2024 NFL Draft: Count on these 4 rookies to generate buzz in the AFC South

These 4 AFC South rookies will bring some buzz!
LSU's Brian Thomas Jr.
LSU's Brian Thomas Jr. / Michael Chang/GettyImages

The AFC South will be one of the more competitive divisions in the NFL in 2024.  With the Houston Texans further solidifying themselves as the cream of the crop, the other teams in the division are looking to challenge the AFC South champs for the crown.

For the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, it will be about mimicking what the Texans did in the 2023 NFL Draft.  Not only did they find their quarterback in C.J. Stroud, Will Anderson Jr, who was also selected in that draft made helped the defense rise in going from last to first in the division,

While each team had different needs heading into the draft, the question will be whether each team find the right fits to turn those weaknesses into a strength.  Did they find players who will generate buzz and help their team challenge for the division?  Did the Texans have another draft that will separate them further from the rest of the teams in the division?

NFL Mocks looks at 2024 NFL Draft selections who will more than fill a role for the team that drafted them.

Houston Texans – TE Cade Stover (Round 4– Pick 123)

The Texans didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, but they did make several value picks that will help their team on both sides of the ball.

One of those picks reunites AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud with a former teammate in tight end Cade Stover.  As one of the top tight end prospects in the draft, the 6-foot-4, 247-pound tight end is coming off a final season at OSU in which he caught 41 passes for 576 yards with 5 touchdowns.  That pass catching ability as well as his familiarity with Stroud will make him a solid No. 2 tight end option behind Dalton Schultz.

It also won’t hurt that the Texans are loaded on offense with the addition of All-Pro receiver Stefon Diggs and running back Joe Mixon.  With Nico Collins, Tank Dell and Schultz, defenses will have to pick their poison which could open plays for the athleticism of Stover.  As of now he is No. 4 on the tight end depth chart, but that will change by the start of the 2024 NFL season.

Indianapolis Colts – WR Adonai Mitchell (Round 2– Pick 52)

While Xavier Worthy got all the flash leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft, his Texas teammate Adonai Mitchell garnered his own buzz during the draft by slipping down to the Indianapolis Colts, who selected him with the No. 52 overall pick in the draft.

2024 NFL Draft: Adonai Mitchell looking to add major buzz to the AFC South.
Adonai Mitchell / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages

Did the Colts find another playmaker to add to the mix of Michael Pittman Jr., Josh Downs and Alec Pierce? 

Following a breakout season in 2023 with Texas, Mitchell was a borderline Day 1 pick entering the draft due to his speed (4.34-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine) and his production, averaging 15.4 yards per receptions during his final season with the Longhorns. 

Mitchell won’t have much pressure on him during his rookie season, but he’ll have a chip on his shoulder and flourish as the team’s No. 3 wide receiver option.  As the season moves forward, Anthony Richardson and the Colts will find ways to utilize Mitchell and get him involved in the offense to the point where he may even bypass Downs as the No. 2 option.  In all, the Colts will at the very least have a nice trio of receivers for their second year QB to excel with.

Jacksonville Jaguars – WR Brian Thomas Jr (Round 1– Pick 23)

LSU’s other star wide receiver will create buzz in the AFC South catching the ball from Trevor Lawrence.

Selected with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, Brian Thomas Jr. is in a perfect situation to shine as a deep threat option in the NFL.  With a nice combination of size and speed, Thomas Jr. gives Lawrence a nice big target who will go up and get the ball. 

With the loss of Calvin Ridley in free agency, the Jags were looking for playmakers and they got them with the addition of Gabe Davis in free agency and the selection of Thomas Jr. in the draft.  Both additions project as the team’s starting receivers to start the 2024 NFL season.  While Malik Nabers may get all the buzz as the next impact receiver out of LSU, Thomas Jr. will generate his own buzz in the league as a rookie.

Tennessee Titans – DT D’Vondre Sweat (Round 2– Pick 38)

The Titans did what they needed to do in the draft by taking care of needs along the offensive line, defensive line and at linebacker.  While they took care of their biggest need with the selection of J.C. Latham with the No. 7 pick, the player who will create the most buzz is second round pick T’Vondre Sweat.

Standing at 6-foot-5, 366 pounds, Sweat is a force in the middle who did slide a bit in the draft due to some off field issues.  He should challenge for the starting role for the Titans and clog up the middle against the run.  In all, Sweat will play like the first rounder he was projected to be prior to the jail time he served prior to the draft.