NFC South Draft Grades: Falcons, Panthers Fill Need Areas

Richard BowlerSenior Analyst IApril 27, 2008

NFC South Draft Grades

Atlanta Falcons

Picks: 11

1st rd. (3) Matt Ryan QB

1st rd. (21) Sam Baker OT

2nd rd. (37) Curtis Lofton LB

3rd rd. (68) Chevis Jackson CB

3rd rd. (84) Harry Douglas WR

3rd rd. (98) Thomas DeCoud S

5th rd. (138) Robert James OLB

5th rd. (154) Kroy Biermann OLB

6th rd. (172) Thomas Brown RB

7th rd. (212) Wilrey Fontenot CB

7th rd. (232) Keith Zinger TE

Grade: A

Best Pick: Sam Baker

Sleeper: Harry Douglas

Comments: A solid draft in which the Falcons picked a face of the franchise and will try to move on from Michael Vick. I love what they did in the second and third rounds adding four solid players that could contribute next season. I like the addition of tackle Sam Baker to protect the backside of new QB Matt Ryan.


Carolina Panthers

Picks: 9

1st rd. (13) Jonathan Stewart RB

1st rd. (19) Jeff Otah OT

3rd rd. (67) Charles Godfrey CB

3rd rd. (74) Dan Connor ILB

5th rd. (141) Gary Barnidge TE

6th rd. (181) Nick Hayden DT

7th rd. (221) Hilee Taylor OLB

7th rd. (241) Geoff Schwartz OT

7th rd. (250) Mackenzy Berneau OG

Draft Grade: A

Best Pick: Dan Connor

Sleeper: Gary Barnidge

Comments: A good draft for Carolina especially at the top with two blue-chip prospects in Stewart and Otah. Stewart will help add some needed punch to the Panthers’ offense which absolutely needs it. They also got excellent value with the picks of LB Dan Connor and TE Gary Barnidge, who both should contribute immediately.


New Orleans Saints

Picks: 6

1st rd. (7) Sedrick Ellis DT

2nd rd. (40) Tracy Porter CB

5th rd. (144) DeMario Pressley

5th rd. (164) Carl Nicks OT

6th rd. (178) Taylor Mehlhaff PK

7th rd. (237) Adrian Arrington WR

Draft Grade: A-

Best Pick Sedrick Ellis

Sleeper: Adrian Arrington

Comments: The key to this draft for the Saints is first pick Sedrick Ellis, who could potentially be the difference in turning around a mediocre defense. Look for cornerback Tracy Porter to be a starter by the first week of the season. I also like the pick Adrian Arrington in the seventh round because of his upside.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers


1st rd. (20) Aqib Talib CB

2nd rd. (58) Dexter Jackson WR

3rd rd. (83) Jeremy Zuttah OG

4th rd. (115) Dre Moore DT

5th rd. (160) Josh Johnson QB

6th rd. (175) Geno Hayes OLB

7th rd. (238) Cory Boyd RB

Draft Grade: C-

Best Pick :Jeremy Zuttah

Sleeper: Jeremy Zuttah

Comments: This is a draft that I didn’t really like. My biggest problem is the drafting of a QB on team that has five on the roster. Aqib Talib will fill the void left at corner from the departure of Brian Kelly. I do like the pickup of versatile offensive linemen Jeff Zuttah who can play both guard and tackle.


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