The Tennessee Titans are the defending AFC South champions and enter the 2021 season as the team to beat in the division once again. While the Titans certainly lean on two-time NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill has settled in nicely at quarterback. Tannehill also is the only for-certain returning starter at the position in the AFC South with Indianapolis acquiring Carson Wentz in an offseason trade and Jacksonville turning the offensive reigns over to No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence. Deshaun Watson is still in Houston, but his status is uncertain at best and the same can be said for the Texans' franchise as a whole with a new general manager, new head coach, and a roster that's been completely overhauled.
In order to get an accurate assessment of the AFC East heading into 2021, Athlon asked NFL scouts to talk anonymously about the Texans, Colts, Jaguars, Titans.
Note: These scouting reports come directly from NFL scouts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Athlon's editorial staff.
"If things somehow worked out and Deshaun Watson stayed, they have a lot of pieces in place and they could make it work."
"I think Tyrod Taylor is underrated. He doesn’t get enough credit. He can help them rebuild."
"Brandin Cooks creates separation routinely and has good hands."
"I think they got one of the steals in the draft in Nico Collins. He’s as good as the first-round receivers. He’s big, strong with the natural speed."
"Their tight end position is getting better. That kid, Brevin Jordan, is good. He’s short, but, man, he can run."
"Laremy Tunsil is a high-end left tackle."
"I like Tytus Howard a lot. He’s a tough kid, heavy-handed, imposes his will."
Related: Houston Texans Depth Chart
"I think Ross Blacklock will fit in better in Lovie Smith’s 4-3."
"I liked Maliek Collins in Dallas. The Raiders didn’t like him. They said he was terrible for them."
"We know who Zach Cunningham is, one of the best LBs."
"Charles Omenihu has a lot of upside."
"[New general manager] Nick Caserio is a really smart guy. He’s super organized and very straightforward."
"Chris Ballard is one of the top general managers in the league."
"Carson Wentz might not be a superstar, but he should be a good starter, and he’s coming into a good situation."
"T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman Jr., Zach Pascal, that’s a lot of good solid football players at wide receiver who are going to do their job and make some plays for Wentz in the passing game."
"I love their offensive line, and the signing of Eric Fisher completes the picture, although I didn’t share the concerns about Sam Tevi at left tackle that many have."
"They have a good pair of tight ends in Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox."
"I think Jacob Eason is an intriguing developmental backup quarterback."
Related: Indianapolis Colts Depth Chart
"They’re loaded at running back."
"Quenton Nelson, he’s one of the best guards in the past 10 to 15 years. I knew he would be good. I didn’t know he would be this good."
"This is a really good defense. They drafted Kwity Paye. He’s a tremendous athlete."
"DeForest Buckner is dominant, and he’s not just a true pass rusher. He makes it difficult to do anything up the middle."
"Between Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke, those two are chasing everything down sideline-to-sideline."
"Their secondary is rock-solid. At cornerback, Rock Ya-Sin has outstanding playing strength and is an excellent tackler."
"Trevor Lawrence, I like him. He’s a good quarterback. He’s very similar to Justin Herbert. He’s at that level. Calling him a generational talent, I say take a deep breath. He’s really good. I like him a lot. Let’s see how he does."
"I like DJ Chark Jr. He doesn’t get the publicity, but he’s really good."
"Laviska Shenault Jr. should be one of the better young receivers this year."
"Cam Robinson is a below-average left tackle. I don’t agree with them making him their franchise player. "
"Andrew Norwell has been a good player."
"Brandon Linder is a very solid center. A.J. Cann is up-and-down."
"I’m concerned that Lawrence will have to play behind an average line. That could be bad for his development and his health."
"Who is Lawrence throwing to at tight end?"
"They’re loaded at running back with Travis Etienne, Carlos Hyde and James Robinson. They have some real talent there."
Related: Jacksonville Jaguars Depth Chart
"I like Josh Allen. He’s made a lot of strides. I’m surprised K’Lavon Chaisson hasn’t made a bigger impact."
"Taven Bryan is just OK."
"Jihad Ward is a try-hard guy, strong and a good athlete."
"The secondary, I’m not sold on it."
"It’s a rebuild. That’s why they had the first pick in the draft. It’s because they’re not very good right now."
"What they’re doing is working. One of the misnomers out there that you hear is that you have to pass to win. It’s a smaller margin for error to win by running the ball, but you can do it. It’s just harder. They’re efficient. They win by physically dominating teams. Ryan Tannehill, no one knows how good he’ll be if they have to throw it 40 times a game."
"A.J. Brown is really good."
"Derrick Henry is elite. Human beings that big shouldn’t be able to move that fast and break the tackles he breaks. He runs upright, but he can take punishment."
"I like their offensive line. Taylor Lewan gets some penalties and has some weaknesses, but he plays the game like every snap is the end of the world."
"Rodger Saffold III and Ben Jones are good players. Kendall Lamm will be challenged for the starting job."
Related: Tennessee Titans Depth Chart
"Denico Autry is super underrated."
"Jeffery Simmons is a war daddy. He should be in the running to be Defensive Player of the Year. His explosion and power are amazing."
"Harold Landry III simply does his job and gets pressure. He’s a really good football player."
"Rashaan Evans is a good inside linebacker."
"Bud Dupree can run. In terms of pure burst and speed, he can threaten the pocket."
"Caleb Farley, if he’s healthy, that’s a great draft pick. I have no idea if he’s healthy."
"They have plenty of good defensive backs, especially Kevin Byard."