Every year over 200 college players earn their NFL tickets. Most won’t stay around long but some are destined for good things. The surprising thing is that it’s not always the top picks who have staying power. Be on the lookout for the sneaky guy who wants it really badly and won’t let anyone stop him. Here’s a look at the NFC South Draft. Other d9ivision to follow.
New Orleans Saints – The Saints had some glaring weakness on defense. The free agent market yielded a pair of veteran safeties. The draft yielded Malcolm Jenkins of Ohio State. Jenkins was the best of the D-Back stock in this draft. He should fit well into the new defense Sean Payton is installing to go with his leading offense.
Atlanta Falcons – After scoring big with Matt Ryan last year you can expect this crop of rookies to be closely examined. If the Falcons do that well again they’ll be a Super Bowl contender. For now, Atlanta has gone almost exclusively to the defensive side of the ball, taking Lawrence Sidbury first and following with safety William Mooore.
Carolina Panthers – The biggest question going into the draft was whether the Panthers would be looking for quarterback help. The re-signing of Jake the Snake eliminated that question before Saturday. Like their brethren in New Orleans and Atlanta the Panthers went for defensive help early, taking linemenEverette Brown of Florida State and backing it up with Corvey Irvin of Georgia in the 3rd.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Of all the teams in the NFC South the Bucs went for offense in a big way, trading up to take Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman. This is an intriguing pick. Freeman was not the highest rated QB in the draft but perhaps offers the most value and potential down the line. Defensively Tampa Bay went for some mid to late round guys that fit their new system. Freeman is the big news but may not pay divoidens for awhile.
Overall the NFC South looks to be a much stronger division on the defensive side of the ball. That may be a reaction to the Saints and Falcons success last season. Look for a new division winner in the 2009 NFL season as historically the team that womn it the previous year drops back into the pack and a new NFC South Champion emerges on a yearly basis.