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Tuesday, July 23, 2013
NFC South afternoon update

By Pat Yasinskas

Let's run through some odds and ends from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

One of the more intriguing storylines of this preseason is the tale of linebacker Brian Banks, who spent more than five years in prison before being exonerated. The Falcons are giving Banks a chance to make their roster. I encourage you to read Banks’ blog post as he heads to camp because it’s pretty powerful.

D. Orlando Ledbetter ranks Roddy White at No. 3 on his list of the top 25 Falcons. That’s a couple spots ahead of fellow receiver Julio Jones. I’d argue that one a bit. I still think White is a elite receiver, but I think this is the year Jones becomes the go-to guy.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Coach Ron Rivera confirmed our earlier report that offensive lineman Travelle Wharton met with the team Tuesday. Wharton is coming off a knee injury and the Panthers wanted their medical staff to get a look at him. Still no word on if Carolina will sign Wharton, who spent eight seasons with the Panthers before going to Cincinnati last year.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Larry Holder has an overview of the situation at inside linebacker. Curtis Lofton is a certainty at one spot. But the bigger question is whether or not Jonathan Vilma can bounce back from knee injuries and fit in a 3-4 defensive scheme. Vilma didn’t like playing in the 3-4 when he was with the New York Jets, but the Saints seem confident the veteran will be able to adapt.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Rick Stroud starts of his list of Bucs that need a bounceback season with defensive end Adrian Clayborn. There’s been a lot of talk about fellow defensive end Da’Quan Bowers needing to step up. But it’s critical that Clayborn, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, returns to full health. Clayborn had 7.5 sacks as a rookie in 2011 and could end up being Tampa Bay’s biggest pass-rushing threat.