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Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

I'm going to be out of pocket for the next little bit because I've got interviews with two NFC South owners. Meantime, here's a quick run through some NFC South headlines.

Television and radio analyst and former NFL player Tim Ryan told Ira Kaufman that the Buccaneers should dump troubled cornerback Aqib Talib and draft LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with the No. 5 overall pick. I get Ryan’s point and it’s obvious Talib has a checkered past that brings up legitimate questions about his reliability in the future. But I don’t think the Bucs are ready to dump Talib just yet. New coach Greg Schiano has implied Talib will get a fresh start, if he doesn’t go to prison after a June assault trial in Texas. Even after bringing back veteran cornerback Ronde Barber for a 16th season, you could make a case that the Bucs might be wise to draft Claiborne and keep Talib. You need three quality corners in the NFL. Talib is headed into the last year of his contract. Schiano could keep him around for a season, see how things go and then make a decision on Talib’s long-term future with the team.

Remember how the Bucs were blocked by at least several teams from interviewing assistant coaches as Schiano tried to assemble his staff? There were some rumblings that the league could change its rules to allow assistants to move more freely. But it doesn’t sound like the NFL is even discussing those possibilities.

Although the Carolina Panthers remain in the picture to re-sign tight end Jeremy Shockey, agent Drew Rosenhaus made it sound as if it’s more likely his client will sign with another team.

Linebacker Curtis Lofton, who left the Falcons to sign as a free agent with the Saints, said it was a business decision and he had to do what was best for himself. Lofton, who played middle linebacker in Atlanta, said he has discussed different scenarios with Jonathan Vilma, who has played middle linebacker for the Saints, and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Lofton said it’s possible either he or Vilma could move to outside linebacker.