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How the Draft Went Down in the NFC South

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After months of anticipation, you’ve now heard who the Buccaneers have drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. If you’re like me, you’ve committed those names to memory and probably done your fair share of research into them, too. No? Just me? Cool.

But the Bucs weren’t the only team to draft last weekend, so while Tampa Bay saw what could be a very significant improvement to their defensive personnel fall to them in the various rounds, so did the competition. How did the other NFC South teams fare? Who are some of the players the Bucs can expect to see twice a year? Let’s take a look.

Atlanta Falcons

Round 1: OL Chris Lindstrom, Boston College, OL Kaleb McGary, Washington

Round 2: --

Round 3: --

Round 4: CB Kendall Sheffield, Ohio State, DE John Cominsky, Charleston

Round 5: RB Qedree Ollison, Pittsburgh, CB Jordan Miller, Washington

Round 6: WR Marcus Green, Louisiana-Monroe

Round 7: --

The Falcons forfeited some draft capital in order to land not one, but two offensive linemen in the first round. Lindstrom was a college center at BC but will enter the league as a guard. Atlanta’s offensive line is aging and it showed as quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked 42 times last season. This was their effort to further protect Matty Ice as he adjusts to an offensive system that stresses pass protection while letting long routes develop. Good thing the new Bucs’ defense in turn, stresses pressure up front.

Carolina Panthers

Round 1: OLB Brian Burns, Florida State

Round 2: OL Greg Little, Ole Miss

Round 3: QB Will Grier, West Virginia

Round 4: OLB Christian Miller, Alabama

Round 5: RB Jordan Scarlett, Florida

Round 6: OL Dennis Daley, South Carolina

Round 7: WR Terry Godwin, Georgia

All but two of the Panthers’ draft picks were on the offensive side of the ball but their first pick was along the defensive front in edge defender Brian Burns. After a great Combine performance where Burns ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at nearly 250 pounds, his first-round grade was all but solidified. Carolina confirmed it by taking him with the 16th overall pick and they now have a major player alongside inside linebacker Luke Kuechly that opposing offenses will have to contend with. The Panthers rounded out the draft with a speedy, albeit smaller, weapon for Cam Newton in Terry Godwin. The 5-11, 184-pound receiver was the offensive player of the game at the East-West Shrine Game held right here in St. Petersburg this past year. He stood out among the prospects there and earned himself a Combine invite. It seems the Panthers ended up with some value in their last pick of the weekend.

New Orleans Saints

Round 1: --

Round 2: OL Erik McCoy, Texas

Round 3: --

Round 4: S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida

Round 5: --

Round 6: S Saquan Hampton, Rutgers

Round 7: TE Alize Mack, Notre Dame, OLB Kaden Elliss, Idaho

The Saints drafted a total of five players last weekend, which looks like good news except when you take into account the fact that they didn’t have a whole lot of needs in the first place. They addressed the secondary with two safeties, including a Florida product in Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. They had already signed two cornerbacks in free agency so safeties round out what should be a very solid back level of the New Orleans’ defense. They also grabbed a tight end in Notre Dame’s Alize Mack despite signing 10-year veteran Jared Cook in free agency. Seeing how Bucs’ tight ends and receivers match up against the revamped Saints’ secondary will be something to watch for this coming season.

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