A look at the needs of AFC South teams

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
1:25
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- Forget the need to improve the offensive line for the moment for the Indianapolis Colts. The bigger need is on the defense, or “every non-Robert Mathis defender,” as Rivers McCown of Football Outsiders put it.

McCown did an NFL Insider piece on the biggest needs for the AFC SouthInsider teams.

McCown noted -- like many have so far -- the importance of re-signing cornerback Vontae Davis and safety Antoine Bethea. Colts general manager Ryan Grigson mentioned the need to have a shutdown corner and wanting to re-sign Bethea during his season-ending news conference last month.

Davis isn’t on the same level as Seattle’s Richard Sherman, but he has the talent to be one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. Davis flashed that potential at times last season. The key for him is to do it on a regular basis. He went through a stretch last season (St. Louis’ Tavon Austin) where he didn’t play well and you were left wondering if the Colts should offer Davis a lucrative contract.

The Colts will have about $33 million in salary-cap space to work with. That number, according to McCown, would increase if the Colts cut cornerback Greg Toler and center Samson Satele.

Toler missed seven games last season with a groin injury and Satele simply did not have a good season. Mike McGlynn, who will be a free agent, was a better center than Satele.

The line that some fans would agree on about safety LaRon Landry that McCown wrote is that he plays safety like an “11-year-old plays defense on Madden: going for big hits the entire time.”

The Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl with one of the best defenses in league history. The Colts' defense was embarrassed in the playoffs by the Jamaal Charles-less Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots.

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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