Tuesday, February 19, 2013
NFL scouting combine preview: NFC South
By Pat Yasinskas
NFL Nation previews the 2013 scouting combine by identifying the most important thing for each team to learn about its greatest area of need.
Atlanta Falcons: The defensive line needs to be a focus this offseason. Defensive end John Abraham and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux are the team’s two best defensive linemen, and they’re not getting any younger. The Falcons could use a run-stuffer in the middle and a pass-rusher on the outside. But the Falcons aren't picking until No. 30, and there's no guarantee there will be value there, so Atlanta will have to do its homework at multiple positions to be ready for any scenario.
Carolina Panthers: The team has to figure out whether this draft class is as deep at defensive tackle as many draft experts say. The middle of the defensive line has been a problem for Carolina since the departure of Kris Jenkins after the 2007 season. The Panthers need to fix this once and for all. The Panthers could address this spot in the middle of the first round.
New Orleans Saints: The scouts and coaching staff need to adjust their thinking as the Saints move to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Rob Ryan. The Saints are in dire need of help on the defensive line and also need to add some outside linebackers who can serve as edge rushers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs will focus heavily on the defensive secondary after ranking last in the league in passing yards allowed last season. The Bucs need to find out whether they have a chance to get a cornerback in the middle of the first round who can start immediately. They also need to look hard at safeties in case Ronde Barber decides to retire.