NFC South evening update


Time for a look at Tuesday's top headlines from around the NFC South.

There’s been a lot of speculation that the Panthers will use an early draft pick on a cornerback this year. It could happen, but there was one guy that showed up at the Senior Bowl that doesn’t think that’s a great idea. That’s starting cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who lives in Alabama in the offseason. Munnerlyn pledged to beat out any cornerback the Panthers draft. Munnerlyn is one of those undersized guys that plays with a chip on his shoulder. Nothing wrong with that. You want all your players to be competitive and that’s a trait that comes in especially handy at cornerback.

This is just speculation, but Charlie Campbell suggests the Bucs might want to consider New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride for their open coaching spot. That’s actually not a bad idea. Although he’s best known for taking a sideline punch from Buddy Ryan, that was a long time ago and Gilbride has a reputation as a solid offensive coach. He might be better than some of the guys the Bucs have talked to.

There’s no agreement yet, but the executive director of the Georgia World Congress Center said negotiations are continuing with the Falcons about a proposed open-air stadium.

Alabama coach Nick Saban, who coached Julio Jones at Alabama, praised the Falcons for trading up to get the receiver in last year’s draft.

Former Carolina defensive backs coach Ron Meek has landed the same position with San Diego. Ironically, Meeks’ replacement with the Panthers, Steve Wilks, had been the secondary coach for the Chargers.

Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin has interviewed with the Falcons and Panthers at the Senior Bowl. As I do every year at this time, don’t put too much stock into which teams interview which players in the pre-draft events and what coaches are supposedly watching certain position groups during practices and games. All teams do their homework on every player eligible for the draft. Heck, sometimes a bad interview gets a prospect pulled of a team’s draft board.

This Insider piece says the Carolina Panthers were one of the top five underachieving teams in 2011. Let’s just say I respectfully disagree with that. The Panthers won two games in 2010. They tripled their win total in 2011 and they did that in a year with no offseason, while they hurriedly installed a new offense and turned things over to rookie quarterback Cam Newton, who had a record-setting season. Yeah, the Panthers had some big problems on defense, but I think injuries to linebackers Jon Beason and Thomas Davis and defensive tackle Ron Edwards played a big roles in the defensive issues.