After completing each team’s seven-round mock draft in the NFC East and each team’s seven-round mock draft in the NFL North, it’s time to complete each team’s seven-round mock draft in the NFC South. Let’s jump right into it and get started.
Football Insiders mocks up all seven rounds of the draft for each team in the NFC South.
The Carolina Panthers team that played at the end of the year was a better representation of what people expected out of them in 2014. At one point in 2014, the Panthers were 3-8-1 as they struggled tremendously. However, at the end of the year, the Panthers showed their potential by winning four straight games to make the playoffs. Even though they took a step back in 2014, the Panthers have a ton of potential for 2015. Here is their seven-round mock draft.
Round 1: T.J. Clemmings, Offensive Tackle, Pittsburgh
Cam Newton has the potential to be an excellent quarterback, however he hasn’t had enough weapons at his arsenal for him to become elite. For Newton to make it to the next level, he will need to have a better offensive line in front of him. T.J. Clemmings would be a great pick at the end of the first round. The Pittsburgh product has long arms and a natural build for a solid left tackle at the next level. Clemmings is a bit raw, but he has a ton of intangibles that could amount to success in the NFL.
Round 2: Nelson Agholor, Wide Receiver, USC
After the 2013 season, the Panthers got rid of almost all of Newton’s weapons. Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr were all with different teams in 2014. That left Newton with Kelvin Benjamin, Greg Olsen, Jerricho Cotchery, and Philly Brown as his main weapons. The Panthers need to add more talent around Newton and they can do that by adding a player like Nelson Agholor. Even though Agholor doesn’t have the best build, he boasts good hands and he’s an excellent competitor.
Round 3: Jaquiski Tartt, Safety, Samford
When fans read mock drafts, they don’t like to see their favorite teams drafting a small-school player. However, Jaquiski Tartt is an excellent prospect. From Samford, Tartt reads quarterbacks extremely well and he’s an absolute playmaker in the defensive backfield. Tartt is a big hitter and he has the makings of a really nice player in the NFL. The Panthers need a guy next to Roman Harper and Tartt fits the bill.
Round 4: Lynden Trail, Outside Linebacker, Norfolk State
Out of high school, Lynden Trail was a highly-touted prospect that went to Florida. However, when Urban Meyer left, Trail left as well. He would land with FCS-level Norfolk State and ultimately become the program’s best pass rusher. Trail is extremely athletic and although he is a bit of a tweener, Trail has a skillset that can make him an extremely good player if he gets the right coaching.
Round 5: Miles Diffenbach, Offensive Guard, Penn State
After bringing in their stud left tackle in Clemmings, the Panthers should finish off their offensive line by bringing in a player that comes from one of the most illustrious programs in the nation in Penn State. Miles Diffenbach is a mauler in the running game. He’s extremely tough and he’s very reliable. In the middle rounds, Diffenbach has the ability to make start immediately.
Round 6: Cam Thomas, Cornerback, Western Kentucky
A bright spot for the Panthers last year was their cornerback duo. Captain Munnerlyn left in free agency last year, however, the duo of Josh Norman and Bene Benwikere showed a ton of potential and progress last season. However, you can’t have enough capable cornerbacks in today’s NFL. Cam Thomas is a taller cornerback that struggles in terms of physicality, but he has good ball skills that translate well to the NFL.
Round 7a: Kyshoen Jarrett, Safety, Virginia Tech
Even though the Panthers selected Tartt earlier in this mock draft, it doesn’t hurt to use a seventh-round pick on another safety. Kyshoen Jarrett is a great tackler and he could be a nice player for Carolina on both defense and special teams.
Round 7b: Alani Fua, Defensive End, BYU
Recognize the last name? Sione Fua was drafted by the Panthers in 2011, and although his career has gone a bit south since then, his brother shows some promise. Fua is an absolute tweener, but he has great character and those are the types of guys teams want to fill their team with. A seventh-round pick on a player like Fua has low-risk, high-reward written all over it.
New Orleans Saints
After another disappointing season, the New Orleans Saints are in a state of flux. They have their quarterback and their coach in place with Drew Brees and Sean Payton; however, something is not working with the Saints. Whatever it might be, the Saints need to have a good draft in April to make it back to the playoffs. Here is their seven-round mock draft.
Round 1: Shaq Thompson, Outside Linebacker, Washington
By far the most intriguing player in this draft class, Shaq Thompson shows the ability to play outside linebacker or even safety in the NFL. Thompson played wide receiver and even running back in college. He’s extremely athletic and even though he’s not a complete player, Rob Ryan would have a really talented player at his disposal with Thompson. In the 3-4, Thompson would be a fun player to watch for years to come.
Round 2: Ronald Darby, Cornerback, Florida State
Taller cornerbacks are becoming a trend in the NFL and it is no secret that the Saints are in the market for a cornerback early in this year’s draft. P.J. Williams may be getting the most attention, but Ronald Darby is the Florida State cornerback that shows NFL potential. Darby has good speed and athleticism and he’s extremely physical with opposing receivers.
Round 3: Spencer Drango, Offensive Tackle, Baylor
Thanks to a deep tackle class, Spencer Drango will likely be available in the third round. Terron Armstead wasn’t terrific in 2014, but the coaching staff likes him and he shows a ton of potential for the future. However, the Saints need another tackle and an intriguing player is, in fact, Drango. Simply put, Drango is a player that wins at the point of attack and he has the makings of playing four positions on the offensive line in the NFL.
Round 4: Hronis Grasu, Center, Oregon
Jonathan Goodwin is one of the best centers in the league, however, he’s 36 years old and is nearing the end of his career. That being said, the Saints need to look into adding a center and although it isn’t the most attractive position in any draft, one center that shows smarts and great technique is Hronis Grasu. From Oregon, Grasu led the quickest offense in college football in 2014 and he shows excellent ability to man the front in the running game. Grasu would be a good value in the middle rounds.
Round 5: Terrance Plummer, Inside Linebacker, UCF
Over the course of his four-year career, UCF’s Terrance Plummer has compiled 325 total tackles as well as 17.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. Plummer projects to fit perfectly in a 3-4 defense and even though he may not start immediately, Plummer would be a good fit in New Orleans.
Round 6: Marcus Rush, Defensive End, Michigan State
Each year, Michigan State produces players that are extremely undersized, yet extremely productive. Last year, it was Denicos Allen that was the guy. This year, the guy who is sort of an enigma is Marcus Rush. At 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, Rush is about 25 pounds underweight, but his motor and his technique show that he could make a difference in the NFL.
Round 7: Chris Bonner, Quarterback, Colorado State-Pueblo
Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, however, his days are numbered. In the seventh round, Chris Bonner is a guy that is worth taking a flyer on. A Division II player, Bonner has the size scouts love for a quarterback at 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, and he has decent accuracy. Payton does a great job at developing quarterbacks and Bonner could be his next project.
With Dan Quinn coming in, the Atlanta Falcons are going to get better on the defensive side of the football. Despite finishing the year 6-10, the Falcons are only a few years removed from being one of the best teams in the NFL. Atlanta has a ton of talent on offense, however, they need to beef up on both lines. Here is their seven-round mock draft.
Round 1: Dante Fowler Jr, Defensive End, Florida
The Falcons have a lot of talent at the skill positions, however, they have their fair share of problems in the trenches on offense and defense. After selecting Jake Matthews in the first round last year, the Falcons should look into adding a stud in this year’s draft, however, this stud being on the defensive line. Dante Fowler Jr is extremely athletic and his problems mainly stem from a lack of technique. A good coach would make Fowler Jr a stud and Dan Quinn is the guy to do it.
Round 2: Paul Dawson, Outside Linebacker, TCU
Each year, extremely talented prospects tend to fall into the second round and a guy that will likely fall is Paul Dawson. Out of TCU, Dawson seems to always be around the ball at the end of plays. Dawson is extremely smart and he does a great job at shedding blocks to find the ball-carrier. The Falcons had one of the worst rush defenses last year and to make that part of their defense better, they will need to bring in some stud linebackers and Dawson is just that.
Round 3: Clayton Geathers, Safety, UCF
Desmond Trufant is the only player in Atlanta’s secondary who has a guaranteed job in 2015. The Falcons need to get better in the defensive backfield and in the third round, a guy who would immediately bring a presence is Clayton Geathers. He needs to do a better job at tackling, but he has great closing speed and he shows the ability to be a solid center-fielder in the NFL.
Round 4: Nick O’Leary, Tight End, Florida State
The Falcons missed Tony Gonzalez in 2014 and although they tried to make it work with the duo of Levine Toilolo and Bear Pascoe, the harsh reality is that the Falcons need to bring in a guy who can take pressure off Roddy White and Julio Jones on the outside. That guy is Nick O’Leary, who was perhaps the most productive tight end in the nation last year. O’Leary is a smart player and he would immediately become a contributor in both the running and passing games.
Round 5: Steven Nelson, Cornerback, Oregon State
If there is one cornerback that is flying under the radar in this year’s draft class, it is Steven Nelson. When given the task of locking up one of the best receviers in the nation last year in Jaelen Strong, Nelson did an adequate job. Nelson has excellent ball skills and he can be a real good player if he is put in the right scheme.
Round 6: D.J. Humphries, Offensive Tackle, Florida
In the later rounds, bringing in a decent tackle prospect from an SEC school is a wise idea and the Falcons can do that by drafting D.J. Humphries. At 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, Humphries could put on more weight, but he did a good job of containing LSU’s Danielle Hunter. Humphries needs some coaching, but he has a good skillset that can be of good use in Atlanta.
Round 7a: Ramik Wilson, Inside Linebacker, Georgia
This in-state prospect, Ramik Wilson is a fun player to watch on film. Like Dawson, Wilson is a great tackler and he reads offenses very well. Wilson puts on big hits and he could defend against tight ends and slot receivers in the passing game. In Quinn’s defense, Wilson could be a really nice player at the strongside linebacker position.
Round 7b: Kenny Hilliard, Running Back, LSU
Steven Jackson could very well be released by the Falcons in the coming weeks as his price tag in 2015 might simply not be worth it. That would means DeVonte Freeman would take over the starting gig. Freeman has a ton of potential, but a guy like Kenny Hillard would complement him very well in the backfield. This duo could take a ton of pressure off of Matt Ryan in the coming future.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The worst team in the NFL this past season was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Lovie Smith had just two wins in 2014 in his first season after taking the year off. The head coach clock is a short one in the NFL and if the Bucs don’t improve in 2015, Lovie could very well be without a job after this season. The Bucs need to improve on both sides of the football. Here is their seven-round mock draft.
Round 1: Marcus Mariota, Quarterback, Oregon
It’s up in the air whether Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston is the better prospect. However, media reports say that the Bucs are likely to take Mariota. Mariota is an excellent athlete and he is the guy teams want to lead their franchise. However, his problems lie in his accuracy. At Oregon, Mariota passed to guys who were wide open and NFL scouts know that. Regardless, the Bucs need some energy in their franchise and they need to give their fans something to be excited about. The Oregon product is just that.
Round 2: Eli Harold, Defensive End, Virginia
On top of their quarterback issue, the Bucs need a defensive end off the edge that can get after the quarterback. With this draft deep in defensive end talent, Eli Harold is good enough to go in the top-20, however, the deep draft could make him fall to the second round. Harold is a bit undersized, but he’s a freakish athlete in space and he shows the potential to be an elite caliber defensive end at the next level.
Round 3: Jacoby Glenn, Cornerback, UCF
UCF’s secondary was extremely dynamic in 2014 and a big reason why was because of Jacoby Glenn. He needs to put on weight, but he looks the part for an NFL cornerback. Glenn is a physical cornerback that does a great job at coming up and making tackles in the backfield. The Bucs need to complement Alterraun Verner and Glenn fits the bill as he will be good enough to cover No. 2 cornerbacks in the NFL.
Round 4: Tony Washington, Outside Linebacker, Oregon
One of the more intriguing defensive prospects in this year’s draft class is Tony Washington. Oregon defensive prospects have had their struggles over the past few years, but Washington is a bit different. He could benefit by putting on weight, but he also has broad shoulders and long arms, which are both good predictors for NFL success. On top of those things, Washington is also solid in coverage. These traits prove that Washington could be a realistic option in Tampa Bay’s 4-3 defense.
Round 5: Breshad Perriman, Wide Receiver, UCF
In the middle rounds, there won’t be many receivers better than Breshad Perriman. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, Perriman has an NFL-ready body for a wide receiver and he has excellent speed for his size. Perriman has a good catch radius and if he can learn to physical and aggressive when going up for the ball, he could become a really solid player.
Round 6a: Senquez Golson, Cornerback, Ole Miss
In terms of size for a safety, Senquez Golson, at 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, is extremely undersized, but he’s a competitor that reads quarterbacks extremely well. Golson is explosive and when he sees the ball come out, he breaks extremely quick from his defensive backfield area to come up and make plays. He’s the type of player teams want, but his size may keep him from becoming a full-time safety at the next level.
Round 6b: Darius Kilgo, Defensive Tackle, Maryland
In the latter rounds, there may not be a better defensive tackle prospect than Darius Kilgo. At first glance, it is easy to see Kilgo’s ability to diagnose plays and get in the backfield. He can get skinny to get through small holes and he does a great job at taking on double teams. Kilgo also is extremely quick off the line of scrimmage. He can be a really nice addition to a defense and given the fact that he will be a late-round pick, the Bucs would benefit even more by selecting him.
Round 7: Terry Poole, Offensive Tackle, San Diego State
After trading for Logan Mankins last year and bringing in Evan Dietrich-Smith to pair with Anthony Collins and Demar Dotson, the Bucs were trying to build a decent offensive line. However, they lack depth and Anthony Collins hasnt worked out at all. In the seventh round, bringing in a guy like Terry Poole would be wise. Poole shows the ability to play left or right tackle. For depth purposes, Poole would fit the bill.
Buccaneers admit mistake, boot Aguayo
Source: Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk
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Did Bucs put too much pressure on Aguayo?
Source: Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk
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Broncos holding their breath on Derek Wolfe
Source: Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk
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