Atlanta FalconsThe Atlanta Falcons went to the Super Bowl last year. They were one of the most complete teams in the NFL last year. Their biggest need without a doubt is someone who can get after the quarterback. They should probably grab a right guard given the opportunity and if you want to get nit picky they could use an improvement in the secondary.
1 – 26th Overall – Takkarist McKinley – UCLA – Defensive End
2 – 75th Overall – Duke Riley – LSU – Line Backer
3 – 136th Overall – Sean Harlow – Oregon State – Guard
4 – 149th Overall – Damontae Kazee – San Diego State – Corner Back
5 – 156th Overall – Brian Hill – Wyoming – Running Back
6 – 174th Overall – Eric Saubert – Drake University – Tight End
Analysis: The Falcons needed one main piece, and they took it with the first pick they had in the draft. I even liked that they moved up to grab a pass rusher that they feel will make a difference. It’s easy to check all the boxes when you only really need one piece, but overall We like what the Falcons did. That being said, the loss of their offensive coordinator will probably show it’s colors next year. It will be interesting to see if the Falcons draft is enough to make up for the coaching step back that they took.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints need several pieces. Most important is help in the secondary. The saints group of corners and safeties is just plain bad. The could use a play maker in the middle as well if the opportunity comes up. On offense, they lost one of their top 2 wide receivers so they should take one early if possible as well. A good draft could make the Saints serious competition for the division.
1 – 11th Overall – Marshon Lattimore – Ohio State – Corner Back
2 – 32nd Overall – Ryan Ramczyk – Wisconsin – Offensive Tackle
3 – 42nd Overall – Marcus Williams – Utah – Safety
4 – 67th Overall – Alvin Kamara – Tennessee – Running Back
5 – 76th Overall – Alex Anzalone – Florida – Line Backer
6 – 103d Overall – Trey Hendrickson – Florida Atlantic University – Defensive End
7 – 196th Overall – Al-Quadin Muhammad – Miami – Line Backer
Analysis: The Saints needed a good draft to get back into contention, and in our opinion they did pretty well. They are still missing a wide receiver and I wish they would have grabbed a couple more secondary pieces. Overall very good though. They grabbed a top corner, arguably the best offensive lineman in the draft, an electric running back and bolstered the middle of their defense as well. The Saints won’t be a push over this upcoming season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are right in that stage where a good draft could propel them into success and a bad one could drop them into regression. They need a running back who isn’t going to start the season in rehab. They need upgrades along the defensive and offensive lines, and they could use a safety.
1 – 19th Overall – OJ Howard – Alabama – Tight End
2 – 50th Overall – Justin Evans – Texas A&M – Safety
3 – 84th Overall – Chris Godwin – Penn State – Wide Receiver
4 – 107th Overall – Kendell Beckwith – LSU – Line Backer
5 – 162nd Overall – Jeremy McNichols – Boise State – Running Back
6 – 223d Overall – Stevie Tu’ikolovaut – USC – Defensive Tackle
Analysis: Let’s just come out and say it. From a positional stand point, I have no idea what the buccaneers were doing. They spend their first pick on a tight end that they don’t need. He did fall in the draft, but still. They spent their third pick on a wide receiver that I’m not really sure they have a spot for either. The safety pick I like, and the other 3 picks were ok, but I wish they would have focused on their needs early and taken chances on offensive weapons late, instead of the other way around.
The Carolina Panthers went from Super Bowl participant in 2015 to the 8th overall pick in 2016. They took a very big step backward, and they need a lot of help in a lot of places. The Panthers secondary felt the loss of Josh Norman and needs an anchor at the position. They need a running back to replace their aging one. They lost one of their wide receivers in free agency. They need help on the offensive line and they need a pass rusher.
1 – 8th Overall – Christian McCaffrey – Stanford – Running Back
2 – 40th Overall – Curtis Samuel – Ohio State – Running Back / Wide Receiver
3 – 64th Overall – Taylor Moton – Western Michigan – Guard
4 – 77th Overall – Daeshon Hall – Texas A&M – Defensive End
5 – 152nd Overall – Corn Elder – Miami – Line Backer
6 – 192nd Overall – Alex Armah – West Georgia – Full Back
7 -233d Overall – Harrison Butker – Georgia Tech – Kicker
Analysis: The Panthers had an interesting draft. They took some big names. This article isn’t supposed to be about the actual player styles and skills but we can’t help it here. McCaffrey and Samuel are basically the same player and neither of them fit in an offense that has passed to the running back the fewest times in each of the last 3 years. We just don’t really get it. They are talented players, but they just don’t fit here. If the Panthers can overhaul their offense to make it work, it could be very interesting, but overall we feel like it may not really mesh this year.
Here’s what the NFC South did in the draft. Be sure to read our other Draft Breakdown articles for the other 7 Divisions