Since we are about to see all teams begin their training camps en route to the 2014 NFL season, the AFC South seems to be for the Indianapolis Colts to lose.
The Colts are the class of the division with a Top 5 NFL quarterback in Andrew Luck leading them. No other team in the AFC South can say that.
With that said, here are 5 AFC South training camp predictions that could shape the foundation of the entire division.
1. Trent Richardson will make the Colts look smart for trading a first-round pick for him last season.
The 2013 season of Richardson is a push in my opinion, because he is a better running back than what he showed last season with not only the Colts, but with the Cleveland Browns.
Last season with both teams, Richardson rushed for just 563 yards on 188 carries. He scored three touchdowns and played in all 16 games.
I’m not giving up on a player who was drafted third overall in 2012 just yet, but he could be one of the surprise players in the NFL this season … IF he plays up to his potential.
2. Arian Foster will play and make it through the preseason
Foster’s health, though medically cleared, still does and will worry me until I see him take some hits this preseason. Last year, Foster didn’t take a single snap in a preseason game, and for the Texans, they’ll need him on the offense for them to have any success in ’14.
If Foster can hold up, he is still more than capable of being one of the best backs in the NFL, but with a surgically repaired back – and remember, he had hamstring issues as well in ’13 – the health of Foster is a “must-watch” key for the Texans.
I’m going to be on the more optimistic side of thinking and say he’ll make it through the preseason with a clean bill of health.
3. Blake Bortles will be the starter at the end of camp for the Jaguars
I just don’t see the Jacksonville Jaguars keeping their No. 3 overall selection on the bench for Chad Henne by the time the preseason ends.
Bortles gives the Jaguars something they haven’t had in many years … hope.
During the draft, many folks said Bortles was NFL-ready and compared him to Ben Roethlisberger, the QB of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If there is one other rookie in the AFC South I believe in just as much as I do Texans No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, it is Bortles.
4. The Texans won’t finish last in the division
I can’t see the Texans finishing last in the AFC South this season. The Texans may not even finish in third place in the division … but that could happen, and they could still have a losing record of 7-9 or 6-10.
5. Jake Locker will play up to potential
Last season, Locker passed for 1,256 yards in just seven games, completing 111 passes. This will be the year he not only stays healthy, but plays up to his first-round potential, because if he doesn’t, he’ll be looking for a new QB job in the NFL.
Locker has 3,974 yards in 23 career games, averaging 12.3 yards per completion. The problem with Locker is he doesn’t stay on the field.
This will be the season he finally reaches that potential … I think.