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Thursday, March 8, 2012
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Let's take a run through the Thursday morning headlines from around the NFC South.

Charlie Campbell has the latest version of his mock draft. He’s got the Bucs taking cornerback Morris Claiborne at No. 5. No big surprise there, because it’s looking like Claiborne and running back Trent Richardson will be the two options. But Campbell does have a surprise at No. 9, where he has Carolina taking defensive tackle Dontari Poe, whose stock seems to be soaring after a strong showing at the combine. Since the Saints and Falcons don’t have first-round picks, we’ll tell you what Campbell has them doing in the second round. He has the Falcons taking center Phillip Blake, which makes sense, because of the age of Todd McClure. He has the Saints taking linebacker Bobby Wagner. That makes sense, simply because the Saints need outside linebackers that can run.

The NFL Players Association has announced it will conduct its own investigation of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program.

Former Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking has been sued by a bank that says he has $2 million in unpaid loans. A representative for Brooking says that’s not accurate.

The Panthers reportedly signed kicker Justin Medlock, who had a brief stint with the Kansas City Chiefs and has kicked in the Canadian Football League. The Panthers at least want someone in camp to push Olindo Mare, who struggled last season.

The Saints reportedly have agreed to a one-year deal with center Brian de la Puente, who is an exclusive-rights free agent. He’ll probably be looking at a bigger deal down the road, because de la Puente seemingly came out of nowhere to solidify the position after the sudden retirement of Olin Kreutz.