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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Recapping the NFC South's 2015 Draft

A look at the Falcons', Panthers', and Saints' drafts.

Photos of the Buccaneers' division rivals' draft picks.


The Buccaneers' roster is set for the team's rookie minicamp, but so are the rosters for the Falcons, Panthers and Saints.

Over the course of the NFL Draft, 21 new players joined the Bucs' division rivals, including four first-round picks. The most notable of those picks were Clemson pass-rusher Vic Beasley, who was picked by the Flacons at No. 8, and Stanford offensive tackle, the Saints' No. 13 pick.

Linebackers Shaq Thompson of Clemson (25) and Stephone Anthony of Clemson (31) were also picked up in the first round.

So who, among those teams, had the best draft? ESPN's Mel Kiper believes the Falcons. Kiper awarded Atlanta a B while handing out Cs to New Orleans and Carolina.

Below is a quick look at which players landed in the NFC South, along with a brief analysis of each team's picks.

Mel Kiper's grade: B

Round 1 (8): LB Vic Beasley, Clemson
Round 2 (43): CB Jalen Collins, LSU
Round 3 (73): RB Tevin Coleman, Indiana
Round 4 (107): WR Justin Hardy, East Carolina
Round 5 (137): DT Grady Jarrett, Clemson
Round 7 (225): OT Jake Rodgers, Eastern Washington
Round 7 (249): DB Akeem King, San Jose State


Analysis:* "Hard to find a better convergence of team need and good player than the Falcons' pick of Beasley, who was a great draft value at pick No. 8. Time will tell if they regret passing on local star Todd Gurley, but this is just the kind of player new coach Dan Quinn could develop into a star. Collins has first-round talent, but there are questions about his production in college and off-the-field issues. He's a high-upside pick in the second. Coleman is a steal at the 73rd pick and could be a star early on for the team as a home-run threat. Hardy will be on the same page with Matt Ryan early and Jarett falling in the team's lap in the fifth round is remarkable luck. "- *NFL Media's Bryan Fischer

Mel Kiper's grade:


Round 1 (25): LB Shaq Thompson, Washington
Round 2 (41): WR Devin Funchess, Michigan
Round 4 (102): G Daryl Williams, Oklahoma
Round 5 (169): LB David Mayo, Texas St.
Round 5 (174): RB Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn**


"The Panthers surprised a lot of people by taking Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson in the first round, with Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis already in the fold. But Thompson is a highly athletic player who covers very well and could even put up a few reps at running back. Second-round pick Devin Funchess is a big-bodied receiver who brings Kelvin Benjamin, last year's first-round pick to mind." – Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated

Mel Kiper's grade: C*

*Round 1 (13): OT Andrus Peat, Stanford
Round 1 (31): LB Stephone Anthony, Clemson
Round 2 (44): LB Hau'oli Kikaha, Washington
Round 3 (75): QB Garrett Grayson, Colorado State
Round 3 (78): CB P.J. Williams, Florida State
Round 5 (148): LB Davis Tull, Tennessee-Chattanooga
Round 5 (154): DT Tyeler Davison, Fresno State
Round 5 (167) CB Damian Swann, Georgia
Round 7 (230): RB Marcus Murphy, Missouri


Analysis:* "The Saints really needed a good draft, not simply because they have some obvious needs and are coming off a really disappinting 2014 season, but also because Jimmy Graham is no longer with the team. When you lose a franchise icon and get draft proceeds out of the deal, you better get some good players. With the bulk of the focus on defense, which was a huge problem the past season, I'd just say they did OK. Andrus Peat hits a need on the offensive line, but he's probably not ideal as a starter in Week 1 because NFL-level pass-rushers could give him fits. He might start at guard initially. The first-rounder they got back from Seattle turned into Stephone Anthony, and though he hits a need, I had a trio of inside linebackers ahead of him on my board." *– ESPN's Todd McShay

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