Checking out NFC South needs


The NFC South is up in the latest installment of division-by-division top offseason needs by Football Outsiders.

Check out this Insider post by Mike Tanier, who elaborates on a lot of topics we’ve been talking about in recent weeks.

He discusses what Atlanta might do at left tackle, where Sam Baker could be on his way out. But the Falcons don’t have a first-round pick and the free-agent market isn’t likely to be loaded with elite left tackles.

Tanier also writes about how the Panthers need to improve their nickel package, but he also touches on another important point. The Carolina linebackers struggled in coverage against tight ends last season. That’s not a good thing when you play in a division with Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez and Kellen Winslow. The Panthers will get middle linebacker Jon Beason back from injury, but they might be wise to add a speedy outside linebacker.

For the Saints, the big area of need is the front four of the defense. Steve Spagnuolo has replaced Gregg Williams as defensive coordinator and he likes to rely on his front four to generate most of the pass rush. The issue there is the Saints are going to have to make some personnel moves up front because defensive end Will Smith is their only proven pass-rusher.

When it comes to Tampa Bay, Tanier is not impressed with how new coach Greg Schiano, who is known for being very organized, has handled his transition to the NFL so far.