NFL Team Needs: NFC South

The newest segment for NFLMocks is the NFL Team Needs focus.  We are going to bring you division by division team needs and these needs will be updated throughout the offseason and during the actual season.  And after the season is said and done and free agency has settled we will have the areas your team should address when entering the 2011 NFL Draft.  We encourage you to check out our 2011 NFL Draft Player Scouting Reports, 2011 NFL Draft Prospect Big Board, our 2011 NFL Mock Draft, and our 2011 NFL Draft Prospect Position Rankings.

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons logo

  1. Cornerback
  2. Defensive Line
  3. Utility Man

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Thoughts:

Atlanta is one of few teams that have few needs and look toward the draft to grab guys who will develop. You could say that they could afford a luxury pick. This past season was derailed by injuries, but there is still a very talented team in the dirty south. CB Dunta Robinson improves the secondary, but losing CB Chris Houston leaves a big hole across the field. 2010 5th round pick CB Dominique Franks has a lot of talent, but shouldn’t be relied on for more than spot duty for now. The Falcons have good depth players at cornerback, but a top end corner talent opposite Robinson would make them more dangerous for a team that plays New Orleans twice a year. The defensive line was pretty weak in the middle last season and a lot of hope rest on 2009 1st round pick Peria Jerry coming back healthy, but even if he comes back 100%, the defensive tackles on the roster barely average 300 pounds between the six of them. Unless the Falcons run a defensive line where quickness is valued more than size (Falcon fans can help us out with that one), a large frame heavy weight defensive tackle to stuff up the middle and allow the defensive ends could help keep John Abraham around longer. One thing I don’t really see on the roster is a good offensive utility man. Who is Atlanta’s Reggie Bush? Percy Harvin? Dexter McCluster? Matt Ryan is an elite quarterback and should be surrounded with more weapons.

Carolina Panthers logo

  1. Defensive Tackle
  2. Defensive End
  3. Safety

Thoughts:

Carolina has suffered heavy losses on the defensive line this offseason with DE Julius Peppers, DT Damione Lewis, and DT Maake Kemoeatu leaving in free agency. DE Greg Hardy was drafted in the 6th round in 2010 and DE Everette Brown was drafted in the 2nd round last year in a trade that shipped this year’s 1st round pick to San Fransisco. DE Tyler Brayton is the only returning starter and he’ll be 31 this year. Defensive tackle is even more bleak as a long list of developmental players are fighting for snaps on the field. Could be ugly against teams with good run games this year.  With the trading of S Chris Harris, the Panthers must be relying on Sherrod Martin to move into his spot. He has had a few good games as a back-up, two picks vs. Arizona this past year, but not sure how well he will hold up as a full time starter. Carolina pulled in a 10-man draft class in the 2010 Draft and will be hoping quite a few of those to fill in right away.



New Orleans Saints Logo

  1. Defensive Tackle
  2. Running Back
  3. Outside Linebacker

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Thoughts:

New Orleans is injured and old up the middle of their defense save DT Sedrick Ellis. He is just injured. A run stopping nose tackle will keep performances like overtime against Tampa Bay last year to a minimum. The running back committee is effective, but do you think Sean Payton is going to settle for just effective? RB Pierre Thomas and Lynell Hamilton are a good combo, but a back in the vein of a Beanie Wells would make the offense that much more dangerous. Strong side linebacker Scott Fujita is gone and a long list of back-ups will fight for his spot. Jonathan Vilma seem to be the only linebacker who is an ideal fit in the blitzing defense of Greg Williams.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Logo

  1. Defensive End
  2. Safety
  3. Running Back

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Thoughts:

The Buccaneers need help all over. They had an impressive 2010 class, but one class isn’t going to do it. Now that they have found the middle of their defense for the next few years, they need to get much better at defensive end. DE Jimmy Wilkerson is now in conference rival New Orleans, leaving DE’s Tim Crowder and Stylez White to man the outside. Both are relatively young, but they are only relatively athletic as well. An upgrade in talent at the end spot will make this defense as feared as in its hey day. If the Tampa Bay organization cares, at all, for the well being of RB Cadillac Williams and his surgically repaired knees: they need to find someone more reliable to take rushes away from him. I really like Williams, but I fear he is going to get hurt every time he rushes more than ten attempts in a game. No one else has really been able to compliment him.

Topics: Arizona, Atlanta, Atlanta Falcons, Beanie Wells, Buccaneers, Cadillac Williams, Carolina, Carolina Panthers, Chris Harris, Chris Houston, Cornerback, Damione Lewis, Defensive End, Defensive Line, Defensive Tackle, Dexter McCluster, Dominique Franks, Dunta Robinson, Everette Brown, Falcons, Greg Hardy, Greg Williams, Jimmy Wilkerson, John Abrahams, Jonathan Vilma, Julius Peppers, Linebacker, Lynell Hamilton, Maake Kemoeatu, Matt Ryan, New Orleans, New Orleans Saints, NFC South, Nose Tackle, Outside Linebacker, Percy Harvin, Peria Jerry, Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, Running Back, Running Back Committee, Safety, Saints, San Fransisco, Scott Fujita, Sean Payton, Sedrick Ellis, Sherrod Martin, Strong Side Linebacker, Stylez White, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tim Crowder, Tyler Brayton, Utility Man

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