Falcons, Bucs Top NFC South Draft Grades


We discussed winner and losers of the draft, now let’s break it down by division starting with the NFC South.

The two teams below was taken from the previous piece.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons landed a cornerstone for their defense in Clemson linebackerVic Beasleyeighth overall. Beasleyamassed52.5 tackles for loss, 33 sacks, 29 quarterback pressures, 11 pass breakups, seven forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles and two touchdowns over 48 games. He will be to the Falcons likeLuke Kuechlyis theCarolina PanthersandLavonte Davidis to theTampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jalen Collins, corner from LSU taken in the second round,possessesa unique raw talent and attributes of was balance between height, weight and speed. Not bad considering he only has 10 starts and was projected as a first round talent.

Tevin Coleman, running back from Indianatakenin the third round, has enough talent and burst as a north-south runner to take the starting job overDevonta Freeman.

Look out for defensive tackleGrady Jarrettfrom Clemson, who was originallyprojectedas a second round, but was picked in the fifth round by the team. His speed more than makes up his lack of size.

Grade: A

Shaq Thompson

Shaq Thompson

Carolina Panthers

Panthers needed to prioritize offensive tackle and they took onein the fourth round in OklahomasDaryl Williams. Williams, who wasprojectedin round five according to NFL.com, is a big physical tackle who brings attitude and work ethic to the position. The biggest knocks on him is his below-average athleticism making him more of a liability outside of the pocket. In other words, dont expect him to do much into the second level when it comes to running plays or move much outside the pocket.

The Panthers first round choice was Washington linebackerShaq Thompson, who wasprojectedto be a second or third round choice on NFL.com andNFL Draft Scout. The biggest knocks on him is that hes a bit underweight at 219 lb for the position despite playing both inside and outside linebacker and safety positions. Hes also played on offense playing a few snaps as running back. If he doesnt fit in the defense, dont be surprised if he becomes a threat in the backfield.

Their second round choice was Michigan wide receiverDevin Funchess, who adds atall threatfor quarterbackCam Newtonat 6-foot-4. Unfortunately, they traded their third and sixth round choices to get him, so no pressure there.

Grade: C-

Andrus Peat

New Orleans Saints

The Saints grabbed two in the first round in Sanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat and Clemson linebacker Stephone Anthony. Peat was one of the highly touted tackles in the draft, who was taken 13th overall. Sports Illustrated called him possibly “the best pass blocker in his position group.” He’s versatile to play both tackle positions. NFL.com calls him the most game-ready.

Anthony’s known for his speed and steady, consistent tackling. He has the speed and blitzing ability for Rob Ryan’s defense, but he’s slow to recover against a play-action and has difficulty keeping blockers off and has difficulty keeping blockers off and a slight reach at 31st overall when they may have grabbed him in the second round. Also to help in Ryan’s defense will be second round pick Washington linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha, who fit’s his 3-4 mold despite not leaning on it as much as he used to, and fifth rounder Tennessee-Chattanooga linebacker Davis Tull.

The one to watch is Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson, their third round choice, who now has an opportunity to learn under starter Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton. It’ll be interesting how far along he is once Brees hangs it up.

Grade B-

Bucs NFL draft press conference Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No one is denying Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston‘s raw talent. His maturity on the other hand will either make or break this franchise as indicated by the off-field issues. The Bucs didn’t hesitate to address protection in drafting Penn State tackle Donovan Smith and Hobart guard Ali Marpet in the second round. More about them can be found here.

Winston’s considered the most NFL-ready QB and he’ll have some additional weapons since the team’s drafted almost all offensive players again with the exception of LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander, who was taken in the fourth round, but projected to be taken in the third. Alexander has quick lateral movement slipping by blocks and into gaps, but his awareness needs work.

The Bucs grabbed Nebraska wide receiver Kenny Bell in the fifth round who’s known to shred the field, who’s an ideal in the slot position for big plays and likely to complete with Louis Murphy and Robert Herron. The team picked up Utah receiver/returner Kaelin Clay in the sixth round who’s dangerous in the open field with his three punts returned for scores in 2014.

All, including Hawaii fullback Joey Isoefa, their seventh round choice, could see time starting on the team.

Grade: B


About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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