Todd McShay has the latest edition of his Insider mock draft up and he’s going heavily with defense for most of the NFC South.
At No. 13, McShay has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro. This seems to go hand in hand with the growing sentiment that veteran Ronde Barber won’t be back (either by his choice or the team’s choice). I’d like to see the Bucs get a cornerback in the first round, but there’s no one available with good value in this scenario. Drafting Vaccaro a year after drafting safety Mark Barron might be a little unusual, but it would put the Bucs in good shape at safety for the long term.
At No. 14, McShay has Carolina taking Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. If Richardson is indeed available at No. 14, I think this would be a great pick for Carolina. The defense improved last year and solidifying the middle of the line could turn the defense into an elite unit.
At No. 15, McShay has New Orleans taking Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree. He’s athletic and quick and that’s what the Saints need at linebacker.
The only NFC South team McShay doesn’t have going with a defensive player in the first round is Atlanta. He has the Falcons taking Stanford tight end Zach Ertz at No. 30. That makes plenty of sense if you believe Tony Gonzalez is going to retire. But I’m not convinced that’s going to happen. I’d rather see the Falcons go with a defensive end here and take Texas A&M’s Damontre Moore, LSU’s Sam Montgomery or SMU’s Margus Hunt.