Houston Texans: Derek Stingley Jr., CB
The Houston Texans made a surprising decision and chose Cornerback Derek Stingley Jr ahead of Sauce Gardner. If the Texans want more impressive stats on the field, Gardner will fit in; but Stingley will no doubt help Houston in the defensive line.
Stingley has a colorful college football career. In 2019, he played for the Louisiana State University Tigers as a starter and went on to win the College National Football Championships and led the Southeastern Conference (SEC) with six interceptions and 21 passes defended. He was a first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press (AP).
Stingley Jr. was also a consensus All-American, earning first-team honors from the AP, American Football Coaches Association, The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and USA Today.
Unfortunately. He suffered a spate of injuries and illnesses in the following season. As a result, he managed to start in only three games.
Stingley’s four-year deal includes a fifth-year team option. He is worth $34.7 million in total with a $22.4 million signing bonus.
The former LSU Tiger’s stock value increased in the weeks leading up to the draft, and Houston hopes it has now landed its No. 1 outside cornerback for the future. If he remains healthy, he would be an effective cornerback for the Houston Texans.
Indianapolis Colts: Yannick Ngakoue, DE
Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue made his junior year in college but forwent his 4th year and decided to enter the 2016 NFL Draft pick. He is from the University of Maryland Terrapins where he recorded 13.5 sacks in his third year in college.
The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Ngakoue in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played one season each for the Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, and Las Vegas Raiders.
On March 19, 2021, Ngakoue signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders on March 19, 2021.
In Week 7, Ngakoue had four tackles, two sacks, and two passes defended in a 33–22 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, which earned him the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. He would then lead the Las Vegas Raiders in sacks in 2021 and had his first double-digit sack season since 2017.
It was obvious that Indaianapolis’ pass rush was detestable last season. Despite talented players in DeForest Buckner, Kwity Paye, and Grover Stewart, the front was inconsistent and would dissipate when their plays needed them most.
Indianapolis saw a dire need of a pass rusher and with the addition of Yannick Ngakoue’s talent, it is the most important move Ballard made this offseason.
Ngakoue is just 27 years old and had at least 8 sacks, which is the most any Colts got last year, in all his six NFL seasons so far.
Ngakoue also has experience with new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, having played with him in Las Vegas last season, his familiarity with the scheme will certainly help him adapt more easily to his new team.
Ngakoue’s talent will fit in with Indianapolis’ place. Not since Robert Mathis has the Colts had a pass rusher with Ngakoue’s ability, and he’s coming off an excellent season with 10 sacks for Las Vegas. He will be a game changer for the Colts’ defense and impact the pass rush.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Christian Kirk, WR
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Wide Receiver Christian Kirk to a four-year, $72 million deal with $37 million guaranteed. Head Coach Chris Jackson thought the move was one the Jaguars made without a second thought.
Bringing a high-caliber player that could play multiple positions, that’s a true pro and that is gonna work his butt off, was what the Jaguars needed.
Kirk had 252 touches for 3,044 yards and 17 touchdowns from scrimmage in four years playing with the Arizona Cardinals. The Jaguars have been all praises for Kirk since adding him after his four-year stint with Arizona.
Kirk caught 159 passes for 1,920 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first three seasons before moving to a predominantly slot role in 2021 after the Cardinals.
As a result, Kirk had a career year, catching 77 passes for 982 yards and five touchdowns, adding 44 first downs and a career-high 74.8% catch rate. Kirk established himself as one of the best slot receivers in the NFL in 2021.
Jacksonville overpaid Kirk’s services but management expressed that he is worth every penny of his contract. The Jaguars are sure that Kirk will deliver and grab the incentives with their expected performance of him. He will also be helpful for Trevor Lawrence’s development and immediately will be the team’s No. 1 receiver.
Tennessee Titans: Treylon Burks, WR
In the 2022 draft, wide receiver A.J. Brown went to the Philadelphia Eagles in a trade. Brown for the 18th overall pick in the 2022 draft, which the Titans used to grab wide receiver Treylon Burks from the University of Arkansas Razorbacks – a player widely compared to Brown.
The Titans also got a third-round pick in the draft. Meanwhile, Brown signed a new four-year, $100 million contract with the Eagles, after the trade with $57 million guaranteed. The new deal will keep him with the Eagles through 2026.
Tennessee had one of the best offenses in the red zone over the last three seasons. This year, they look to be more efficient in that part of the gridiron once again.
Rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks will have to be a large part of that augmentation within the 20-yard line. Burk’s size/speed combined makes him a lethal target in the end-zone for the Titans. He consistently shows the skill to separate from tight defenses as well as high-point the ball when given the chance to by his quarterback.
Ryan Tannehill will have a fresh target for his projectiles with the ability to zero in his wide receivers over the past few seasons Tennessee.
The addition of versatile players on AFC South Division Teams will create stiff competition in the field and bring more value to teams in their trade deals.