Category Archives: NFC South

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.

Tyler Hall 5’10 190 CB-KR Wyoming

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Has started at CB, nickel and KOR. His feet never stop moving in the down (either in the return game or at DB). Uses a catch technique in press-man on the goal line and looks over the inside shoulder of WRs to play through the ball (GL, 1st QTR, Missouri ’19; then PBU, 2nd QTR). Out of his shuffle zone-turn, he transitions with fluidity vs. speed outs (PBU, 1st QTR, Georgia State ’19). Contains a relatively smooth motor-press bump-and-run technique. Squeezes to the upfield hip when WRs establish inside releases. He also squeezes to the upfield shoulder of WRs and uses the sidelines as an extra defender when defending fade patterns (gets head around for PBU, 2nd QTR/4:38, Missouri ’19). Goes for the rip-and-strip as a tackler (FF, 1st QTR/5:34, Missouri ’19). Forced four fumbles in his career. Although he receives the contact, he is willing to come up as a rolled-up CB to tackle in two-deep zones (2nd and 7, 2nd QTR/7:24, Missouri ’19). On middle kickoff returns, he displays good contact balance and vision to hit the return in a forward motion. Possesses top-end speed in the open field (Texas State ’17).

Weaknesses: Didn’t show a level of recovery speed trying to chase down Utah State’s Saiosi Mariner in 2019. Watch getting opened so quickly in your motor-press man technique. Gets stuck on stalk blocks too long on the perimeter (Nance, Missouri ’19). Loses WRs in the second phase of the down when plastering (allowed TD, GL, Missouri ’19). Sudden jerks cause him to react too violently and he raises his frame in bump-and-run (3rd and 10, 1st QTR, Arizona Bowl ’19). Double clicks show up once he’s opened his hips to break back downhill in off-man coverage (3rd QTR, Missouri ’19). Missed the UNLV game in 2019 due to a concussion.

Other Notes:

  • Attended Juniper Serra HS (Calif.) and was named a 1st Team All-Mission League selection
  • 2017 (5 sts): 30 tackles, ½ TFL, 2 INTs and 4 PBUs; 33.9 yds/KR and 2 TDs
  • 2018 (11 sts): 39 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, INT and 9 PBUs; 22.4 yds/KR
  • 2019 (12 gms): 37 tackles, 72-yd INT-TD and 8 PBUs; 33.4 yds/KR
  • Career Stats: 107 tackles, 3 TFLs, 4 FFs, FR, 4 INTs (97 yds, TD), 22 PBUs; 31.7 yds/KR and 2 TDs (28 returns
  • 2020 Wyoming Pro Day: 5’10 190 18 reps-225 lbs, 4.4 40-yd, 38” VJ, 7.0 3-cone

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): We kept watching Hall and looking for negatives other than him being slightly undersized. It was hard to find many. He didn’t make the number of plays on the ball you would expect from a player with his level of footwork and movement skills. Hall transitions in-and-out of his breaks like a high-round pick. The former Cowboy finished third in the country in kickoff return average as a junior due to his foot speed and initial burst. He would have been among the nation’s leaders again in 2019 if not for just eight returns. Hall is the definition of an all-purpose player, but it is questionable if he can hold up as a full-time kickoff returner. If not, he has upside as a nickel back or outside corner. The California native has Day 3 value in this year’s draft.

2019 NFL Draft recap, pick-by-pick: NFC South

Panthers first-round pick Brian Burns (No. 99 pictured) finished his career with 24 quarterback sacks, 39 tackles for losses, seven forced fumbles, seven pass break-ups and three blocked kicks.

Carolina Panthers Notable picks: While Burns will be expected to provide the team’s best pass rush threat in years, it is Little who could be tasked with protecting the franchise in QB Cam Newton.  Grier will compete with Taylor Heineke and Kyle Allen for the backup job.  Scarlett has a chance to earn repetitions as the team continues to look for a viable backup to workhorse Christian McCaffrey.  Daley has starting tools if he can improve his hand placement.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (16) Brian Burns DE-OLB/

Florida State

28/2nd Round Burns’ energy and ability to turn the corner is exactly what the Panthers needed coming out of this draft.  Burns is the first defensive end the team has taken in the first round since Julius Peppers back in 2002.
2 (37) Greg Little OT/Ole Miss 59/2nd Round It would be assumed that Little can step right in to start over incumbent Taylor Moton, who was more than serviceable as a right tackle in 2018.  If Little can get it done on the left side, then Moton can move back to right tackle and expect Darryl Williams to slide inside to guard. 
3 (100) Will Grier QB/West Virginia 229/4th Round Grier, a Charlotte native, gets an opportunity to compete for a backup role and provides insurance if Cam Newton’s shoulder doesn’t return to form.  Several teams were higher on Grier than even his draft position indicates, but we think he landed in a spot where he can improve his pocket presence.
4 (115) Christian

Miller

DE-OLB/

Alabama

303/4th Round We felt as if Miller’s game early on in 2019 would lead to him getting looks and the Panthers grabbed him early on Day 3.  The Panthers will continue to use more multiple looks with HC Ron Rivera calling the defense due to his 3-4 background.  This pick is a move in that direction.  Miller improved dramatically as a pass rusher in 2018. The loss of Thomas Davis in free agency may mean that Miller competes for a spot at an exchange linebacker spot.
5 (154) Jordan

Scarlett

RB/Florida 293/4th Round Scarlett landed in a good spot because he is a very physical runner. Despite some stiffness, the team’s gap-schemed runs fit his playing style very well.  He has above average balance and will compete with Cameron Artis-Payne for reps.
6 (212)

Acquired from Denver via San Francisco

Dennis

Daley

OT/South Carolina 192/4th Round For years, the team has lacked depth at tackle.  This pick could be a backup plan if Daryl Williams leaves in free agency in 2020.  Daley was one of the more nimble pass protectors in the 2019 NFL Draft, but his hand placement is inconsistent.  It led to concentration lapses in school.
7 (237)

Acquired from Denver via Houston

Terry

Godwin

WR/Georgia 117/3rd Round Godwin’s dominant week of East-West Shrine practices ensured a draft slot but he could have gone much higher.  The former four-star recruit is adept at running all of the required slot patterns with unique quickness and savvy.  At just 185 pounds, is he big enough to contribute on special teams? 

Lindstrom (No. 75 pictured) often opened holes for one of the ACC’s best running backs in AJ Dillon (No. 2 pictured).

 

Atlanta

Falcons

Notable picks: GM Thomas Dimitroff decided to remake the right side of the team’s offensive line with his first two picks.  After allowing 42 sacks in 2018, can you blame him? Can Sheffield fill the role of a third or fourth corner?  Green was one of the better return specialists in the draft and may challenge for playing time in that role alone. 
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (14) Chris

Lindstrom

Boston

College

38/2nd Round Lindstrom- our top-ranked guard-supplemented a stellar four-year career with outstanding  work during 2019 Senior Bowl practices.  He provides positional versatility (started at RT in 2017) for an offensive line that struggled to protect the passer in 2018.
1 (31) Kaleb

McGary

Washington 29/2nd Round McGary’s efficiency as a right tackle was supplemented by working with longtime OL coach Howard Mudd this offseason.  He could vie for a starting role in Year 1.  We talked with him about his various techniques this offseason.
4 (111) Kendall Sheffield CB/Ohio State,

Alabama

89/3rd Round Sheffield’s ability to play press-man is unquestioned, but he does have a tendency to locate the ball a tick late.  If he can harness his overall skill-set, the Ohio State 60-meter track indoor record holder could vie for a starting role down the road. 
4 (135) John

Cominsky

DE-DT/Charleston 253/4th Round Standing 6-foot-5, 286 pounds, Cominsky’s ability to use his hands aids him as a solid run defender. If he can develop more counters as a pass rusher, he could become a keeper.  Expect the team to work him more in base packages early as he transitions to an interior pass rush role for third downs.
5 (152) Qadree

Oliison

RB/

Pittsburgh

184/3rd Round The team had too many backs with the same profile and Devonta Freeman has missed time in recent years.  Ollison will be the bruiser that they have lacked on the roster and he has underrated field speed.
5 (172) Jordan Miller CB/

Washington

478/5th Round Miller held his own against some of the Pac-12’s best but injuries were a factor in school.  He is smooth, fast and fluid.  Physicality is a question mark.  The former high school triple jumper posted six interceptions in school.
6 (203)

Acquired from Los Angeles

Marcus Green All-Purpose/Louisiana-Monroe 482/5th Round It was surprising that a player who tallied nearly 5,000 all-purpose yards in school became a combine snub.  Green, who excels with his 10-to-15-yard burst, ran in the 4.4-range and went 39 inches in the vertical jump on ULM’s Pro Day.

Edwards, the Buccaneers second third-round pick, started 44 straight games to end his career. He finished with 318 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 10 interceptions (2 TDs) and 23 pass break-ups.

 

Tampa Bay

Buccaneers

Notable picks: Jason Licht’s selections of Bunting and Dean serve notice to former high picks Carlton Davis and Vernon Hargreaves that competition is on the way.  Bunting is a pick expected to challenge for a starting role early. Give Licht credit for not being apprehensive when it came to drafting another kicker.  Gay was the draft’s best placekicker and has 62-yard range. 
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (5) Devin White LSU 14/1st Round White’s sideline-to-sideline speed is a replacement for the speed of former Kwon Alexander, who went to San Francisco in free agency.  Connecting the dots on a more consistent basis could allow him to play a step faster.
2 (39) Sean Bunting CB/Central

Michigan

35/2nd Round Bunting’s press-man or bump-and-run technique is as patient as any cornerback in this year’s class.  The former high school hoops point guard can run too. His biggest weakness stems from a habit of ending up on the low shoulder versus wide receivers who use inside speed releases.
3 (94) Jamel Dean CB/Auburn 169/3rd Round Dean’s mental toughness shined during school as he has gone through knee injuries dating back to his junior year in high school.  He doesn’t play to his 4.30 timed speed but we do think he drops his weight better than given credit for.  Auburn’s staff praised his ability to play different positions.
3 (99)

Acquired from Los Angeles

Mike Edwards S-Nickel/

Kentucky

91/3rd Round Edwards ranks as one of the more instinctive safeties in the draft and has outstanding footwork.  He was often seen covering slot receivers and tight ends.  The former Wildcat plays with a sixth sense on the field but needs to improve his attention to detail.
4 (107) Anthony

Nelson

DE/Iowa 75/2nd Round Nelson has some similarities to current Bucs defensive end Carl Nassib.  He is perhaps even more physical defending the run.  It would not be a surprise to see the team use him inside on passing downs because he is adept on line games and stunts.  He was a good value pick in Round 4.
5 (145) Matt Gay PK/Utah 320/4th Round Gay actually had a fourth-round grade in our scoring system, but he did come in at 320 on our Big Board.  Nevertheless, this is not a reach in the fifth round because he would have likely gone off the board before the team picked again.  Gay will challenge PK Cairo Santos in training camp.
6 (208)

Compensatory pick acquired from Tampa Bay via Philadelphia

Scott Miller WR/Bowling Green State 370/5th Round Miller lasted until the fifth round simply because of his 5-foot-9, 174-pound frame.  What he brings to the table for the Bucs is 4.3 speed and hands (9 3/4”) that made him a terror in the MAC.  The former high school track star totaled 215 receptions for 2,867 yards and 23 TDs in school and stood out against Power 5 competition. 
7 (215)

Acquired from Arizona

Terry Beckner, Jr. DT/Missouri 408/5th Round If not for two knee injuries that slowed him during school, we would likely be discussing the former five-star recruit as an early-round pick.  He still produced 10 1/2 QB sack and 22 tackles for loss over his last two seasons in school. 

Gardner-Johnson (No. 23 pictured) tallied 301 return yards on nine interceptions as a Gator (3 TDs). He moved around a lot in school and often covered the slot as a senior.

 

New Orleans Saints Notable Picks: Despite just two picks in the first 105 picks of the draft, we felt the Saints got two of the Top 40 players available in McCoy and Gardner-Johnson.  Time will tell.  One pick to monitor is Elliss in Round 7.  His bend is unique and he has the type of experience in coverage to transition if he can pick up his play speed.
Round,

Selection,

Player School DN Big Board

Rank/

Grade

‘Nasty’ Take:
2 (48) Erik McCoy OC/Texas A&M 22/2nd Round Even though the Saints signed Nick Easton to a four-year deal, McCoy provides positional flexibility along their offensive front.  The team’s rushing attack ranked sixth in the league a year ago, and the McCoy draft pick is an attempt to maintain that mentality along a strong offensive front. 
4 (105) Chauncey Gardner-Johnson S-Nickel/Florida 40/2nd Round Gardner-Johnson could have an immediate impact in sub-packages covering the slot.   Versus certain formations, his flexibility could allow strong safety Vonn Bell to move into a LB-type spot.  Gardner-Johnson ranks as a steal in the fourth round.
6 (177)

Acquired from N.Y. Jets

Saquan Hampton DB/Rutgers 417/5th Round Hampton put it all together to become the Big Ten’s leader in passes defended.  The team captain has enough foot speed to become a special teams contributor in Year 1 for the Saints. 
7 (231)

Acquired from Cleveland

Alize Mack TE/Notre Dame 311/4th Round Mack has been used as a U-off blocker, Y-tight end and fullback in certain sets.  If he can make the team, the Saints will use him in many of its two tight end sets as a stretch the field-type.  The former All-USA Today prep level star was once ranked as the nation’s No. 1 tight end coming out of high school.
7 (244) Kaden Elliss LB/Idaho 263/4th Round Elliss posted a cornerback-like time of 6.63 seconds in the three-cone drill and that bend shows up when rushing the passer.  His father, Luther, was once a first-round pick by the Detroit Lions.  The younger Ellis finished his overlooked Vandals career with 278 tackles, 17 QB sacks, 47 TFLs, 6 FFs, 4 FRs, 5 INTs and 8 PBUs.  His frame matches that of fellow Saints LBs A.J. Klein, Demario Davis and Alex Anzalone. 

 

Heavy handed

Washington offensive tackle Kaleb McGary finished his career with 43 straight starts. The Huskies right tackle is intent on proving to NFL personnel that his heavy-handed nature translates to multiple spots along an offensive line. His efforts include working with a former Pro Bowl offensive lineman and legendary NFL offensive line coach. DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous sat down with him to talk about technique and his future prospects.

McGary: Nice to meet you.

Corey: Nice to meet you too man. You started off today (Senior Bowl 2019 practices, Day 1), with a very strong pass pro period and you complemented that with a strong team period. How did you feel about your first day out here?

McGary: I felt like I had a pretty good day. I think I showed I’m very capable…a very good tackle. I just hope to continue to improve and show that I’m better and better as time goes on.

Corey: Well you’ve played a lot on the right side of the offensive line, but do you feel like you’re capable of playing on the left side if needed?

McGary: I am. Actually the last couple of weeks I’ve done a lot of work with retired coach Howard Mudd (former three-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman and 40-year NFL OL coach who has since this interview been re-hired by the Indianapolis Colts) on guard and left tackle sets. I actually intend to try and jump over to the left side, even guard, if they’ll let me.

Corey: When you talk about being able to play multiple positions, what other positions do you feel like you can backup? Now you talked about guard. Do you feel like you’re a guy who can backup all four positions and maybe be a starter at the right tackle or the left tackle spot?

McGary (No. 58 pictured) earned the Pac-12’s Morris Trophy Award in 2018. The award goes to the conference’s best offensive lineman as voted on by the opposing teams’ players.

McGary: I think so. I was given a lot of really good physical abilities. I’m really flexible for my size so it lets me kinda bend and get down there for a guard position. So I do. I think I’m capable and I think if given a chance I think I can earn my way into any of those four spots.

Corey: Talk about your short-set technique or quick-set or whatever you would describe it as. That’s something that’s been very effective for you. Talk about how you’ve perfected that technique.

McGary: Working with Coach Howard Mudd. He came up with the short-set/dish idea. And just working with him a lot over the time that I’ve known him. Sessions upon sessions with him, and it fits my play style. I like to be aggressive, I like to get on, get up…I don’t like to leave a lot of things to question or room for them to do their thing. I like to put pressure on D-linemen. Can’t wait for them to apply pressure to me. It just fits the way I go.

Corey: Heavy hands. Scouts have described you as having heavy hands. Do you feel like you’ve got heavy hands?

McGary: I think so man. I want let them know if I hit ’em.

Corey: Who was the toughest opponent you went against in school?

McGary: Probably my time against Greg (Gaines) and Vita Vea. Those guys are big, brawny, just freakin’ boulders. Playing against them every day made me what I am I think or it’s a large part of it, having to go against that kind of ability.

Corey: Look forward to you having a great NFL career man..

McGary: Appreciate it.

Corey: Nice to meet you.

McGary: My pleasure.