With one year under their belts, the rookie classes of the NFC South stood out, with no team earning a grade lower than a B-. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers led the group, as the only NFC South team to receive an A.
“Jameis Winston earned rave reviews for his work as a first-year starter. He thrived as a playmaker during the second half of the season and showed great potential as a franchise quarterback,” wrote Bucky Brooks. “Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet were steady performers as rookie starters. On defense, Kwon … looked like a star in the making as a "sideline to sideline" playmaker with exceptional quickness and burst.”
Brooks also noted the positions that the Buccaneers are likely to focus on in the upcoming NFL Combine.
Rounding out the NFC South, the Atlanta Falcons earned a B- grade from Brooks. Their rookie class was highlighted by linebacker Vic Beasley who started all 16 games. The Carolina Panthers were given a B with 17 combined starts from their rookie class. The New Orleans Saints also received a B-.
Click here to read the Brooks’ full NFC South rookie grades breakdown.