NFL DRAFT: NFC South Team Grades

NFL DRAFT: NFC South Team Grades
Reading Time: 4 minutes.

Let’s head to the NFC South and see how the Falcons, Panthers, Buccaneers and Saints did in this years draft.

The Falcons and Panthers were picking early thanks to poor seasons. The Saints had to wait until later in the rounds and the Buccs were slotted at 32 – a small price to pay for winning the Super Bowl.


Atlanta Falcons : A-

Kyle Pitts head to the NFC South
Kyle Pitts was phenomenal at Florida. If he lives up to his potential, the Falcons will be very happy for some time to come. Image from
  • #4 – Kyle Pitts – TE – Florida
  • #40 – Richie Grant – S – UCF
  • #68 – Jalen Mayfield – OT – Michigan
  • #114 – Darren Hall – CB – SD State
  • #108 – Drew Dalman – C – Stanford
  • #148 – Ta’Quon Graham – DT – Texas
  • #182 – Adetokunbo Ogundeji – DE – Notre Dame
  • #183 – Avery Williams – CB – Boise State
  • #187 – Frank Darby – WR – Arizona State

The Falcons started with a splash picking Miami super star tight end Kyle Pitts. Certainly not a need but potentially one of the most talented weapons to come out of the draft for some time. The Falcons needs were on the defensive side of the ball, they gave up the most passing yards last year. In comes Richie Grant, the second safety off the board who should help on the back end.

The Falcons failed to add to their running back room, which is a little empty at the moment. They did however add depth to their offensive line and some guys with plenty of potential upside to help on defence.

Carolina Panthers: B+

  • #8 – Jaycee Horn – CB – South Carolina
  • #59 – Terrace Marshall Jr. – WR – LSU
  • #70 – Brady Christensen – OT – BYU
  • #80 – Tommy Tremble – TE – Notre Dame
  • #126 – Chuba Hubbard – RB – Oklahoma State 
  • #158 – Daviyon Nixon – DT – Iowa
  • #166 – Keith Taylor – CB – Washington
  • #193 – Deonte Brown – OG – Alabama
  • #204 – Shi Smith – WR – South Carolina
  • #222 – Thomas Fletcher – LS – Alabama
  • #232 – Phil Hoskins – DT – Kentucky

After using all last years picks on defence, the Panthers changed that up slightly. With 5 of their 10 players being on offence. Their new QB Sam Darnold should be happy, with some highly touted weapons in receiver Terrace Marshall, blocking tight end Tommy Tremble and running back Chuba Hubbard, who was an absolute steal at pick 126. Darnold should also be pleased that the Panthers opted against taking a QB, signalling the job is his.

On the other side of the ball Jaycee Horn is an aggressive, strong corner who will help their improving defence from day 1. Daviyon Nixon is another steal, he was our 3rd rated DT on the Draft Talk Podcast. The young tackle is great against the run with the potential to be in their rotation straight away.

New Orleans Saints: C

Ian Book played 45 games at Notre Dame, finishing with 45 touchdowns to 20 interceptions. Image from
  • #28 – Payton Turner – DE – Houston
  • #60 – Pete Werner – LB – Ohio State
  • #76 – Paulson Adebo – CB – Stanford
  • #133 – Ian Book – QB – Notre Dame
  • #206 – Landon Young – OT – Kentucky
  • #255 – Kawaan Baker – WR – South Alabama

The Saints had serious issues coming into this off season. Struggles to get under the cap and long time QB Drew Brees retiring. This years draft was a big opportunity to keep the team on the right track. I’m not sure which track the Saints were heading down this past weekend but it certainly wasn’t in the direction many thought it would be. Turner probably would have been available with a later pick, and they did fill two big needs at corner and receiver. But, later than ideal.

Who am I to second guess Sean Payton and his teams draft choices? I’ll happily apologise if I’m wrong but I see this as a below average draft for New Orleans.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B+

  • #32 – Joe Tryon – LB – Washington
  • #64 – Kyle Trask – QB – Florida
  • #95 – Robert Hainsey – G – Notre Dame 
  • #129 – Jaelon Darden – WR – North Texas 
  • #176 – K.J. Britt – LB – Auburn
  • #251 – Chris Wilcox – CB – BYU
  • #259 – Grant Stuard– LB – Houston

The Buccs almost didn’t need this draft. All 22 of their starters are returning for 2021. It’s not like they had any huge weaknesses in that super bowl winning team. Tryon should be able to help their defence upfront and Kyle Trask has the opportunity to sit behind, and learn from, one of the greatest, after two stellar years in Florida. Darden, who had an outstanding 19 touchdowns last year, should be able to make an impact from the slot.

Tampa did a good job of adding to their current talent as well as keeping one eye on a post Brady future – whenever that may be.

How would you grade the NFC South draft classes? Let us know over on Twitter @NinetynineYards

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