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The NFC South was one of the worst divisions in football for the last few seasons. Carolina is the only really good team, although any of the others could make a push, despite their flaws. What hampers the division is the dearth of draft picks available, 24 between the 4 teams. Only the Buccaneers have their original allotment of 7 selections meaning that the NFC South is going to be hard pressed to have a huge impact on the early rounds.


 Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons faired well in Dan Quinn’s first season at the helm. WIth star power on offense and a good defensive scheme the Falcons have the ability to push for a playoff spot with only a few additions. In the division, only Carolina, can be considered a stronger team, but the Falcons are most likely competing against teams like the Vikings, Cowboys, Seahawks, and Redskins for wild card spots - for this season anyway.  

Team Needs: DE, LB, OG

It’s not hard to imagine that Dan Quinn plans to use this draft to shore up the talent on his defense, bringing in the type of players that best suit his system. An edge rusher to play opposite Vic Beasley is probably at the top of their list, and at 17, there should be several very good ones from which to choose. Should Reggie Ragland be available when the team picks in round 1, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they would select him as a defensive captain/leader is a must for the team and Ragland will be the last one on the board. In the second round the team will have some options at safety - their second most pressing need - and can then use their remaining few picks to add some depth along the offensive line or some developmental players at other positions.

Draft Picks, 5: 17, 50, 81, 115, 238

Carolina Panthers

Carolina shocked the world when they rescinded the franchise tag off Josh Norman last week leaving them without the services of their best defensive player moving forward. There doesn’t appear to be any real challengers to Carolina within the division - this team is still very good - so the draft focus should remain the same. Teams that make the Superbowl lose players all of the time, so Carolina is experiencing nothing new, but it is something that is new to them. How they handle it this year will be a good indication of how well they will be able to manage the franchise over time.

Team Needs: CB, OT, DE,

Cornerback was still a need before Josh Norman was released. Now it becomes, perhaps, the primary need. The premium cornerbacks are likely to be off the board when the Panthers select in the first round, but if not they would have to consider whichever of the top 4 corners fell to them. William Jackson and Kendall Fuller are both players that could be considered at 30, though it is a bit early for either of them. If Connor Cook is still on the board the pick should get lots of action from any teams looking to move up in front of Denver for a chance to take him. (Assuming, of course, that you buy the idea that Connor Cook is worthy of a first round selection.) Fortunately for the Panthers good options at both offensive tackle and defensive end should be available throughout the drafts second day, leaving Carolina with 3 picks on the final day to find developmental players.  

Draft Picks, 6: 30, 62, 93, 129, 168, 252

New Orleans Saints

The Saints are in a tough spot with the salary cap. WIth only 6 selections and no money for veterans the team almost has to trade down and add additional picks in order to fill out its roster. I’m not certain that they will move down in round 1, however, as the 12 pick could bring them a shot at any defensive tackle, or perhaps the first pure cornerback. Still, the Saints are stuck until they get Drew Brees’s contract under control. Brees is worth a few victories alone, but it’s hard to see this team winning more than 6-7 games without a massive infusion of talent. Talent that the team cannot afford currently.

Team Needs: DL, OLB, CB, WR

As we mentioned earlier the team should be able to take either the best non-Jalen-Ramsey cornerback or the top defensive tackle available at 12. Should Myles Jack fall to 12 he would have to be considered as well, but the Saints need players for 2016 first and foremost. The pick at 47 could bring in a really solid player for the team, or it could bring in 4-5 later draft picks if a trade down is handled correctly and in stages. The Saints could still get a starter at either defensive line or cornerback at 47 and if they do they’ll likely take him, but if they are not in love with the players available their best bet is to trade down for a later second and a day 3 pick, then trade down again, and again. The Saints are going to have at least a dozen rookies make their team. THey might as well be draftable talent.

Draft Picks, 6: 12, 47, 78, 112, 152, 237

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It’s difficult to predict exactly how this season will play out for the Buccaneers. Dirk Koetter is the new head coach, based solely on his work with Jamiese WInston, apparently. He certainly doesn’t have the proven track record of success at his other stops. But, Koetter is the coach and as such will likely be involved in adding the type of players that he believes give himself and the coaching staff the ability to win the most games. Tampa has the feel of a surprise team this year but they might be just a little too far away to push for a playoff spot.

Team Needs: CB, OL, DE, S

Tampa has a slew of needs that all appear to be fairly equal. This should give them the flexibility to take the “best player available” in the first few rounds. At 9 the team will have its choice of cornerbacks, defensive ends, and offensive tackles available to them. They might hope that either DeForrest Buckner or Ronnie Stanley falls to them, but that seems unlikely. Taylor Decker is a guy that seems to fit their system well. 39 and 74 will continue to offer available players at positions of need. Tampa Bay is in a good position to have a strong draft class.

Draft Picks, 7: 9, 39, 74, 108, 148, 183, 197

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