Around the NFC South

Time for a swing through the NFC South headlines.

Looks like most mock drafts and analysts are saying the Carolina Panthers will take Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the first overall pick. That all goes with the indications the Panthers have sent out, but they’ve also made it a point to say they haven’t made a final decision yet. I think there will be a final meeting soon and someone’s going to have to make a strong case against Newton for the Panthers to go in another direction. The chances of that are slim because I don’t think there’s anyone in Carolina’s building who is ready to make that argument.

Mike Triplett takes a look at New Orleans’ offensive line situation. He points out that center Jonathan Goodwin and left tackle Jermon Bushrod are potential free agents. The Saints drafted Charles Brown last year as a potential alternative to Bushrod and Brown could be in the plans. But offensive line is somewhat of a need for the Saints and they’ll probably add at least one lineman somewhere in this draft.

After looking at Atlanta’s schedule, Mark Bradley writes the best thing that could happen for the Falcons is for the lockout to wipe out the first five games. Valid point. Every one of those games is against a team that either went to the playoffs or won at least 10 games last season. In their final 11 games, the Falcons face only three opponents who went to last season’s playoffs and two of those are against division rival New Orleans.

“Monday Night Football’’ analyst Jon Gruden and Tampa Bay talk radio host Shaun King have squared off in a war of words. That’s nothing new. When King played quarterback for the Buccaneers and Gruden was the coach, they didn’t get along very well. Funny, but Gruden, who has a reputation for being a quarterback guru, also had rocky relationships with Jeff Garcia and Chris Simms in his Tampa Bay days.

Tampa Bay defensive end Gerald McCoy said his goals for this season are to reach double-digit sacks and for the Bucs to get to the playoffs. When you’re heading into your second season after being taken No. 3 overall in last year’s draft, those goals could be realistic. In fact, you might want to switch them from goals to expectations and make them the norm every year.