Today's topic: Our AFC South reporters predict who they think is the division's next big star.
Tania Ganguli, Houston Texans reporter: The whole division now features quarterbacks in whom teams have invested significantly -- three with draft picks and one (the Texans) with money. From that group of players, I'll select my rising star. Marcus Mariota needs to stay healthy, but he has shown signs that he can be a successful NFL quarterback. It's always easier to find stardom from the QB position, and Mariota is well-poised for it. He can be an exciting player and adapted well to being a pocket passer in his rookie season, despite the Titans' lack of talent at the skill positions. They helped his protection this offseason by drafting offensive tackle Jack Conklin eighth overall, and that should help keep Mariota upright.
Paul Kuharsky, Tennessee Titans reporter: Mariota is the easy answer, and though I have less obvious entries, it's hard to move away from him. The Titans have improved their receivers, their offensive line, their running backs and their defense. Mariota should benefit from all of those upgrades, and in his second year, he will have a better sense of how to protect the ball and minimize his fumbling. I think he will have a big second season after posting the third-best passer rating in franchise history as a rookie. If I were looking to move out of the primary lane, I'd go with one of two Houston defenders, cornerback Kevin Johnson or inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney.
Michael DiRocco, Jacksonville Jaguars reporter: Mariota was adjusting to life in a pro-style offense, managing a huddle and taking snaps under center as a rookie in 2015, but he managed to put up some impressive numbers: 62.2 completion percentage, 19 TD passes, 10 INTs and a passer rating of 91.5. He did that despite having one of the league's worst running games (92.8 yards per game, which ranked 25th) and only one legitimate receiver (TE Delanie Walker caught 94 passes; no one else caught more than 36). The Titans added backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, so that will help significantly, as will the development of young receivers Dorial Green-Beckham and Kendall Wright. Mariota should be much more comfortable in his second year in the offense, and I'm expecting him to make a leap similar to the one Blake Bortles made in his second season. In another year, we'll be seeing Mariota in the Pro Bowl.
Mike Wells, Indianapolis Colts reporter: One of the earlier offseason questions was if any of the quarterbacks in the division could surpass Andrew Luck. Mariota has the most potential to get to Luck's level. So much hype has surrounded the arrival of Brock Osweiler in Houston, but Mariota is the second-best quarterback in the AFC South. He's only going to get better after throwing for 2,818 yards and 19 touchdowns and rushing for 252 yards in just 12 games last season. If the Titans are going to improve, which I expect to happen, it will be because of Mariota.