Draft Review: NFC South

Draft weekend is over. It’s sad times in the lair. I guess it’s back to binging super hero movies until fantasy season picks up for us keyboard warriors. But before we go open Disney+, here’s some grades. Remember, I did an analysis of each pick of the first round already, and be sure to check out the earlier editions of the review series.

Atlanta Falcons – C

Drafting Kyle Pitts is fine since he’s a unicorn, but with the 4th pick the Falcons chose the worst option. They did not draft a quarterback nor did they trade down. I’m not sure what offers they received and I was the first to point out their trade market would be cold. But for a team with so many holes there was literally nothing worth taking?

Atlanta swung a good trade with Denver at the top of the second. The Broncos sent #40 and #114 for #35 and #219. Dropping back 5 spots in the second round to jump up 115 spots later is good business. With the 40th pick the Falcons took Richie Grant a safety who should have an opportunity to contribute immediately. Atlanta then nabbed Jalen Mayfield in the third who I don’t much like, at least not at tackle. However, the industry as a whole seemed to view him as a top 50 player yet the Falcons got him at 68, and offensive line reinforcements is always wise.

On Day 3 the Falcons massively reached on Darren Hall to address corner before taking Drew Dalman who seems like a good scheme fit at center. Atlanta then spent the rest of the draft filling out the back of their roster with four more Day 3 picks. I really don’t understand why the Falcons didn’t draft a more talented corner, especially with Asante Samuel Jr. just sitting there at #40.

Carolina Panthers – B+

In his first draft with the Panthers, new GM Scott Fitterer brought the Seattle trade-down mentality to the east coast. Carolina traded five times on draft day, setting a new franchise record. Of course, The Panthers began the draft with Jaycee Horn which means they neither drafted Justin Fields nor traded down.

Carolina was busy the rest of the weekend. Initially slated to pick 39th, the Panthers first traded back with the Bears, receiving #52, #83, and #204 for #39 and #151. They then traded down from #52, picking up #59 and #89 for #52 and #113. That is fantastic work.

Once the Panthers actually selected someone in the second round they took one of my favorite receivers in Terrace Marshall Jr. I think Marshall has real number one receiver upside and have to imagine he only fell to the late second on account of his medicals. If he’s healthy Carolina got a steal.

The Panthers made a small trade up the board from #73 to #70, surrendering #191 in order to do so. The team took Brady Christensen who I like adding to an offensive line at this juncture of the draft. With their second third rounder Carolina took Tommy Tremble an H-back who lined up everywhere at Notre Dame. His production is limited due to a lack of utilization but he has all the athletic traits you’re looking for in a tight end.

Before the third round ended the Carolina absolutely fleeced the Texans in a trade I still cannot believe happened even after already writing this exact sentence in the AFC South write up.

The Panthers made 7 selections on Day 3. I actually think the Chuba Hubbard hate has swung too far and with Mike Davis gone the team needs someone behind CMC. Depending on where you look Daviyon Nixon was a top 3 defensive tackle in this class so to get him in the 5th is fantastic. Carolina also made a pair of great 6th round picks with Deonte Brown and Shi Smith. Brown is a monstrous guard and seeing what you can get out of him this late in the draft is wise. Smith is another slot receiver with burst in this draft and I really like adding him to the receiver room this late.

The Panthers did a tremendous job of maximizing value over the weekend and in total made 11 picks. They got some great value on guys but they passed when Fields fell into their lap and didn’t trade the pick either.

New Orleans Saints – D

I don’t understand anything the Saints did. I like Payton Turner but not as the third edge off the board nor at #28. It’s called trading down, the Saints should try it sometime.

Pete Werner is a fine linebacker but is this really where you need to go in the second round? New Orleans needs to kick start a new era and has one good receiver, an expensive offensive line, and no corner across from Marshon Lattimore, who was arrested in March on a fourth-degree felony.

Of course, even when the Saints draft a corner I like they get the process wrong. New Orleans wildly overpaid in order to get up and draft Paulson Adebo in the third.

New Orleans then lit their fourth rounder on fire by taking Ian Book who shouldn’t have even been drafted. I just don’t feel like talking about the Saints anymore other than to mention they packaged #218 and #229 to move up to #206 because they absolutely needed Landon Young (who they picked over Stone Forsythe!).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – B

Tampa Bay started their draft with a solid selection in Joe Tryon. He was worthy of the 32nd pick and investing in pass rushers is always a good idea. I had the Bucs taking Kyle Trask in my final mock, but in the third round. Still, this is perfectly fine. Two of the next three picks after Trask were Kellen Mond and Davis Mills so if Tampa really wanted Trask it would appear they needed to secure him where they did and he wouldn’t have lasted til #95.

At pick 95 the Buccaneers selected Robert Hainsey. Notre Dame has been an offensive line factory as of late and bringing in depth in the trenches is again always a good idea. After a trade down with Seattle where Tampa got #137 and #217 for #129 the Bucs still landed Jaelon Darden, a lightening fast slot receiver who of course ends up with Tom Brady.

Tampa basically hit this draft right down the middle of the fairway. Nothing spectacular but it is absolutely workable and sets them up for future success.

filed under: NFL

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