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Saturday, March 19, 2011
Hitting the NFC South hot spots

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Time for a quick leap into the NFC South mailbag.

Justin in San Francisco asks whether compensatory picks still will be issued in a lockout and what the Panthers might expect as compensation for losing Julius Peppers.

Pat Yasinskas: All indications are the compensatory picks will be announced, as usual, at the NFL meeting. That starts Monday in New Orleans, and I’ll be there. I’ll share the picks with you as soon as I get them. I think it’s pretty safe to assume the Panthers will get a third-round pick to compensate for Peppers. Just a reminder, teams can't trade compensatory picks.

Alan in Daytona Beach, Fla., asks whether the Bucs should make a play for Randy Moss and says he could help the development of Josh Freeman.

Pat Yasinskas: No, don’t do it! Alan’s question also mentioned the injury to Arrelious Benn as another reason the Bucs could look to Moss. But all indications are that Benn’s injury is healing well and that he should be fine for the start of the regular season. The Bucs also have some other young receivers, like Dezmon Briscoe and Sammie Stroughter, they like. Of course, Mike Williams already is established as the No. 1 guy. Moss comes with way more downside than upside. Yeah, he still might be able to make some plays, but the guy can disrupt a locker room. If you look at the way the Bucs approached last season, it sure looked like they wanted to surround Freeman with a group of young receivers and let them grow up together. That seemed to work very nicely. Why mess up a good thing? If the Bucs want to add another receiver somewhere later in the draft, fine. But they don’t need any more than that.

Bryson in Atlanta wonders whether the Falcons should make a play for Moss.

Pat Yasinskas: See the above answer and now we’ll tailor it to Atlanta’s situation. Coach Mike Smith is a big believer in chemistry in the locker room. Top receiver Roddy White is a unique character and he’s thrived in recent years. Like a lot of receivers, White has a personality that sometimes can push the envelope a bit. But Smith does a nice job keeping that in check. If you throw Moss into the equation, you push the chances of White or Moss really stepping into “throw me the ball’’ territory. Atlanta can get a speed receiver in the draft and still use Michael Jenkins and some other guys as decent role players. No need to do anything too dramatic here.

Dave in Valdosta, Ga., wrote to ask whether there is any chance of the Bucs trading backup quarterback Josh Johnson and picking up a veteran such as Marc Bulger.

Pat Yasinskas: I’d be all for it. If the Bucs could actually get any draft pick for Josh Johnson, I’d take that. I’d like to see them have a dependable veteran backup like Bulger, who seems to have the personality to handle such a role after being a starter much of his career. However, that’s just my opinion, and I don’t think you’ll see anything like this happen. Raheem Morris and his staff seem to be content with Johnson.

Zach in Peachtree City wrote to say he thinks the Panthers official website has been writing a lot about Patrick Robinson lately and asks whether that’s a sign Carolina could be looking to take the cornerback with the first overall pick.

Pat Yasinskas: Can’t speak for the team’s official website. But let’s just say that most teams are pretty controlling of their own sites. It’s highly unlikely any team is going to telegraph its draft plans, and I can assure you that doesn’t fit Marty Hurney’s profile. In fact, I’d be more inclined to say what you’re seeing is a smoke screen.