According to CBS Sports’ Jared Dubin, the Indianapolis Colts are the class of the division—at least as it relates to individual standout talent on his 2022 preseason “All-AFC South Team”:
QB: Matt Ryan (IND)
RB: Jonathan Taylor (IND)
WR: Michael Pittman (IND), Brandin Cooks (HOU), Christian Kirk (JAX)
TE: Brevin Jordan (HOU)
FLEX: Derrick Henry (TEN)
OT: Laremy Tunsil (HOU), Braden Smith (IND)
G: Quenton Nelson (IND), Brandon Scherff (JAX)
C: Ryan Kelly (IND)
EDGE: Harold Landry (TEN), Kwity Paye (IND)
IDL: DeForest Buckner (IND), Jeffery Simmons (TEN)
LB: Shaquille Leonard (IND), Zach Cunningham (TEN)
CB: Kenny Moore II (IND), Stephon Gilmore (IND), Kristian Fulton (TEN)
SAF: Kevin Byard (TEN), Julian Blackmon (IND)
FLEX: Darious Williams (JAX)
K: Randy Bullock (TEN)
P: Logan Cooke (JAX)
RET: Jamal Agnew (JAX)
The Colts had a whopping 12 starting players named among 27 total divisional spots (good for 44.4%), meaning Indianapolis is the toast of the AFC South as far as star talent.
That being said, this is not a novel concept for the Colts, who had 7 NFL Pro Bowlers named to the AFC’s ‘All-Star roster’ last season—but still failed to make the playoffs.
On paper, the Colts are arguably the most talented team in the division with their plethora of elite caliber players and playmakers. However, one could make the argument that this was a similar case last season, when the Colts inexplicably collapsed to close out the 2021 campaign.
Football is still a team game—which takes a collective effort. There’s also a certain amount of mental toughness, discipline, and grit to consistently play winning football over the entire 17-game stretch of a season—and make the playoffs, let alone win the division.
(*Also some luck, as injuries to key players can decimate a lineup quickly).
While it appears to be a two-team race for the AFC South’s crown between the Colts and Tennessee Titans this season, the Colts will have to hope their superior talent helps finally drive the toppling of their divisional rivals for supremacy—and ultimate bragging rights.