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Thursday, April 26, 2012
Around the NFC South

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Let's take a look at the top draft-day headlines from around the NFC South.

Tom Sorensen writes that the Panthers must take North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, unless Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon still is available at No. 9. I agree Blackmon would be a great pickup if he somehow slides. But I can see the Panthers going with Coples. I also can see them going with Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, a defensive tackle or a cornerback.

Draft analyst Mike Mayock says the Panthers should stay clear of Coples. Mayock says that Coples is a boom-or-bust player that comes with risk.

The Panthers put Mississippi State offensive tackle Lamar Holmes through an individual workout Wednesday. Holmes is viewed as a late-round pick. He’s from just outside Charlotte, and the workout was held at his former high school.

Speaking of the Panthers and potential late-round picks, keep an eye on Mississippi State wide receiver Darius Reynolds. The Panthers called him this week to make sure they have his correct phone number.

There has been some speculation the Buccaneers could move up to No. 3 to assure they will get either Alabama running back Trent Richardson or LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne. But that’s easier said than done, because the Bucs don’t have a fourth-round pick at the moment. If they want to move up two spots to get Minnesota’s pick, they likely would have to give up their first- and third-round choices, and that might be too steep a price.

Martin Fennelly writes that the Bucs should stay at No. 5, or trade down and add an extra pick or two.

The Saints won’t be active players in Thursday’s portion of the draft. In fact, they won’t be active until late Friday night. The Saints don’t have a pick until the third round (No. 89 overall). They traded away their first-round pick last year in the deal to get Mark Ingram, and had to forfeit their second-round pick as part of their punishment for the bounty program.

Sounds like Atlanta second-year running back Jacquizz Rodgers could be earning an unexpected bonus. Rodgers wore No. 22 as a rookie. But cornerback Asante Samuel, acquired Tuesday in a trade, sounded pretty confident he can get Rodgers to give up the number.