NFC South: Everson Griffen

NFC South mailbag

April, 21, 2010
4/21/10
2:25
PM ET
Lloyd in Baton Rouge, LA writes: I just wanted to say I disagree with who you chose for the Saints in the bloggers mock draft. I personally don't like Carlos Dunlap for his work ethic. I think Everson Griffen or maybe even Daryl Washington out of TCU would be better picks and not much more of a "reach" than Dunlap.

Pat Yasinskas: Lloyd, as you well know, you’re more than welcome to disagree with me. It’s what makes the world go round. Dunlap was my pick in that mock draft, which is only a mock draft. The only draft picks that matter for the Saints are the ones that Mickey Loomis makes.



Adam in Columbia, SC writes: Is there any chance the Panthers make a move for Osi Umenyiora?

Pat Yasinskas: That question is coming from a lot of fans and there are logical reasons for that as word comes out of New York that Umenyiora could be on the move. Umenyiora is a proven pass rusher and that’s something the Panthers don’t really have. He also has spent his career with the New York Giants. He and John Fox weren’t there together. Fox left for Carolina the year before Umenyiora joined the Giants, but the defense remained pretty similar. However, I have not heard anything concrete that would lead me to believe the Panthers are pursuing Umenyiora. He’ll turn 29 in November, which isn’t old in most places, but it is pretty old in the big picture of what the Panthers seem to be doing. I don't think you'll see Fox or Marty Hurney parting with any of their draft picks.


Josh in Flowery Branch, GA writes: You made my week with that story about Demaryius Thomas possibly coming to Atlanta. I'm a huge GT fan and Falcons fan and I would love to see that move. What are the chances that actually happens?

Pat Yasinskas: I think it’s possible Thomas gets to stay in Atlanta. But it’s going to depend largely on what happens with the 18 picks in front of the Falcons. I still think defensive end Brandon Graham would be the choice if he’s still available and I could also see the Falcons going with a linebacker like Sean Weatherspoon. But, if those guys are gone, I could see the Falcons going with Thomas. The need at receiver isn’t as big, but there still is some need. The Falcons didn’t send their top four personnel guys to his workout just for the heck of it.


Will in Roswell, GA writes: I know Jason Pierre-Paul is an exceptional athlete and he would be a tempting pick if he was there at 19 when the Falcons pick. But his lack of production scares me. He reminds me exactly of what Jamal Anderson was coming out of college. A physical specimen who has a lot of upside and not a lot of production. So I think the Falcons need to stay far away from JPP.

Pat Yasinskas: Yep, those thoughts definitely crossed my mind when I was making Atlanta’s pick in our mock draft. I really wanted to take Graham, but he was already gone. I went with Pierre-Paul because he was the best pass rusher available. Yes, there are questions about how legitimate he is after playing only one season at a major college and that may scare the Falcons off. We’ll see how it sorts out Thursday night.

Latest NFC South mock draft

April, 12, 2010
4/12/10
1:04
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The full and official mock draft by the ESPN.com Blog Network will come next week. Each of the eight division bloggers will get a chance to play general manager for the teams they cover.

I’m already practicing and a lot of you are asking for a mock draft right now. So let’s go ahead and do a practice mock draft for each of the first pick for the four NFC South teams. Obviously, I’m going to have to speculate on what happens with the picks in front of each of the NFC South teams. And, like I said, the real mock draft will come next week and I may change my thoughts between now and then.

No. 3, Tampa Bay: Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. I’m going on the assumption that quarterback Sam Bradford and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh are the first two picks in the draft. McCoy’s the obvious choice for a glaring need. But I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Bucs taking offensive tackle Russell Okung. Restricted free agent Donald Penn isn’t happy because the Bucs haven’t given him a long-term deal. Penn could end up being used as trade bait. He’s been a decent left tackle, but he’ll never be a Pro Bowler. With Josh Freeman as the franchise quarterback, the Bucs might want to get a franchise left tackle.

No. 19, Atlanta: Defensive end Brandon Graham. The Falcons want to upgrade their pass rush. Graham is the best defensive end that’s going to be available.

No. 32, New Orleans: Defensive tackle Brian Price. A lot of people are projecting the Saints to go with a defensive end and that certainly could happen. Someone like Everson Griffen or Jerry Hughes could be available and they could be the choice. But I think the signing of Alex Brown gives the Saints decent depth at defensive end. The inside might be more of a need and price might be a better value pick.

No. 48, Carolina: Defensive tackle Terrence Cody. He seems to have fallen out of first-round consideration because he’s a one-dimensional player. All Cody can do is stuff the run, but that’s what the Panthers need. John Fox’s whole philosophy is built on running the ball on offense and stopping the run on defense. Right now, there’s no doubt the Panthers can run the ball, but stopping the run is another matter. Fox has always liked having a big guy in the middle (see Kris Jenkins and Maake Kemoeatu) and here’s his chance to re-load at that position.

Around the NFC South

April, 7, 2010
4/07/10
1:31
PM ET
Linebacker Barrett Ruud, who has been looking for a contract extension for more than a year, said he now is approaching the 2010 season as his final one with Tampa Bay. That’s really the only way Ruud, currently a restricted free agent, can handle this right now. It also would help his case tremendously if he goes out and has a big year. Ruud might have been in line for a huge contract last season if he had made some big plays. He didn’t, but that wasn’t really his fault. If the Bucs could add anything close to a quality defensive tackle in the draft, that should free up Ruud to roam and make some plays.

The Falcons sent out a release a bit earlier with the dates and times for all of their preseason games. But they quickly called back to ask that we hold off a bit on the announcement because one of the games was not fully finalized. As soon as we know it’s official, we’ll let you know.

Former Carolina defensive tackle Damione Lewis officially has signed his new contract with New England.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper gives a slight edge to Ndamukong Suh over Gerald McCoy as the top defensive tackle in the draft. I tend to agree with that, but I think the Bucs would be happy to get either one.

Wide receiver Damian Williams reportedly will have a private workout for the Falcons on Saturday. Atlanta’s brass might want to ask Carolina’s brass about receivers from USC before getting too serious on this one.

The Falcons also reportedly will have workouts with defensive linemen Brian Price and Everson Griffen this weekend. Remember, these are just workouts. This doesn’t mean the Falcons are going to draft all these guys.

The Panthers signed kicker Todd Carter. He’s there as a kickoff specialist. If he shows enough leg, the Panthers might let him handle the void left by Rhys Lloyd’s departure. If not, punter Jason Baker is a fallback option to handle that duty.

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson writes the team was wise to get quarterback Josh Freeman in last year’s draft rather than waiting until this year to take a quarterback. Completely agree, and as Carlson also points out, Freeman is way ahead of anyone in this year’s draft.

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