Draft Review: NFC South

Lavonte David could contribute right away for the Bucs.

The NFL Draft has come and gone. No more mock drafts, no more profiles, and no more hearsay and speculation. Naturally, that means it’s time to milk the draft until training camp, because the next three months of the offseason make us feel scared and cold. This week we’re going through the divisions and taking a look at how each team did after the first round. Up next, the NFC South.

Before we get started I want to briefly talk about Junior Seau. For me, the NFL in the 1990s were defined by two things – My favorite team, the Buffalo Bills and my favorite player to watch, Junior Seau.

After those four consecutive trips to the Super Bowl, I was relieved to see San Diego represent the AFC in the 1995 championship. Unfortunately the Chargers were no match for Steve Young and the 49ers. Seau, for me, represented everything that was great about this game. He was a player who could chase a running back down with a smile on his face, and he was at home on the field, which helps explain his reluctance to retire.

Today, Seau’s kids lost their father and his mother lost her son. Obviously, there are more important things than football. Off the field Seau spent much of his time working with charities in Miami and San Diego. Saints lineman Eric Olsen recalls a personal anecdote that shows us what kind of person Seau was.

RIP, Junior.

Atlanta Falcons

2 – Peter Konz, OG, Wisconsin

3 – Lamar Holmes, OT, Southern Mississippi

5 – Bradie Ewing, FB, Wisconsin

5 – Jonathan Massaquoi, DE, Troy

6 – Charles Mitchell, S, Mississippi State

7 – Travian Robertson, DT, South Carolina

Favorite Pick(s): The Falcons traded away their first round pick in the Julio Jones trade last year, but still managed to address some needs. Peter Konz should help an offensive line that struggled mightily last year. The Falcons were one of ten teams that failed to rush for more than four yards per carry between the tackles in 2011.

If Jonathan Massaquoi turns out anything like fellow Troy Alumni DeMarcus Ware, the Falcons will be elated. Massaquoi possesses the speed needed to get to quarterbacks off the edge.

Carolina Panthers

2 – Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State

4 – Frank Alexander, DE, Oklahoma

4 – Joe Adams, WR, Arkansas

5 – Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina

6 – Brad Nortman, P, Wisconsin

7 – D.J. Campbell, DB, California

Favorite Pick(s): The NFL Network had an impressive amount of footage featuring players from small schools. When analyzing Amini Silatolu, the Panthers second-round pick, Mike Mayock stressed the importance of seeing players from smaller schools absolutely dominate their competition on film. Silatolu’s tape showed the dominance you like to see.

Frank Alexander has the long arms and motor you want in a defensive end, but it can be argued the Panthers had a glaring need at defensive tackle, a position that wasn’t addressed in the draft. Joe Adams is a burner who had his best season with the Razorbacks in his senior season. With the departure of Legedu Naanee, Adams could see time in the slot immediately.

New Orleans Saints

3 – Akiem Hicks, DT, Regina

4 – Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin

5 – Corey White, S, Samford

6 – Andrew Tiller, OG, Syracuse

7 – Marcel Jones, OT, Nebraska

Favorite Pick(s): If the Saints had known Jon Vilma was going to be suspended for the entire season, their draft probably would have gone differently. Akiem Hicks’ football odyssey saw him wind up in Regina after he was mired in a recruiting controversy that once again shows us how ass backwards the NCAA is. If Hicks had stayed at LSU, the school he was originally enrolled at, it’s possible he could’ve been a first-round pick. The Saints will be glad he ended up in Canada.

Nick Toon gives Drew Brees another option in the Saints vaunted passing attack and will help fill the void created by the departure of Robert Meachem. Toon has the NFL bloodlines. His father Al was an All Pro wide receiver for the New York Jets before retiring at age 29 due to multiple concussions.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2 – Lavonte David, OLB, Nebraska

5 – Najee Goode, ILB, West Virginia

6 – Keith Tandy, CB, West Virginia

7 – Michael Smith, RB, Utah State

7 – Drake Dunsmore, FB, Northwestern

Favorite Pick(s): The Bucs got their safety of the future in Mark Barron, and then they added to their defense with second-round pick Lavonte David. Though undersized, David has the instincts and speed required to be a force in the NFL.

The Bucs continued to add to their Linebacker corps in the fifth round with Najee Goode. His feel for the game is raw, but Goode has the size and speed necessary to stick in the pros. He’s also versatile, as he can line up at both the SAM and MIKE positions.