Biggest Needs: NFC South

In the third edition of our eight-part series, we will be going over the the biggest needs of every NFC South team. We have previously gone over the NFC North and NFC East. Remember, our very own Thomas Kavanaugh is working extremely hard to pump out scouting reports on draft prospects. Check out his page to find the best scouting reports you can find.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Running Back, Defensive Back

Jacquizz Rodgers is currently the Bucs number one back, with 2018 second round pick Ronald Jones II (hopefully) on the come-up. Rodgers will be a free agent this March if he does not strike an extension with the Bucs or is franchise tagged. Jones didn’t show much promise in 2018, but he was just a rookie, so Tampa shouldn’t go spend a first round pick on a RB. It would be wise, however, for them to pick up a mid-tier back in free agency or the draft. A few suitable free agents are the Saints’ Mark Ingram, the Jets’ Bilal Powell, and the Seahawks’ Mike Davis. A few possible draftees are Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill, Ohio State’s Mike Weber, and Washington’s Myles Gaskin.

The Buccaneers’ defense was horrendous in 2018, and in most part due to the awful secondary. Far too many times was there a blown coverage or a wide open receiver down field due to some sort of preventable thing on part of the defense. Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves are some solid cornerbacks, but they still need a lot of help. And it certainly doesn’t help that Grimes is 36. Some possible free agent signings could be the Bears’ strong safety Adrian Amos, the Seahawks’ free safety Earl Thomas, the Rams’ free safety Lamarcus Joyner, and Broncos’ cornerback Bradley Roby. Through the draft, they could bring in cornerbacks Greedy Williams from LSU or DeAndre Baker from Georgia. Deionte Thompson from Alabama is the top safety prospect

Atlanta Falcons: Pass Rusher, Running Back

A 2015 first round pick, Vic Beasley has had an up and down career. He was promising as a rookie, broke out as a sophomore in 2016 during the Falcons’ Super Bowl run, but has had down years since then. They need to find a consistent rusher to pair with Beasley in order to save his career from mediocrity. Some free agents they could add are Denver’s Shane Ray, Minnesota’s Anthony Barr, or New England’s Trey Flowers.

Tevin Coleman is likely leaving in free agency, and Devonta Freeman just faced an injury-riddled season, which is never a good sign for anybody. Even if Freeman comes back in his original form or better, the Falcons will still need to find a suitable #2. Through free agency, they could go with Seattle’s Mike Davis, Minnesota’s Latavius Murray, or Kansas City’s Spencer Ware. Through the draft, they could select Memphis’ Darrell Henderson, Iowa State’s David Montgomery, or Stanford’s Bryce Love.

Carolina Panthers: Offensive Line, Defensive Back

Especially after Cam Newton’s shoulder injury, protecting him moving forward has to be a priority. In fact, if his injury hadn’t become an issue, Carolina may not have had a second half meltdown to miss the playoffs after starting 6-2. The Kalil brothers (Matt left tackle, Ryan center) are very good, but they are getting older. Ryan is 33 and Matt is 29, and they have dealt with injuries lately. Via free agency, they could pick up Cowboys’ tackle Cameron Fleming, Bears’ guard Eric Kush, or Cardinals’ guard Mike Iupati. They could draft Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor, Alabama tackle Jonah Williams, Oklahoma guard Cody Ford, or Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom.

Since the departure of Josh Norman, the Panthers have struggled in the defensive backfield. They could sign Bears’ cornerback Bryce Callahan, Broncos’ cornerback Bradley Roby, or Rams’ safeties Blake Countess or LaMarcus Joyner. They could draft Miss. State safety Jonathan Abram, Georgia cornerback DeAndre Baker, Washington cornerback Byron Murphy, or LSU cornerback Greedy Williams.

New Orleans Saints: Tight End, Running Back

Ben Watson is ancient, and their only other real threat at tight end is Josh Hill. It would be smart to get an aging Drew Brees a safety blanket that he can always target over the middle of the field. They could target Cincinnati’s Tyler Eifert or Tyler Kroft in free agency. However, I think it would be smartest to go the draft route, with guys like Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson/Noah Fant, or Alabama’s Irv Smith, Jr.

With Mark Ingram likely leaving in free agency, it will be imperative for New Orleans to find a suitable backup for star Alvin Kamara, most likely a power back to pair with Kamara’s lightning style. In free agency, they could go after Minnesota’s Latavius Murray or Detroit’s LeGarrette Blount. Through the draft, they could go with Alabama’s Josh Jacobs/Damien Harris, or Slippery Rock’s Wes Hills (a household name, I’m sure).