Saturday, April 20, 2013
Around the NFC South
By Pat Yasinskas
Time for a Saturday morning run through the headlines from around the NFC South:
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
There seems to be a good chance the Bucs will draft a quarterback sometime after the first round. Stephen Holder runs through the possibilities and mentions Florida State’s E.J. Manuel. I like Manuel a lot. I think he could fit Tampa Bay’s offensive system and could turn into an eventual starter if Josh Freeman, who is headed into a contract year, doesn’t have a good season.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Although much of the pre-draft speculation has the Saints taking a pass-rusher in the first round, Mike Triplett writes not to rule out cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Desmond Trufant. Even after adding Keenan Lewis in free agency, I think cornerback is at least a possibility because the Saints might not have a lot of confidence in Patrick Robinson.
Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson’s first pre-draft visit was with the Panthers. But Joseph Person writes that it’s unlikely Carolina will have a chance to get Johnson, who is likely to be gone before No. 14. But, if Johnson somehow slips a bit the Panthers would have to consider him. He could be an instant upgrade over Byron Bell on the right side and eventually switch to the left side as the successor to Jordan Gross.
More and more teams are turning to analytics to predict success of draft prospects. General manager Thomas Dimitroff said the Falcons are using analytics to supplement their scouting work. In other words, the Falcons aren’t going overboard with analytics; they’re only using them as part of the puzzle.