Category Archives: NFC South

Atlanta Falcons 2022 NFL Draft/UDFA recap

Can the Falcons now force teams to put their corners inside if they align both Kyle Pitts and Drake London at the slot positions? If nothing else, it could give away a number of pre-snap tendencies for the defense. Arthur Smith is drawing up formations as we speak.

But the Falcons needed much more than just an infusion of weapons on offense. They were pretty solid defensively, but the pass rush still lacked a bona fide star.

       
Atlanta
Falcons
Round,
Selection,
PlayerSchoolDN Big Board
Rank/
Grade
‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (8)
Drake London
WR/USC
8/1st Round
London's combination of route-running and athleticism are often clouded by speed concerns. The size and quickness could more than make up for the concerns.
2 (38)
Acquired from Carolina through the Jets via the Giants
Arnold Ebiketie
DE-OLB/Penn State, Temple
27/2nd Round
Ebiketie brings a unique blend of speed-to-power off the edge. While only an adequate bender, his hand usage and upper body strength were evident from the opening contest against Wisconsin through the season.
2 (58) Acquired from Tennessee
Troy Andersen
LB/Montana State
109/3rd Round
Andersen -an academic standout- has aligned at QB, LB and RB. He's even run by CBs as an X-WR (Texas Tech '19). The former Bobcat has to grow when it comes to anticipation at the LB spot reading the action.
3 (74)
Desmond Ridder
QB/Cincinnati
55/2nd Round
Ridder lost just seven of his 51 career outings. The foot speed is in place, but his strong arm shows much more capability if he can rein in the misses.
3 (82) Acquired from Indianapolis
DeAngelo Malone
OLB/Western Kentucky
98/3rd Round
Malone won two C-USA Defensive Player of the Year awards in school (2019, 2021) and finished with 34 sacks and nine forced fumbles. He also aligned at a number of spots in school.
5 (151)
Tyler Allgeier
RB/BYU
52/2nd Round
Allgeier got dinged for running a 4.6 40-yard dash, but his athleticism shone when the games were being played (1,606 yards, 5.8 YPC, 23 TDs). In fact, as a linebacker for the Cougars in 2019, he tallied 26 tackles, one forced fumble and one pass breakup. He has even shined in kickoff coverage (see USF '19).
6 (190)Justin ShafferOG/Georgia
300/4th RoundShaffer's consistent energy often outweighed any potential flaws in his game. If he can play under control, then he could challenge at least a backup spot in the team's rotation.
6 (213)John FitzPatrick
TE/Georgia
N/A
A very good in-line blocker, FitzPatrick began the season on the move for the 'Dawgs and continued to show incremental improvements with limited opportunities in the passing game. His size (6'7 262) makes him an imposing figure in two or three TE sets.
2022 UDFA Signings
DN Big Board Rank PlayerPositionsSchoolGradeRoundNasty’ Take:
287Tyler VrabelOTBoston College5.364th RoundVrabel started multiple years on the edge at left tackle, but fought through a tough knee injury for most of his final campaign. His quickness and hand-eye coordination impress, along with the size.
424Derrick TangeloDTPenn State, Duke4.9575th RoundWhile at Duke, the numbers didn’t truly reflect the impact that Tangelo could have on a game. Just like he did in the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl, he can walk back OGs into the lap of quarterbacks with his speed-to-power exhibitions. Can he use that to develop an arsenal of pass rush moves around it?
366Stanley Berryhill IIIAll-PurposeArizona5.125th RoundBerryhill’s work at gunner, punt returner and wide receiver combined to make him one of our all-purpose players in the draft. Continuing to excel at gunner (at 185 pounds) could be a challenge.
333Brad HawkinsS-LBMichigan 5.185th RoundNot many players were as dependable as the former high school WR in college. Hawkins made a habit of showing up, setting a Michigan team record for game appearances. Despite that, he finished with zero career interceptions.
541Kuony DengOLBCalifornia4.536th RoundAfter starting his career on a fast pace, injuries took away the majority of the last two seasons for Deng. Can the 6-foot-6, 245-pounder turn into a pass rusher?
Kana’i MaugaLB USCN/AN/AMauga (6’1 245), finished with 91 tackles in 2021 on a defense that largely underperformed. He has enough size and range to potentially find a role in the league
Bryce RodgersDTUC DavisN/AN/ARodgers, a Palo Alto native, posted career-highs in tackles, sacks and tackles for losses.
Tre WebbDB Montana State, San Jose StateN/AN/ACommunicates in the pre-snap. Out of quarters coverage, he is satisfactory breaking from the inside-out to match. Long strider. Ran down Nevada's Toa Taua early in the 2020 MWC Championship game. Fits as the eighth man in the box (4th QTR, Boise State '19).
Tyshaun James WRCentral Connecticut StateN/AN/AJames could rank as a sleeper to make the team at 6’2, 214 pounds. His size is similar to current Falcons WR Cordarrelle Patterson. The game is a bit different but he does more than just passes on the field. He rushed for five TDs in 2019.
Jared BernhardtQBFerris State, MarylandN/AN/AThe former Maryland lacrosse star had one heck of a year at QB. He led Ferris State to a national crown and largely did it with his legs against Valdosta State in the national title game, rushing for three TDs. He set records on his way to being a Tewaaraton Award finalist at Maryland, when he scored 51 goals in 2019.

Defensively, it has been a never-ending story regarding the Falcons need for a pass rusher. In fact, they haven’t had a double-digit sack artist since Vic Beasley’s 15.5 sacks in 2016. That, coincidently, was the Falcons’ last Super Bowl appearance. Can Ebiketie, Carter or Ogundeji stop the trend? Maybe DeAngelo Malone, the team’s third-round pick, turns into the pass rusher they’ve been seeking for years to turn the corner.

No matter who it is, the team has definitely begun to address the issue at its core.

Carolina Panthers 2022 NFL Draft/UDFA recap

The Panthers picked up a potential franchise left tackle in Ickey Ekwonu, who gets to stay in the state of North Carolina. Offensively, the Panthers have a formidable set of receivers to start the year with in former Cleveland Browns receiver Rashard Higgins, who should combine with DJ Moore, Robby Anderson and Terrance Marshall, Jr. to round off the team’s depth. They also have 2021 sixth-round pick Shi Smith, who put up an 86-yard receiving performance in December.

Carolina Panthers       
Round,
Selection,
PlayerSchoolDN Big Board
Rank/
Grade
‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (6)
Ikem "Ickey" EkwonuNC State
1/1st Round
Ekwonu gives the Panthers the flexibility to leave Taylor Moton on the right side of the offensive line. He may be the best run blocker in the draft despite playing on the perimeter.
3 (94)
Matt CorralQB/Ole Miss
40/2nd Round
If Corral learns to protect himself better, then his quick release and instincts in the second or third phase of the play could prove to shine.
4 (120)
Brandon SmithLB/Penn State
96/3rd Round
Smith's explosiveness doesn't always exude itself due to snapping the pictures a step late. He has a chance to become a better pro than collegian.
6 (189)
Amare BarnoDE-OLB/Virginia Tech
143/3rd Round
Barno just needs to add more weight for the NFL grind. The Hokies used him in a variety of roles this past season as a chess piece. He was much better in 2020 than he was in 2021.
6 (199)
Cade MaysOL/Tennessee, Georgia
143/3rd Round
Mays' balance needs slight improvement, but he showed increased mobility this past season at the RT spot. The former Vol works to envelop defenders on the edge. He has started at four of the five OL spots in school.
7 (242)
Kalon BarnesCB/Baylor
271/4th Round
Barnes has to improve stopping his charge on the intermediate concepts as a corner. He brings major upside as a gunner. If he can learn to control the 4.2 speed, there are possibilities for him as a long-term No. 3 or No. 4 at the least. He has plenty of familiarity with the staff and a leg up on the competition in terms of knowing the team’s defensive system.
Undrafted Free Agent signings
DN Big Board Rank PlayerPositionsSchoolGradeRoundNasty’ Take:
217Charleston RamboWRMiami (Fla.), Oklahoma 5.584th RoundRambo went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark in 2021 and it was largely due to his play speed and run after the catch capability. A lack of bulk hurt his charge.
262Arron MosbyOLBFresno State5.464th RoundMosby may not have met the requirements for some teams when projecting its rushers, but he’s been a four-year contributor and actually had experience playing defensive back. Continues to get better.
345Davis CheekQBElon5.175th RoundCheek was one of our favorite quarterbacks in this year’s draft due to his play speed and ball placement. A quirky release didn’t do him any favors and there were durability question marks.
349Khalan TolsonLBIllinois5.165th RoundTolson is a heat-seeking missile who improved his diagnostic skills. The fiery Fighting Illini defender never really took the next step in school, but he always flashed the capability.
364Josh BabiczTENorth Dakota State5.135th RoundBabicz’s size screams NFL starter, but the overall savvy as a receiving entity may have been a step behind. From a talent perspective, he has room for growth after playing in a pro-style system in school.
377Marquan McCallDT-NGKentucky5.1055th RoundOne of the Wildcats’ true team leaders, McCall dominated in stretches against top-notch centers. He ranks as a two-down defender and could possibly find a role for a team that needs inside beef.
542Isaiah Graham-MobleyLBBoston College, Temple 4.536th RoundGraham-Mobley was another connection from the Panthers’ Temple days. He has had injury issues in the past but, when available, he played well in 2021.
668Talolo Limu-JonesWR/H-BackEastern Washington3.947th RoundWe projected a possible move back to the tight end or H-back position for Limu-Jones. He was a part in Eric Barriere’s incredible success at the FCS level, as both a middle of the field entity and beyond.
714John LovettRBPenn State, Baylor3.49Free AgentLovett has all of the physical tools but never found a rhythm at Penn State. When playing with Rhule’s staff at Baylor, Lovett averaged nearly 6.4 yards per carry in 2019.
Drew HartlaubSPenn StateN/AN/AThe team certainly loves speed. After most thought they got the fastest player in the draft in the seventh round in Barnes, he was actually second. Hartlaub ran a 4.22 in the 40-yard dash on his Pro Day at Penn State. During his career, he posted 16 tackles on special teams.
Andrew Parchment WRFSU, Kansas, Northern Illinois N/AN/AParchment really began to hit his stride at Kansas back in 2019. Long strider. Body dexterity to nearly make twisting grabs (Coastal Carolina '20, underthrown fade). Comes off the ball in a compact manner. Drives off the ball with high knees and rolls speed outs (1st QTR, 3rd and 7, Baylor '19). FSU’s second-leading receiver had the occasional concentration lapse in school.
Ra’Shaun HenryWRVirginia, St. Francis (Pa.) N/AN/AHenry, another postseason workout warrior (4.4 40-yd, 10’10” BJ, 6.7 3-cone), was one of the Cavaliers’ best down the field targets over the last two seasons after transferring from St. Francis (Pa.).
Derek WrightWR Utah StateN/AN/AWright was a significant contributor down the field for the Aggies in 2021 as part of a new offensive system. Games like the Colorado State contest showed off his ability to track the ball through coverage. Postseason workouts displayed his feel for the vertical passing game.

77 Cade Mays and 69 Jamaree Salyer at Georgia
Cade Mays (No. 77 pictured, write-up below) and Jamaree Salyer (No. 69 pictured) were teammates at Georgia in 2019. Mays was taken in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft after starting at Tennessee as an offensive tackle.

Defensively, the NFL’s second-ranked defense under creative defensive coordinator Phil Snow had to garner a couple of reinforcements. The team needed to make up for the loss of Haason Reddick (Eagles) in free agency. Could the addition of sixth-round pick Amare Barno help fill at least some of the void? Much like Reddick, Barno was used in a number of roles in college due to his versatility.

In terms of the undrafted free agents, the Panthers did a viable job of getting a number of players who could be top-notch pickups or at least practice squad candidates. The team has intimate knowledge of several players they’ve worked with in the past at either Baylor or Temple. Some of those names include Graham-Mobley, Lovett and even their seventh-round selection Kalon Barnes.

2022 NFL Free Agency, Live Updates: NFC South

2022 NFC South free agency handed the Buccaneers a retirement from one of its veteran offensive lineman. The Falcons lost a key linebacker but picked up an All-Pro corner. Then they traded away a former league MVP. The Panthers lost one of its top pass rushers but picked up a four-time All-Pro punter to help its Top Five defense. It has been a busy couple of weeks in the NFC South.

NFC South

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Offensive free agents

  • RB Giovani Bernard (re-signed)
  • G Alex Cappa (Agreed to terms with the Bengals)
  • RB Leonard Fournette (re-signed)
  • QB Blaine Gabbert (re-signed)
  • QB Ryan Griffin (re-signed)
  • WR Chris Godwin (re-signed)
  • TE Rob Gronkowski
  • TE O.J. Howard (Agreed to terms with the Bills)
  • C Ryan Jensen (re-signed)
  • C Donell Stanley (released)
  • RB Ronald Jones II
  • RB Le’Veon Bell
  • WR Breshad Perriman (re-signed)
  • G Aaron Stinnie (re-signed)
  • T Josh Wells (re-signed)

Defensive free agents

2022 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • S Andrew Adams
  • CB Carlton Davis (re-signed)
  • CB Pierre Desir
  • DL Will Gholston (re-signed)
  • DL Steve McLendon
  • LB Kevin Minter
  • OLB Jason Pierre-Paul
  • DE Pat O’Connor (re-signed)
  • S Curtis Riley
  • CB Richard Sherman
  • DL Ndamukong Suh
  • S Jordan Whitehead (Agreed to terms with the Jets)
  • LS Zach Triner (re-signed)
  • Head coach Bruce Arians retired and former DC Todd Bowles signed a five-year contract to be the team’s next head coach
  • Agreed to terms with WR Russell Gage (Falcons), DB Logan Ryan (Giants), OL Fred Johnson (Bengals), S Keanu Neal (Cowboys)
  • Re-signed WR Chris Godwin to a three-year deal (after originally placing the franchise tag on him), RB Leonard Fournette to a three-year deal, CB Carlton Davis to a three-year deal, OL Ryan Jensen to a three-year deal, OL Aaron Stinnie to a one-year deal, OL Josh Wells to a one-year deal, WR Breshad Perriman to a one-year deal, DE Will Gholston to a one-year deal, LS Zach Triner to a two-year deal, RB Giovani Bernard, QB Ryan Griffin, DE Pat O’Connor, QB Blaine Gabbert
  • Lost TE O.J. Howard (Bills), OL A.J. Cappa (Bengals), S Jordan Whitehead (Jets)
  • QB Tom Brady retired and then decided to come back for another season in 2022
  • OL Ali Marpet retired after seven seasons
  • Traded a fifth-round pick to the New England Patriots for OG Shaq Mason

Atlanta Falcons

Offensive free agents

  • QB Josh Rosen
  • QB A.J. McCarron
  • RB Cordarrelle Patterson (re-signed)
  • WR Russell Gage (Agreed to terms with the Buccaneers)
  • WR Tajae Sharpe
  • TE Hayden Hurst (Agreed to terms with the Bengals)
  • TE Lee Smith
  • OL Josh Andrews
  • OL Jason Spriggs
  • OL Matt Gono
  • OL Colby Gossett (re-signed)

Defensive free agents

  • DL Jonathan Bullard
  • DL Mike Pennel
  • DL Tyeler Davison (released)
  • OLB Brandon Copeland
  • OLB Dante Fowler (released)
  • OLB Steven Means
  • ILB Foye Oluokun (Agreed to terms with the Jaguars)
  • ILB Daren Bates
  • ILB Emmanuel Ellerbee
  • CB Fabian Moreau
  • CB Isaiah Oliver (re-signed)
  • S Erik Harris (re-signed)
  • S Duron Harmon
  • S Shawn Williams
  • P Thomas Morstead
  • LS Josh Harris (Agreed to terms with the Chargers)

2022 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Traded QB Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2022 third-round draft pick (82nd overall)
  • Agreed to terms with QB Marcus Mariota (Raiders) on a two-year deal, CB Casey Hayward (Raiders) on a two-year deal, RB Damien Williams (Bears), OL Elijah Wilkinson (Bears), DE Lorenzo Carter (Giants), WR KhaDarel Hodge (Lions), WR Auden Tate (Bengals), WR Damiere Byrd (Bears), S Dean Marlowe (Lions), LS Beau Brinkley (Bears), LB Rashaan Evans (Titans), OT Germain Ifedi (Bears), TE Anthony Firkser (Titans), DT Vincent Taylor (Texans)
  • Re-signed OL Colby Gossett, CB Isaiah Oliver, S Erik Harris, WR Cordarrelle Patterson
  • Signed DT Anthony Rush on an original round tender
  • Released OLB Dante Fowler, DL Tyeler Davison
  • Lost ILB Foyesade Oluokun (Jaguars), WR Russell Gage (Buccaneers), LS Josh Harris (Chargers), TE Hayden Hurst (Bengals)

Carolina Panthers

Offensive free agents

  • TE Ian Thomas (re-signed)
  • C Matt Paradis
  • QB Cam Newton
  • OT Trenton Scott
  • OL John Miller
  • WR-KR Alex Erickson
  • WR Brandon Zylstra (re-signed)
  • LS J.J. Jansen
  • K Zane Gonzalez

Defensive free agents

  • CB Stephon Gilmore (Agreed to terms with the Colts)
  • CB Donte Jackson (re-signed)
  • OLB Haason Reddick (Agreed to terms with the Eagles)
  • DE-OLB Marquis Haynes (re-signed)
  • LB Jermaine Carter (Agreed to terms with the Chiefs)
  • DT DaQuan Jones (Agreed to terms with the Bills)
  • S Juston Burris (re-signed)
  • S Sean Chandler (re-signed)
  • OLB Frankie Luvu
  • OLB Julian Stanford
  • CB Rashaan Melvin (re-signed)
  • P Lachlan Edwards

2022 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Re-signed TE Ian Thomas on a three-year deal, OLB Frankie Luvu to a two-year deal, CB Rashaan Melvin, WR Brandon Zylstra, S Sean Chandler, S Juston Burris
  • Agreed to terms with OL Austin Corbett (Rams) on a three-year deal, S Xavier Woods (Vikings) on a three-year deal, P Johnny Hekker (Rams) on a three-year deal, LB Damien Wilson (Jaguars) on a two-year deal, WR Rashard Higgins (Browns) on a one-year deal, DT Matt Ioannidis (Commanders) on a one-year deal, LB Cory Littleton, OC Bradley Bozeman (Ravens) on a one-year deal, CB Chris Westry (Ravens)
  • Signed WR D.J. Moore to a four-year extension and re-signed CB Donte Jackson to a three-year extension, CB Rashaan Melvin, DE Marquis Haynes
  • Exercised an option on OLB Brian Burns
  • Lost OLB Haason Reddick (Eagles), DT DaQuan Jones (Bills), LB Jermaine Carter (Chiefs), CB Stephon Gilmore (Colts)

New Orleans Saints

Offensive free agents

  • OT Terron Armstead (Agreed to terms with the Dolphins)
  • QB Jameis Winston (re-signed)
  • WR-RB Ty Montgomery (Agreed to terms with the Patriots)
  • QB Trevor Siemian
  • WR Tre’Quan Smith (re-signed)
  • TE Garrett Griffin
  • WR Kenny Stills
  • OT Kyle Murphy

Defensive free agents

  • S Marcus Williams (Agreed to terms with the Ravens)
  • DB P.J. Williams (re-signed)
  • LB Kwon Alexander
  • S Jeff Heath
  • DT Jalyn Holmes
  • DE Christian Ringo
  • CB Kenneth Crawley

2022 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Agreed to terms S Marcus Maye (Jets) on a three-year deal, S Daniel Sorensen (Chiefs) on a one-year deal, QB Andy Dalton (Bears) on a one-year deal, OG Forrest Lamp (Bills) on a one-year deal, DT Jaleel Johnson (Texans), DE Taco Charlton (Steelers), S Justin Evans, TE JP Holtz (Bears)
  • Lost S Marcus Williams (Ravens), RB Ty Montgomery (Patriots), OT Terron Armstead (Dolphins)
  • Re-signed QB Jameis Winston to a two-year deal, CB Bradley Roby, WR Tre’quan Smith, CB P.J. Williams, RB Dwayne Washington
  • Placed RFA tenders on DT Shy Tuttle, WR Deonte Harris
  • S Malcolm Jenkins retired
  • Released QB Blake Bortles

2021 NFL Draft Recap: NFC South

The 2021 NFL Draft: NFC South recap features the selections of the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints. As veteran quarterbacks age and retire in the case of Drew Brees, the division opted to bring in youthful talent on the offensive side of the ball like Kyle Pitts, Kyle Trask, Terrace Marshall Jr. and Ian Book. However, defense wasn’t ignored in the 2021 NFL: NFC South recap. A lot of the players selected by the division were already playing in the South: Houston’s Payton Turner and Grant Stuard, South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn and UCF’s Richie Grant won’t have to travel far to help out their new professional teams.

Atlanta Falcons     
SelectionTeamPlayer SelectionPosition- SchoolDN Big Board Rank/ GradeNotes
1st round, 4th overallAtlanta FalconsKyle Pitts6’6 245/TE-Florida10/1st RoundNew HC Arthur Smith adds to Ryan's vast array of weapons in hopes of recapturing MVP form.
2nd round, 40th overallAtlanta Falcons (from Denver Broncos)Richie Grant5’11 197/S-UCF23/2nd RoundGrant finished his career with 10 interceptions largely as a result of his ability to steal bases on the football field.
3rd round, 68th overallAtlanta FalconsJalen Mayfield6’5 326/OT-Michigan68/2nd RoundDespite limited film, Mayfield was solid in the games viewed. Like former Philadelphia Eagles first-round pick Andre Dillard coming out of school, he takes a lot of the heat but wins most of his matchups due to his footwork.
4th round, 108th overallAtlanta FalconsDarren Hall6’0 189/CB-San Diego State98/3rd RoundHall’s ball skills have improved each season. We’ve always felt that he contained a good pace for playing off-man coverage, but his press-man improved in 2020. He still has issues being comfortable locating the ball down the field versus bigger receivers, and this could be a problem versus some of the receivers he’ll face on Sundays.
4th round, 114th overallAtlanta Falcons (from Denver Broncos)Drew Dalman6’3 300/OC-Stanford119/3rd RoundDalman has seen time at guard and provides at least a viable backup at any interior line position. His home will be center and the challenge revolves around being able to occasionally handle interior defensive linemen with no help.
5th round, 148th overallAtlanta FalconsTa’Quon Graham6'3 290/DT-Texas113/3rd RoundThe Temple High School (Tex.) product is a burgeoning talent capable of winning with quickness versus interior defensive linemen. His pad level needs to straighten itself out.
5th round, 182nd overallAtlanta Falcons (compensatory selection)Adetokunbo Ogundeji6’4 256/DE-Notre Dame132/3rd RoundUp until 2020, he was a productive backup who had garnered significant playing time along the defensive line. This past season, he began to learn how to more effectively keep distance from opponents when setting up his pass rush moves off the edge. We still think he needs to fully grow into his frame.
5th round, 183rd overallAtlanta Falcons (compensatory selection)Avery Williams5'9 193/All-Purpose-Boise State252/3rd RoundThe former Bronco set the all-time record for combined punt and kickoff return touchdowns in a career (nine). Physical enough as a tackler, the former walk-on also found time to force five fumbles in his career.
6th round, 187th overallAtlanta FalconsFrank Darby6'0 194/WR-Arizona State303/4th RoundDarby did not run quite as fast as expected, but the charismatic former Sun Devil got behind plenty of defensive backs in school despite inconsistent hand-eye coordination.
Carolina Panthers
SelectionTeamPlayer SelectionPosition- SchoolDN Big Board Rank/ GradeNotes
1st round, 8th overallCarolina PanthersJaycee Horn6’1 205 CB-South Carolina19/2nd RoundThe Panthers needed a big corner and they took one of the draft’s longer ones in Horn.
2nd round, 59th overallCarolina Panthers (from Cleveland Browns)Terrace Marshall, Jr.6’3 205/WR-LSU29/2nd RoundSmart. Lines up at each of the receiver spots for the team. There are instances where he wins on the perimeter by not giving away catch indicators for the defensive back in man coverage (see Auburn 2019 vs. Igbinoghene).
Prior to fracturing his foot against Vanderbilt, Marshall led the nation with six touchdown receptions.
3rd round, 73rd overallCarolina Panthers (from Philadelphia Eagles)Brady Christensen6’5 302/OT-BYU115/3rd RoundFor the most part, Christensen has been steady. There are some occasions where players get the best of him due to a questionable anchor (see Boyles, USF ’19; Wiley, UTSA ’20). In those instances, he has even been knocked to the ground. Christensen plays more with his feet than with his hand placement, so his strong postseason helped his value.
3rd round, 83rd overallCarolina Panthers (from Chicago Bears)Tommy Tremble6'4 248/H-back-Notre Dame79/3rd RoundTremble’s tempo will catch the eye of an evaluator. Quite simply, he plays the game at the right clip. The team moved him around all over the place and probably could have used him much more in the passing game. He is fluid in-and-out of cuts and displays quickness to go along with very good foot speed. It will be interesting to see how Carolina decides to use his skill-set.
4th round, 126th overallCarolina Panthers (from Tennessee Titans)Chuba Hubbard6'0 210/RB-Oklahoma State95/3rd RoundIf the former world class youth sprinter can regain his 2019 form, the sky could be the limit. For that to happen, he has to hang on to the ball.
5th round, 158th overallCarolina Panthers (via Houston Texans (from New England Patriots)Daviyon Nixon6’3 304/DT-Iowa89/3rd RoundOperates as a one-technique DT, three-technique DT and DE on occasion. Positive foot speed. He’s fast enough to play behind the front side of the run-ning play and make plays in chase mode.
The slippery nature, however, will only be supported by better lower body synchronization at the next level.
5th round, 166th overallCarolina Panthers (via Tennessee Titans)Keith Taylor6’2 191/CB-Washington240/4th RoundThe smaller, savvy quicker receivers can still beat him to the spot on possession concepts when he doesn’t disrupt their releases at the line of scrimmage. We envision him getting looks from teams that like bigger corners capable of using press-man or bail techniques on the outside lanes.
6th round, 193rd overallCarolina PanthersDeonte Brown6’3 364/OG-Alabama286/4th RoundExperienced 26-game starter. Has started at both guard spots. Mammoth. Completely wins wrestling matches on man blocks. For a big man, he showcases decent footwork as a pulling guard.
6th round, 204th overallCarolina Panthers (from Chicago Bears)Shi Smith5’10 186/WR-South Carolina76/2nd RoundDuring his final campaign, he maintained his field speed and continued to improve as a route runner. He still left some catchable passes on the field from time-to-time and that will be a concern for a player who has to overcome questionable size.
6th round, 222nd overallCarolina Panthers (compensatory selection)Thomas Fletcher6’1 237/LS-Senior563/N/AStarted every game of his Alabama career. He’s capable of snapping at a 75-to-85-degree angle for directional kick purposes. Registers very good long snap times, ranging as low as 0.66 seconds (1st QTR/10:11, Citrus Bowl ‘20).
7th round, 232nd overallCarolina Panthers (from Tennessee Titans via Atlanta Falcons through Miami Dolphins)Phil Hoskins6’5 313/DL-Kentucky486/6th RoundHoskins -a sixth-year player- impressed with his movement for a longer, taller defender. We were surprised he didn’t control the action more with his hands. There were times when he wanted to get up the field. Perhaps it was a result of his initial production at Kentucky rushing the passer (2018).
New Orleans Saints
SelectionTeamPlayer SelectionPosition- SchoolDN Big Board Rank/ GradeNotes
1st round, 28th overallNew Orleans SaintsPayton Turner6’5 290/DE-Houston111/3rd RoundTurner impressed on his Pro Day with a 4.33 20-yard shuttle time at 290 pounds. Turner got better during his career week-to-week.
2nd round, 60th overallNew Orleans SaintsPete Werner6’2 240/LB-Ohio State103/3rd RoundWerner -a solid wrap tackler with range- offers NFL teams plenty of options. He can cover tight ends and line up as an off-or-on the ball linebacker. The former Buckeye contains comfort walking out over slot receivers (in zone or man). In fact, he was seen dropping into the deep middle one-third, as a two-deep safety and in a quasi robber position.
3rd round, 76th overallNew Orleans Saints (from New York Giants)Paulson Adebo6’1 198/CB-Stanford47/2nd RoundAdebo put together one season of production in his career (2018) that essentially matched the career totals of the other highly-ranked cornerbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft. Aside from a Pro Day workout, he hadn’t been seen from NFL teams in person in over a year and a half.
Staying more square -in press or off-man coverage- could help Adebo develop into a front line starter.
4th round, 133rd overallNew Orleans SaintsIan Book6’0 210/QB-Notre Dame290/4th RoundSome of his fundamentals have to improve. He will drop his elbow and it severely affects his down-to-down accuracy. This is a big reason why he was inconsistent on out-breaking patterns. Interestingly, he actually was better on third down than first down as a senior.
6th round, 206th overallNew Orleans Saints (from Indianapolis Colts)Landon Young6'7 305/OT-Kentuccky218/4th RoundThe former state championship wrestler has no problem grinding it out on the perimeter. He is a solid run blocker and rarely did he struggle to finish blocking assignments in that regard. NFL evaluators will nitpick about his lack of elite foot speed, but it is satisfactory.
7th round, 255th overallNew Orleans SaintsKawaan Baker6’1 210/All-Purpose-South Alabama242/4th RoundSouth Alabama moved him into the slot, motioned him, aligned him outside and even used his skills at the quarterback position in Wildcat formations. His stride is easy and smooth. Although he plays the game in a very calm manner that allows him to make a number of difficult things look easy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
SelectionTeamPlayer SelectionPosition- SchoolDN Big Board Rank/ GradeNotes
1st round, 32nd overallTampa Bay BuccaneersJoe Tryon 6’5 252/DE-Washington69/2nd RoundTryon has played from a two-point stand-up OLB or with his hand in the dirt. This was a perfect scheme-fit for the Buccaneers.
2nd round, 64th overallTampa Bay BuccaneersKyle Trask6’5 236/QB-Florida158/3rd RoundTrask is solid on in-breaking throws to tight ends, slants to his wideouts and crossing patterns. His uptick in production in 2020 largely involved an increased efficiency on fades, posts and out-breaking patterns. Much of this revolved around enhanced timing and anticipation. His physical skills are solid, if unspectacular.
3rd round, 95th overallTampa Bay BuccaneersRobert Hainsey6’4 302/OG-Notre Dame127/3rd RoundDuring school, he often won with the shock in his punch on the perimeter. He would get into trouble with pad level (where he could get out-leveraged) or when he stopped his feet (forcing him to crossover in pass pro). Overall, his down-to-down consistency stood out in the film viewed.
4th round, 129th overallTampa Bay BuccaneeersJaelon Darden5'8 174/All-Purpose-North Texas262/4th RoundFormer North Texas wide receiver Jaelon Darden put in some serious work during school. He finished his career with a resounding 39 touchdowns (38 receiving, one punt return) and he mostly did it with flair. He’s fast, slippery and smooth.
5th round, 176th overallTampa Bay BuccaneersK.J. Britt6’0 239/LB-Auburn160/3rd RoundBritt is a true head banger with good feet, explosiveness through the hips and a high football IQ. We have seen him produce with violent collisions on special teams as well. Special teams may be where he initially makes his mark, but do not underestimate his potential impact on first and second down.
7th round, 251st overallTampa Bay Buccaneers (from Pittsburgh Steelers)Chris Wilcox6’2 198/CB-BYU372/5th RoundMuch like former BYU cornerback Michael Davis (Los Angeles Chargers), Wilcox is a height/weight/speed prospect who has flashed on video over the years. Like Davis, his length is what will intrigue NFL teams. There have been times that his confidence has been below average, yet it is not due to his physical skill-set. Wilcox has length, foot speed and decent footwork.
7th round, 259th overallTampa Bay BuccaneeersGrant Stuard5’11 230344/5th RoundStuard’s biggest challenge moving forward will be proving to NFL evaluators that he can break down to tackle versus runners with wiggle. In addition, he has to also show that his stiffness can be overcome in man coverage. Due to outstanding field speed, he often corrected his angles at the collegiate level. There is no doubt with his non-stop, energetic approach that he can most certainly add a physical special teams element.

2021 NFL Free Agency, Live Updates: NFC South

The Carolina Panthers recently made one of the biggest moves of the offseason by trading for New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. In the division’s arms race, where does Darnold rank in a group that includes Tom Brady, Jameis Winston and Matt Ryan?

NFC South

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Offensive free agents

QB Ryan Griffin

QB Blaine Gabbert

C A.Q. Shipley (retired)

LG Aaron Stinnie

LG Joe Haeg

RG Earl Watford

RT Josh Wells

RB Leonard Fournette

RB Lesean McCoy

RB Kenjon Barner

RB T.J. Logan

TE Rob Gronkowski (re-signed)

TE Antony Auclair

WR Antonio Brown

WR Jaydon Mickens

WR Chris Godwin (Franchised)

WR Cyril Grayson (re-signed)

Defensive free agents

ILB Deone Bucannon

ILB Jack Cichy

ILB Kevin Minter (re-signed)

OLB Shaquill Barrett (re-signed)

OLB LaVonte David (re-signed)

DT Ndamukong Suh

DT Steve McLendon

DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches

DE Pat O’Connor

CB Ross Cockrell

CB Ryan Smith

S Andrew Adams

Special Teams

LS Zach Triner (re-signed)

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Re-signed DE Shaq Barrett to a four-year deal, LB Lavonte David to a two-year deal, LB Kevin Minter to a one-year deal, TE Tanner Hudson, TE Rob Gronkowski, DE Pat O’Connor, WR Cyril Grayson, DE Jeremiah Ledbetter, LS Zach Triner
  • Placed the franchise tag on WR Chris Godwin
  • Lost OC A.Q. Shipley (retired)

Atlanta Falcons

Offensive free agents

C Alex Mack (Agreed to terms with the 49ers)

G Justin McCray (Agreed to terms with the Texans)

G James Carpenter

RT John Wetzel

RT Matt Gono

RB Todd Gurley

RB Brian Hill

QB Matt Schaub

QB Kurt Benker

TE Luke Stocker

WR Laquon Treadwell

WR Brandon Powell

WR Christian Blake (re-signed)

WR Greg Dortch                           

Defensive free agents

DT Jacob Tuioti-Mariner (re-signed)

DE Charles Harris

DE Allen Bailey

DE Steven Means

LB Edmond Robinson

LB LaRoy Reynolds

FS Ricardo Allen

S Keanu Neal

S Sharrod Neasman

S Damontae Kazee

CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson

CB Darqueze Dennard

CB Tyler Hall (re-signed)

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Re-signed K Younghoe Koo, CB Tyler Hall, WR Christian Blake, DT Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, TE Jaeden Graham
  • Re-worked contract of DT Tyeler Davidson
  • Released S Ricardo Allen, DE Allen Bailey, OG James Carpenter
  • Lost G Justin McCray (Texans), OC Alex Mack (49ers)

Carolina Panthers

Offensive free agents

C Tyler Larsen

G Chris Reed

LG Michael Schofield

RT Russel Okung

RT Trenton Scott

RG John Miller

RB Mike Davis

FB Alex Armah (Agreed to terms with Saints)

TE Chris Manhertz

TE Seth Devalve

TE Collin Thompson

WR Curtis Samuel (Agreed to terms with the WFT)

WR Pharaoh Cooper

WR Brandon Zylstra

WR Keith Kirkwood

Defensive free agents

DE Efe Obada

DE Stephen Weatherly (agreed to terms with Vikings)

DT Kawann Short

DT Woodrow Hamilton

FS Tre Boston

S Kenny Robinson

CB Corn Elder

CB Rasul Douglas

CB Natrell Jamerson

ILB Adarius Taylor

OLB Julian Stanford

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Re-signed WR Keith Kirkwood, WR Brandon Zylstra, WR Ishmael Hyman, RT Trenton Scott, TE Colin Thompson, K Joey Slye
  • Agreed to terms with OT Cam Erving (Cowboys), OG Pat Elflein (Jets), TE Stephen Sullivan (Seahawks), OLB Haason Reddick (Cardinals), LB Denzel Perryman (Chargers), CB Rashaan Melvin (Jaguars)
  • Placed the franchise tag on OT Taylor Moton
  • Lost DE Stephen Weatherly (Vikings), P Matt Palardy (Dolphins), WR Curtis Samuel (WFT), FB Alex Armah (Saints)
  • Traded a 2021 sixth-round pick, and second and fourth round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft to the New York Jets in exchange for QB Sam Darnold

New Orleans Saints

Offensive free agents

QB Jameis Winston (re-signed)

RT James Hurst (re-signed)

C Will Clapp

C Cameron Tom (agreed to terms with Dolphins)

LG Nick Easton

RB Ty Montgomery (re-signed)

RB Dwayne Washington (re-signed)

FB Michael Burton

TE Josh Hill (agreed to terms with the Lions)

TE Jared Cook (Agreed to terms with the Chargers)

TE Cole Wick

TE Jason Vander Laan

WR Emmanuel Sanders (Agreed to terms with the Bills)

WR Bennie Fowler

WR Austin Carr

Defensive free agents

DT Sheldon Rankins

DE Noah Spence (re-signed)

DE Trey Hendrickson (Agreed to terms with the Bengals)

LB ILB Kwon Alexander

LB Craig Robertson

LB Alex Anzalone

CB Janoris Jenkins (Agreed to terms with the Titans)

CB P.J. Williams

S Marcus Williams (re-signed)

S D.J. Swearinger

S J.T. Gray

CB Johnson Bademosi

CB Ken Crawley

CB Justin Hardee (Agreed to terms with the Jets)

2021 Free Agency report/Other Notes:

  • Re-signed RB Ty Montgomery, RB Dwayne Washington, DE Noah Spence, S J.T. Gray, DE Marcus Willoughby, QB Jameis Winston
  • Placed the franchise tag on S Marcus Williams
  • Agreed to terms with FB Alex Armah (Panthers)
  • Lost QB Drew Brees (retired), TE Josh Hill (Lions), WR Jake Kumerow (Bills), DE Trey Hendrickson (Bengals), CB Justin Hardee (Jets)
  • Released WR Emmanuel Sanders (Bills), CB Janoris Jenkins (Titans), LB Kwon Alexander, P Thomas Morstead, TE Josh Hill (Lions), OG Nick Easton
  • Traded DT Malcom Brown to the Jacksonville Jaguars

2020 NFL Draft recap: NFC South

Carolina Panthers  Notable pick: Gross-Matos has a chance to benefit from one-on-one opportunities as the Panthers continue to diversify its defensive front. He and 2019 first-round pick Brian Burns could become bookends on the outside edges.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (7) Derrick Brown6’4 326 DT-Auburn10/1st Round Brown won’t necessarily provide an immediate pass rush upgrade over the since-departed Gerald McCoy. He will, however, provide immediate returns as a defender who will require double teams at nearly 330 pounds. His range belies that of a player in his weight class.
2 (38) Yetur Gross-MatosDE-Penn State14/2nd RoundGross-Matos is young and probably hasn’t come close to tapping his unlimited potential. For him to do, he has to improve affecting the three-step passing game once his pass rush has been stymied.
2 (64) Jeremy Chinn6’3 221
DB-Southern Illinois
39/2nd RoundChinn moved around in school but his value can come as a multi-purpose safety. He has the skills to cover tight ends. His most impressive characteristic is the ability to close from the inside-out on out-breaking patterns. At 221 pounds, he has to get better at not settling his feet in one-on-one coverage.
4 (113)Troy Pride, Jr.6’2 202
CB-Notre Dame
201/4th RoundPride closes routes from the outside-in, runs extremely well and is frequently in good position. The next step involves finishing in those moments.
5 (152)Kenny Robinson6’2 202
S-West Virginia
N/ARobinson is another safety with special teams value and above average range. His biggest knock at West Virginia was the occasional missed one-on-one tackle, something he largely improved as a St. Louis Battlehawk in the XFL.

6 (184)
Brayvion Roy
6’1 333
DT-Baylor
241/4th Round
Roy was often lauded by the Baylor coaching staff (now in Carolina) for his pure power. The former Bear is tough to move but his lack of length caused him to fall to Day 3 of the draft process.
7 (221)
Stantley Thomas-Oliver III
6’0 192
CB-FIU
167/3rd Round
We think Thomas-Oliver III has an outside shot of making the team because of his upside in man coverage. The former WR caught 35 passes for 486 yards in 2016 for FIU.
Atlanta Falcons  Notable picks: For the Falcons to spend a seventh-round pick on Hofrichter underscores the importance of the kicking game. Hofrichter’s strong leg can travel outside, but he tallied 72 punts of 50-plus yards in school. Can he handle kickoff duties?
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (16) A.J. Terrell 6’1 195
CB-Clemson
34/2nd Round Terrell made his mark at Clemson by playing a large majority of man coverage. Although he gave up some plays, his short memory makes him a fit at the position.
2 (47) Marlon Davidson6’3 303
DT-Auburn
40/2nd Round Davidson can basically play any of the four defensive line spots but may project as a legitimate three-technique on third downs. His work off the edge has been very good in the run game and pedestrian as a pass rusher.
3 (78) Matt Hennessy6’4 302
OC-Temple
52/2nd Round Hennessy has outstanding lateral agility, average pop and good range. This is a pick for the near future with Alex Mack still in the fold at center. It may give time for Hennessy to get stronger and provide depth at the three interior line spots.
4 (119) Mykal Walker6’3 230
OLB-Fresno State
3rd Round Walker’s work in school was often as a Rush OLB, but he will get the opportunity to develop as an exchange LB with the hope that he can provide immediate special teams coverage value. His work in the postseason at the exchange LB spot improved his draft stock.
4 (134)Jaylinn Hawkins6’2 208
S-Cal
4th Round Hawkins -a former WR- continued to improve filling as a tackler (see vs. Kelley, UCLA ’19). The ball skills show up in some downfield moments, but his angles have been inconsistent.
Atlanta Falcons first-round pick A.J. Terrell (No. 8 pictured) was frequently given man-to-man assignments in Clemson’s defense.
7 (228)
Sterling Hofrichter
5’10 196
P-Syracuse
462/6th Round
After the Falcons released longtime punter Matt Bosher during the offseason, there was an opening for a punter/kickoff specialist. Hofrichter did both well during his stay at Syracuse.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers  Notable pick: Vaughn’s impact at Vanderbilt goes beyond the numbers. His contact balance, receiving skills and underrated long speed could be the jolt the Buccaneers need in the running game.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (13) Tristan Wirfs6’5 320
OT-Iowa
8/1st RoundWirfs has All-Pro potential as an OG or OT, but most likely projects on the edges. He was more dominant a run blocker than pass protector.
2 (45) Antoine Winfield, Jr.5’9 203
S-Minnesota
19/2nd Round Winfield, Jr. was a solid nickel back earlier in his career, but injuries stopped his charge. He put it all together as a safety in 2019 and -if healthy- the best may be yet to come. He is entering a young, crowded defensive backfield that will benefit from his competitive nature.
3 (76) Ke’Shawn
Vaughn
5’10 214
RB-Vanderbilt
65/2nd Round Vaughn’s productivity (back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons), quickness, field speed and balance were undone by nagging injury problems. He played his best against the best competition in school.
5 (161)Tyler Johnson6’1 206
WR-Minnesota
156/4th Round Johnson finished his storied career with 33 receiving TDs. There are questions about his short-striding nature and ball security, but none concerning strength.
6 (194)  Khalil Davis6’1 308
DT-Nebraska
144/3rd RoundDavis played some at DE and DT in school, but his natural NFL position will be inside. The all-conference track & field thrower’s 4.79 speed didn’t consistently show up down-to-down, but he impressed the last two seasons.
7 (241)Chappelle Russell6’2 236
LB-Temple 
296/4th Round Russell’s movement and play speed in 2019 made it seem as if his knee injuries were a thing of the past.
7 (245)Raymond CalaisAll-purpose/Louisiana-Lafayette370/5th Round In 49 career games, Calais averaged nearly eight yards per carry. In addition, he was one of the draft ‘s
Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round pick Tristan Wirfs posted the second-best all-time mark in the state of Iowa in the shot put (66-3 1/4).
New Orleans Saints  Notable Pick: Trautman has a chance to develop into a very good NFL tight end. He runs routes like a wide receiver and offers flex potential. He may have an opportunity to steal repetitions from incumbent No. 2 tight end Josh Hill.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (24) Cesar Ruiz 6’3 307
OC-Michigan
31/2nd Round Ruiz has all of the requisite tools to get to and complete most of his assignments. He has to finish blocks with more tenacity in order to become the player the team envisions.
3 (74)Zack Baun6’3 238
LB-Wisconsin
16/2nd Round Baun was often lauded as one of the Big Ten’s best pass rushers over the last two seasons, but the former Badger also found time to pick off two passes (TD) and showed upside in pass coverage.
3 (105)Adam Trautman 6’5 255
TE-Dayton
128/3rd Round Trautman’s 6.78 3-cone time at the 2020 NFL Combine ranked as one of the more impressive testing numbers during the postseason.
4 (120) Tommy Stevens 6’4 237
QB/All-purpose-Mississippi State
430/5th Round If Saints fans want to envision a possible role for Stevens, look no further than how former Penn State OC and Mississippi State HC Joe Moorhead used him as a Nittany Lion. It could be his path to making the roster. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry with 8 TDs in a slash-type role in Happy Valley.
New Orleans Saints third-round pick Adam Trautman, pictured, averaged a touchdown catch every 5.74 receptions in school.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DB Antoine Winfield, Jr: 2020 NFL Draft, 2nd Round, 45th overall

After two back-to-back seasons thwarted by injury, Winfield, Jr. bounced back to earn the 2019 Big Ten’s Woodson-Tatum Defensive Back of the Year Award. His seven interceptions were the fourth-best total in the nation and led the Big Ten. The former Golden Gopher defender was a big part of the team’s 11-win campaign. He joins a young, athletic secondary in Tampa.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Tristan Wirfs: 2020 NFL Draft, 1st Round, 13th overall

The former high school state champion wrestler brings a similar temperament to the football field. Wirfs has started at both tackle spots and earned All-Big Ten honors for the Iowa Hawkeyes as a senior. He contains potential at a minimum of four different offensive line spots but should see time early in his career on the edges.

Atlanta Falcons P Sterling Hofrichter: 2020 NFL Draft, 7th Round, 228th overall

Hofrichter’s strong leg traveled both inside and outside during his career for the Syracuse Orange. He registered 72 punts of 50 yards or more. The AP third-team All-American allowed just 17 yards on 10 punt returns in 2019. Over the course of his stay in school, he improved as a directional punter.

DraftNasty Rewind: Atlanta Falcons punter Matt Bosher

DraftNasty sat down with former Miami (Fla.) placekicker/punter/kickoff specialist Matt Bosher over nine years ago to talk about his plan for attacking the NFL. At the time, the three-time All-ACC kicker was still figuring out what NFL position he would play full-time.

Matt Bosher, punter, Atlanta Falcons, DraftNasty Magazine
Atlanta Falcons punter Matt Bosher (No. 5 pictured) was on DraftNasty’s radar nearly a decade ago and is still going strong today. The nine-year pro has been among the NFL’s leading punters and kickoff specialists ever since arriving from the ‘U.’

It turns out he has become a pretty good punter/kickoff specialist for the Atlanta Falcons. He has a career 55-percent touchback percentage on kickoffs and has averaged nearly 46 yards (45.7) per punt. Bosher has ranked in the Top Five for punting average five times in his nine-year career. In the process, he has posted an impressive 28 tackles, which was something he discussed in our sit down with the former Hurricane.