- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Let's take a spin through some of the day's headlines from around the NFC South.
ESPN.com's Mark Kreidler writes that New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma was a scapegoat for the NFL. Vilma drew a season-long suspension for his role in the bounty program. That’s about half a season longer than I expected Vilma to be suspended for. But the reality here is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was faced with all sorts of legal implications when making his decision. He had to be harsh to make sure that no team ever again runs a bounty program because that potentially could bankrupt the NFL and every one of its teams. Yeah, I guess that makes Vilma a scapegoat. But some player had to be used as an example to the rest of the league. Goodell went hard after the player who was the leader of the New Orleans defense.
Former Texans receiver Jacoby Jones reportedly visited with the Carolina Panthers. If he’s signed, it would make lots of sense. The Panthers have Steve Smith as one starting receiver, but the other spot is open. The team has high hopes for Brandon LaFell and David Gettis, but there is no guarantee either is ready to be a full-time starter. The Panthers also think Kealoha Pilares and Joe Adams could have bright futures, but they’re viewed as backups and return men at the moment.
ESPN draft guru Todd McShay never stops. The 2012 NFL draft is over and he’s already got a mock draft for 2013. Check out this Insider post. The good news is none of the NFC South teams are projected to have top-10 picks. Perhaps anticipating huge seasons from Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Josh Freeman, McShay sees the NFC South teams going heavy on defense in next year’s first round.
Joseph Person has a post-draft projected depth chart for the Carolina Panthers. He’s starting rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly in the middle and sliding Jon Beason to the outside. It could sort out that way or the two could swap spots. I think the Panthers will let their linebacker situation sort itself out in training camp.
Wesley College linebacker Mike Asiedu hasn’t been signed by the Carolina Panthers yet, but he reportedly will get a tryout with them during their upcoming rookie camp.