- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before things change -- and they will -- let’s take a quick look back at some roster notes.
Teams had to have their rosters down to 53 players by Saturday night and a look at position breakdowns across the NFC South shows some interesting trends.
Carolina was the only team to keep three quarterbacks. Tampa Bay and Atlanta started doing what New Orleans has done in recent years and kept only two quarterbacks. I don’t anticipate this changing. I suspect the Falcons and Buccaneers will carry their third quarterback on the practice squad.
Tampa Bay kept a league-high 12 defensive backs. That’s unusually high. Most teams around the league kept nine or 10. But don’t look for the Bucs to stay with 12 defensive backs. They’re likely to make some moves at other positions in the coming days, and part of that will involve trimming the number of defensive backs.
One position where the Bucs are likely to add is linebacker. They kept only five. That ties them for fewest in the league with Chicago and Jacksonville. Reserve Adam Hayward can play inside, outside and on special teams, but the Bucs are likely to look for a true middle linebacker to back up rookie Mason Foster.
Tampa Bay and New Orleans each kept only two tight ends. Look for that to change in both cases. The Bucs and Saints like to use two-tight-end formations and each of them needs a third option.
Atlanta kept 10 defensive linemen, which ties the Falcons with several teams for the league high. Nothing wrong with that. The Falcons are trying to turn what has been a weak area into a position of strength.
The Saints kept six running backs, including two fullbacks. If you lump them all together as running backs that ties New Orleans with Houston and Oakland for the league lead. I wouldn’t expect the Saints to change here. They’re committed to having a consistent running game, and part of that includes having depth.
Teams can begin claiming players off waivers today. After the waiver process is finished, teams can begin signing unclaimed players to their regular roster or practice squad. Vested veterans with four or more accrued seasons are not subject to waivers and teams can sign them at any time.