there’s just too much talent to bet here, and Fulton has taken a step forward in his sophomore year. If he is healthy, he should continue to move forward as a solid player. Coming from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Williams should be a strong second corner. Due to his small stature, he’s been featured occasionally, but he’s been doing pretty good coverage the last few seasons.

Byard are stars and one of the best backend ballhawks in the league. He was easily picked as one of the safe spots. Blackmon struggled with injuries in his sophomore year after a very promising rookie year. If he’s healthy, he’ll prove to be one of the better young safeties in the league due to his ability to clean things up from the top.

specialist

K: Randy Block (TEN)

P: Logan Cook (JAX)

RET: Jamal Agnew (JAX)

I won’t lie… I asked our resident kicking expert (John Bleach), who he considers to be the best kicker and punter in each division, and named them each. Copy/paste for all division teams.Agnew fell back slightly last season, but his track record over the five years is strong, and we’re betting on some recovery.

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