NFC South: Navarro Bowman

Film of the NFC South chat

December, 2, 2011
12/02/11
2:29
PM ET
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from Friday’s NFC South chat:

Ben (Atlanta GA) Pat will Cam be ROY? I know Dalton has some wins, but CIN is playing a cupcake schedule.

Pat Yasinskas: If you've followed the NFC South blog, you know that I think Cam wins it easily. No offense to Dalton, who is having a nice year. But I think Cam had ROY sewn up after first two games.

Orlando (Baton Rouge, La): Hey Pat, everyone's saying that the Saints have no shot at out throwing Green Bay outdoors in January but Green Bay hasn't done that well throwing outside either hence, relying on their running game to win which I believe New Orleans has their number at. your thoughts

Pat Yasinskas: An excellent point. Was talking to a scout the other day, who made the point that these aren't the Bart Starr Packers. The current Packers aren't necessarily built for playing in Lambeau in January.

Rob (Tampa): Pat, I am a Falcons fan living in Tampa. I go to all of the Falcons games at Ray Jay, it is a great stadium and the fans that show up are very passionate. I know you live in Tampa as well. Why do people here just not show up to games?

Pat Yasinskas: Agree, one of best stadiums in league and fans that do come are passionate. Biggest reason I hear from those who don't go is the economy. But it also would help if the team was winning.

Eliot (New York, NY): Ok Pat, let's assume the Saints win the division. Do you really think they are guaranteed a trip to the NFC Championship? Are you forgetting what happened last season? They'd have to play (in all likelihood) CHI/SF or ATL/SF first.. All of whom are better than 7-9 SEA..

Pat Yasinskas: I don't think anything is guaranteed. But I'd say this year's Saints are far better than last year's Saints. At least at this point, they haven't had a lot of big injuries.

David W (Atlanta): Pat - it seems that the Falcons are beginning to hit a stride (third quarter not withstanding) and their remaining schedule seems pretty generous. I know all the talk is about Green Bay and New Orleans, but do you see the Falcons being a playoff sleeper if they continue playing the way they have been?

Pat Yasinskas: Yep, certainly possible. Look at roll Packers went on last year. They were No. 6 seed. Am I seeing signs Falcons might be getting hot at the right time? Yes, they've been better lately.

Ben (Atlanta GA): Armanti Edwards just hasnt gotten launched this year and it may not be his fault per se, but do you think he gets cut as a result?

Pat Yasinskas: Think they'll bring him to training camp and give him one more chance.

KTV (ATL): Curtis Lofton and Sean Weatherspoon better tandem than Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman?

Pat Yasinskas: Maybe not yet, but moving in that direction.

David (Ak): Brees ever win an MVP? Doubt it myself.

Pat Yasinskas: Not this year. I mean, he's having a great year. But so is Rodgers and Rodgers plays for the Packers, who are a national team. So that's tough for Drew to overcome.

Here's the complete transcript of Friday's NFC South chat.

On the eve of the draft

April, 21, 2010
4/21/10
6:00
PM ET
Some random notes and thoughts on the eve of the draft.

  • I wasn’t sure how I felt about the draft’s new format when it was first announced. But I’m thinking I like it now as I look ahead to Thursday. My plan is to hit the gym in the morning, join “The Fabulous Sports Babe’’ on ESPN Radio Tampa Bay live from Peggy O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Eatery at 13910 W. Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET and then head out to One Buc Place, where I’ll be spending much of the night Thursday and Friday. Relax Atlanta and New Orleans fans, I’ll be reporting on your picks from out there, too. And we’ll get around to the Panthers on Friday when they finally make a draft pick. Also, Carolina fans, I’ll be coming to Charlotte for minicamp next week.
  • On my earlier post about guys who should be nervous about the draft, I cut the number off at five. But we’ll throw out an honorable mention here to Tampa Bay receiver Michael Clayton. The Bucs are going to come out of this draft with at least one receiver, probably two. Even if those guys are raw and inexperienced they might have an edge on Clayton, who hasn’t been seen since his rookie year.
  • Scott Reynolds made the pick for the Buccaneers on NFL Network. He said the same thing I’ve been saying –- defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
  • I’m still thinking defensive end Brandon Graham for the Falcons, if he’s still available. But I keep hearing this voice in the back of my head that I heard from someone with the Falcons soon after their brass attended Penn State’s pro day –- “Keep an eye on that one.’’ Presumably, the reference was to defensive tackle Jared Odrick. It could have also meant linebacker Navarro Bowman, but I think he comes with more questions than the Falcons want.
  • Suggestion for any NFC South general manager looking for a safety: You should take a look at some talk-radio producers. These people are relentless. Their hosts give them instructions to track down writers to take part in mock drafts and they’ll chase you every way they can. Not sure about their measurables, but they are fearless. Anybody that knows me, knows it’s not a real good idea to call my cell phone before 7 a.m.
  • I still am a little amazed that so many Carolina fans think something incredibly dramatic is going to happen with the Panthers during the draft. I understand your frustration. But if the Panthers were going to make some major trade or sign a big-name free agent, they would already have done some things like this. John Fox and Marty Hurney are sticking to their principles even as they sit on the hot seat.
  • Mike Triplett points out one of the best draft facts I’ve seen this year and it’s especially relevant to his audience because the Saints hold the 32nd overall pick. Exactly nine years ago, No. 32 overall was Drew Brees to San Diego. Yeah, you just might be able to find a player at No. 32.

NFC South mailbag

April, 8, 2010
4/08/10
2:23
PM ET
Time for another edition of the NFC South mailbag.

Glenn in Baton Rouge, La., writes: I was wondering if you had some insight on why the Saints haven't been courting Antonio Pierce, or Brad Hoover? Surely both these guys are an upgrade.

Pat Yasinskas: Hang loose. Hoover and Pierce probably will be available after the draft. Or at least more guys like them will be. It’s just the nature of the business right now. Teams are focusing in on the draft and they’re not going to lock up aging players until they see what their remaining needs are. Heck, the Saints are doing this with one of their own guys, letting veteran safety Darren Sharper hang out as a free agent.


Travis in Johnson City, Tenn., writes: Have you heard if the Falcons have any serious interest in Jason Worilds? I really believe that this guy has what it takes to be an outstanding DE in the very near future. Everyone seems to say he is more of a 3-4 guy, but has the same measurables as Robert Mathis of the Colts. I really believe his natural abilities can carry him a long way.

PY: Haven’t heard anything strong on potential interest by Atlanta. But teams are pretty good about keeping their intentions quiet. From the scouting reports I’ve read on Worilds, he sounds somewhat like Lawrence Sidbury, whom the Falcons drafted last year. The Falcons still have high hopes for Sidbury. But I’m not ruling Worilds out because the Falcons certainly are looking at all possible ways to improve their pass rush.


Nick in Atlanta writes: Hey Pat, I was just wondering what prospect in the draft are the Falcons really considering? Is it Brandon Graham out of Michigan, Sean Weatherspoon out of Missouri or someone a little outside the box?

PY: I think both of those guys and several others are under serious consideration. I’d also throw in Penn State linebacker Navarro Bowman and defensive lineman Jared Odrick. I’m not saying that because I’m a Penn State fan. I’m basing it on something I heard that leads me to believe they like both of those players. Graham and Weatherspoon also make lots of sense. When you’re sitting at No. 19, you can’t really lock into one player. I know some people have thrown out scenarios where the Falcons could take a running back or a receiver. I’m not buying into that. Thomas Dimitroff drafts on a need basis and the biggest needs this team has are in the front seven of the defense.


Steve in Redlands Calif., writes: Hey Pat,Thanks for filling my Saints fix during the offseason! The other day you mentioned a "contingency plan" the Saints have if they don't re-sign Darren Sharper. What is that plan at this point?

PY: Well, it’s not like the Saints are coming out and saying what their plan is. But they’ve got some alternatives. Malcolm Jenkins was a first-round pick last year and spent his rookie season as a backup cornerback. He has the size and skills to play free safety and the Saints knew that when they drafted him. I think moving Jenkins to free safety is one alternative. Usama Young is also a guy who’s done well as a backup and on special teams and he could be another candidate. Of course, the return of Sharper remains a possibility.


Gary in Hickory, N.C., writes: As difficult as it is to find two stud defensive tackles, is there any possibility the Panthers switch to a 3-4? Their linebacker corps is very good with Thomas Davis, Jon Beason and Dan Connor. Given the Panthers limited draft picks, wouldn't it be easier to find another linebacker or two?

PY: I follow your logic. But that’s not going to happen. John Fox is a creature of habit. He runs a 4-3 defense.


Marc in Brea, Calif., writes: Yes I've heard the Bucs are cheap. Yes I have heard that all their money is being sucked up by ManU. Yes I have heard their going young. But, for the life of me I cannot figure out their kicking situation. To me a guy like Neil Rackers hits the FA market and they don't give him a whiff? Let's not forget the revolving door at kicker last year. Is Tampa's plan to really use one of the 11 picks this year in the kicking game? I hope not. I'm a believer in the new regime but there are some things that make me scratch my head. This is one of them.

PY: Tell you the truth, I like Connor Barth, whom the Bucs settled on as their kicker down the stretch last season. Yeah, he’s not a proven veteran like Rackers. But Barth kind of fits with the whole youth movement here and I don’t see any reason to go out and use a draft pick on another kicker.

NFC South mini-mock draft

April, 2, 2010
4/02/10
4:23
PM ET
Some good news to share with you. The ESPN Blog Network will be doing its own mock draft, which each blogger making the picks for his division.

I won’t give you the exact date just yet, but it will be coming the week of the draft. This something many of you have been asking about and I’d been pitching it to the Boys in Bristol that make the big decisions. I think some of my colleagues may have been doing the same. Anyway, we just found out we’ve been cleared to do it.

Again, this is down the road a bit. So, to help pass the time, I’ve decided to do a preliminary mock draft for the NFC South teams. Obviously, we don’t know what other teams will do and that’s going to shape what NFC South teams can do. This is subject to change and I’ll probably do it again several times before we do the league-wide mock draft.

But, as of the moment, here’s what I’m thinking for the first pick for each NFC South team:

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. First, they have to hope and pray the Rams take quarterback Sam Bradford at No. 1. If St. Louis doesn’t do that, the Rams and Lions could take defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy with the first two picks. If that happens, it could be disastrous for the Bucs. They need a defensive tackle probably more than any team has needed a certain position in history. If they don’t get one, they could try to trade down. If they can’t trade down, they’ll have to settle for safety Eric Berry. For right now, I’ll say they end up with a defensive tackle. I’m going to say Suh goes to the Lions and McCoy to the Bucs.

19. Atlanta Falcons. The glaring need is at defensive end. But the chances of an elite pass rusher at No. 19 are slim. The other obvious need is outside linebacker. Sean Weatherspoon's name keeps coming up, but I’m going outside the box here. I’m giving the Falcons Penn State linebacker Navorro Bowman. This is more of a hunch than anything, but I keep hearing a lot of teams like Bowman better than Weatherspoon and I’m thinking the Falcons could be one of them.

32. New Orleans Saints. The flip side to winning the Super Bowl is you get the last pick of the first round and are at the mercy of the teams ahead of you. But the good news is the Saints don’t have huge holes and can pretty much go for the best athlete available. Quarterbacks and wide receivers are off the board here, but the Saints can go in just about any other direction. Defensive end, defensive tackle and outside linebacker would seem like the biggest needs. I’m going with Weatherspoon to the Saints.

48. Carolina Panthers. They traded away their first-round pick last year to get defensive end Everette Brown. A lot of people think the Panthers will take a wide receiver and there’s a very real chance they will. But I wouldn’t go that way, given the fact the Panthers used early picks on Dwayne Jarrett and Keary Colbert and neither developed into anything. Part of the blame falls on Jarrett and Colbert. But I put more blame on John Fox and offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson. They’ve been too conservative to let young wide receivers do much and it’s tough to get much out of your No. 2 when Steve Smith is No. 1. For the moment, I’m giving the Panthers Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody. He’s an extremely big guy and, in the days when the Panthers still had a quality line, they had Kris Jenkins and Maake Kemoeatu plugging up the middle of the line.

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