NFC South: Sheldon Richardson

Final mock draft with Todd McShay

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
10:55
AM ET

Todd McShay’s final mock draft is out, so let’s take a look at the NFC South portion.

At No. 14, McShay has the Panthers taking Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. At least in mock drafts, Lotulelei’s stock seems to be dropping in recent days. Early on, the consensus was that he’d be a top-10 pick. If he makes it to No. 14, I think the Panthers would be delighted to get him. If not, I think they would be content with defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson or safety Kenny Vaccaro.

McShay has the New Orleans Saints taking LSU defensive end/outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo. He’d be a great fit in the 3-4 scheme, but I’m not sure Mingo makes it out of the top 10. Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones could be the fallback option.

At No. 30, McShay has the Falcons taking Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant. I think that would be a solid pick. But I think Atlanta is a team to keep an eye on once the draft gets underway. General manager Thomas Dimitroff isn’t afraid to make big moves and I could see him trying to trade into the top 10 to get Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. I could also see Dimitroff trying to trade into the late teens or early 20s to get Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

Around the NFC South

April, 25, 2013
4/25/13
8:23
AM ET
It's going to be a long and busy day with the NFL draft starting Thursday night, so let's kick it off with a trip through the headlines from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

In his final mock draft, D. Orlando Ledbetter has the Falcons taking cornerback Desmond Trufant at No. 30. I think that’s entirely possible. The Falcons could attempt to trade up for Dee Milliner and maybe even Xavier Rhodes. If they stay put, I see them taking Trufant or Boise State’s Jamar Taylor. I have a tough time seeing the Falcons address any position other than cornerback in the first round.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Charlotte Observer writers Joseph Person and Jonathan Jones are divided on the first pick for the Panthers. Person has Carolina taking defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and Jones has them taking defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. I think Lotulelei would be the priority, but I’m not sure he’ll make it until No. 14. I think safety Kenny Vaccaro also could be a possibility.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Bradley Handwerger points out that the Saints never have traded down in the first round since Mickey Loomis has been the general manager. I think there’s a decent chance that could change this year. The Saints, who are sitting at No. 15, could use an extra pick or two.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Roy Cummings writes that general manager Mark Dominik has the resources to move back into the first round even after giving up the No. 13 pick in the Darrelle Revis trade. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that happens. Dominik hopped back into last year’s first round to get Doug Martin and I can see him making a similar move this year.
For the past month or so, the universal opinion in mock drafts seemed to be that the Carolina Panthers would take defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson in the first round, the New Orleans Saints would take a defensive player and the Atlanta Falcons would get a cornerback or a pass-rusher.

But it seems like those opinions have shifted a bit in some of the mock drafts I’ve been seeing in recent days. The latest example of that comes in this seven-round mock draftInsider from our friends at Scouts Inc.

You have to have an Insider subscription to see the whole thing, but I’ll share the NFC South picks for the first two rounds.

Carolina Panthers

First round: Star Lotulelei, defensive tackle, Utah

Second round: Blidi Wreh-Wilson, cornerback, Connecticut

My take: This would be a coup for the Panthers because they would get two plug-in starters. But the key to this scenario is whether or not Lotulelei still is available at No. 14.

New Orleans Saints

First round: D.J. Fluker, offensive tackle, Alabama

Second round: Pick was forfeited as part of the bounty punishment

My take: I think Fluker’s more of a right tackle and the Saints need help at left tackle. I’d be shocked if the Saints go this route. After putting a horrible defense on the field last season, I think they need to use their top pick on that side of the ball.

Atlanta Falcons

First round: Justin Pugh, offensive lineman, Syracuse

Second round: Gavin Escobar, tight end, San Diego State

My take: I like the Escobar pick a lot. Escobar could spend his rookie season taking lessons from Tony Gonzalez and then replace him. I’m not sold on the Pugh pick. The Falcons have some young offensive linemen that can compete for the right tackle spot. They have a much bigger need at cornerback.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

First round: Pick was dealt as part of the trade for Darrelle Revis

Second round: Kawann Short, defensive tackle, Purdue

My take: The Bucs firmed up their secondary by adding Revis. Adding Short to a defensive line with a lot of young talent could make the Bucs special in this area.
With the 14th pick in ESPN.com’s #bloggermock draft, I chose Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson for the Carolina Panthers.

Richardson
The choice was easy. I also had my eye on safety Kenny Vaccaro, but I was pretty much locked in on Richardson from the start.

I wanted to do something that former general manager Marty Hurney hadn’t done in a long time. I wanted to use an early draft pick on a defensive tackle. Hurney’s failure to do that helped cost him his job as the Panthers struggled in the interior line.

They did find a bit of a hidden gem last year with Dwan Edwards, but he’s getting up in age and it’s time to think long term.

That’s why I took Richardson. The Panthers have very good defensive ends in Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, who each reached double-digit sacks last season.

Adding Richardson should make life easier for Johnson and Hardy because offensive lines will have to devote more blocking to the interior. The Panthers still have needs at safety and cornerback, but they can address those later in the draft.

NFC South afternoon update

April, 22, 2013
4/22/13
3:17
PM ET
Darrelle Revis and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been dominating the news, but let's take a quick spin through some odds and ends from around the rest of the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

In his latest mock draft, D. Orlando Ledbetter has the Falcons taking tight end Zach Ertz at No. 30. We’re doing our Blog Network mock draft Tuesday. I view Ertz as a possibility, but he’s not at the top of my list for Atlanta at the moment.

The Falcons announced Tuesday afternoon that they have released receiver Kerry Meier.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

In his latest Insider mock draft , Todd McShay gives the Panthers Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. In his latest Insider mock draft , Mel Kiper gives the Panthers Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. I’m thinking there is a very good chance I could take either one of them in Tuesday’s mock draft. But I also am not ruling out the possibility of Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Linebacker Scott Fujita signed a one-day contract (from Peru) so he officially could retire as a member of the Saints. Fujita was with New Orleans from 2006 through 2009.

The New York Jets reportedly have offered a sixth-round pick for running back Chris Ivory. But the Saints might try to hold out a bit and get a fifth-round choice.

Film of the NFC South chat

April, 19, 2013
4/19/13
2:33
PM ET
Let’s take a look at the team-by-team highlights from Friday’s NFC South chat:

ATLANTA FALCONS

David (Atlanta): Hey Pat. If the falcons mortgage another draft to get someone like Milliner, do you really think it is worth it? Falcons are one of the oldest teams in the league and in a year or two from now, they are going to have a lot of holes, especially on the defensive front. Is it really worth it?

Pat Yasinskas: That's a question Dimitroff and Smith have to weigh carefully. If they think they're one player away from winning it all, then they'll go for it.

Jeff (New Jersey): Does ATL need another pass rusher to win a championship?

PY: It wouldn't hurt, but I think they need another CB even more.

David (Atlanta): Any idea on Matt Ryan's demeanor with respect to an extension? Is he more of a let's-keep-the-team-together guy or is he adamant about being the highest paid player in football?

PY: Matt's very much a team guy. That said, it's his agent's job to get him the best deal possible.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Ray (Orlando) [via mobile]: Could you see Carolina ponying up their 2nd round pick for Brandon Albert?

PY: Doubt it. They can't afford to pay him.

Nicolas (Parkland, FL): How likely is it that the Panthers select Sheldon Richardson with their first round pick?

PY: Think he's the odds-on favorite for Carolina.

JM (Charlotte): With the brutal schedule next season, is Ron Rivera already in trouble??

PY: Safe to say he enters this season on hot seat. He barely made it through last season.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Nicholas Medica (New Jersey): Of the Saints' two breakout candidates at the WR position, who do you think will have the better season; Joseph Morgan or Nick Toon?

PY: Toon. Think they liked what they saw out of him before he got hurt last year.

jay (Mississippi) [via mobile]: Pat What's the latest on the Vicodin issue? Seems like I read something a few days ago about it and haven't seen anything else

PY: Washington Post said federal authorities still were considering whether or not to fine the Saints. Guess the next step is up to federal authorities.

Cary (New Orleans): Any chance the Saints put a productive 3-4 defense on the field this year? Especially with their cap situation and lack of draft picks.

PY: It's going to be a challenge. But the good news for them is it would be hard to be worse than last year's defense.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Nicolas (Parkland, FL): Is there a possibility that the Buccaneers will trade up to draft Dee Milliner?

PY: If they don't trade for Revis, yes, I think that's a good possibility.

Kyle (northampton, pa): if TB loses Revis to another team I wouldn't be bothered. That's alot of $$ and draft picks to tie up in 1 player who may/may not be a sure thing.

PY: I see your point. But I still think they're determined to get Revis.

Mike (Toronto): If the Bucs address corner in the 1st round, WHO do you think they'll target in the 2nd?

PY: Tight end or defensive tackle.

Here’s the complete transcript of Friday’s NFC South chat.
NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

What’s the ideal first-round scenario for each team?

Atlanta Falcons: There have been rumblings that the Falcons may try to trade up in the first round and I’m not ruling that out because general manager Thomas Dimitroff has done it before. But let's assume for now that the Falcons stay put at No. 30. The team has a glaring need at cornerback. In a best-case scenario, either Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes or Washington’s Desmond Trufant would be on the board. If not, the Falcons still could get a cornerback. Jamar Taylor and Johnthan Banks are viewed as second-round talents by some, but the law of supply and demand could turn one of them into Atlanta’s first-round pick.

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers have a big need at defensive tackle and they should be able to land one in the first round. The question is which one they’ll end up with. Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson is the defensive tackle who has been tied to the Panthers in most mock drafts, but North Carolina’s Sylvester Williams also is a decent possibility. But I can see the Panthers passing on both of them if Star Lotulelei slides to No. 14. Lotulelei had been talked about as a potential No. 1 overall pick before a medical question popped up. He’s been medically cleared, but a lot of mock drafts have him falling. If the Panthers get a shot at Lotulelei, I think they’ll grab him.

New Orleans Saints: They need to add a strong edge rusher as they switch to the 3-4 defense with new coordinator Rob Ryan. LSU defensive end/linebacker Barkevious Mingo and Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones are the two guys who fit that description and could be available when the Saints pick at No. 15. I don’t think the Saints could go wrong either way. Mingo wasn’t all that productive in college, but his measurables were off the charts. Jones didn’t test all that well, but he was a very productive college player.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: There is a huge amount of uncertainty here because the Bucs could end up trading away their first-round pick (No. 13 overall) for Darrelle Revis. If that somehow doesn’t happen, the Bucs have a tremendous need at cornerback. If they stay put, Rhodes and Trufant could be possibilities. There are rumblings that the Bucs think more highly of Rhodes than most draft gurus do. But if a Revis deal doesn’t happen, I think Tampa Bay’s best move would be to trade up into the top five and grab Alabama’s Dee Milliner. He’s the one cornerback in this draft who is considered a can’t-miss prospect.
At this time of year, most mock drafts seem to look pretty similar. But, as I read through Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest Insider offering Insider in which he plays general manager for three rounds, I found one big surprise in the NFC South.

Kiper has the Saints taking Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o at No. 15. I haven’t seen that one suggested anywhere else, as most draft experts have the Saints focusing on an edge rusher or a cornerback. Kiper acknowledges both needs, but said the right players weren’t available at No. 15 in this mock, so he went with Te’o.

This scenario isn’t completely off the wall. Te’o is an inside linebacker and everyone assumes the Saints are fine at that position with Curtis Lofton and Jonathan Vilma. But Vilma has a history of knee problems, and he didn’t excel in the 3-4 scheme when he played it for the Jets. There could be a landing spot for Te’o in New Orleans.

Kiper’s other first-round picks for the NFC South teams are much more conventional. He has Tampa Bay taking Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei at No. 13. Of course, that’s going on the assumption that the Bucs don’t trade that pick as part of a deal for cornerback Darrelle Revis.

At No. 14, Kiper has Carolina taking Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. I’m kind of amazed how there seems to be universal agreement on what’s going to happen with the 14th overall pick in a year when the top five picks aren’t very clear.

At No. 30, Kiper has the Atlanta Falcons taking Stanford tight end Zach Ertz. I understand the school of thought that the Falcons need to start grooming a replacement for Tony Gonzalez. But the Falcons have a more pressing need at cornerback, and I think they should address it in the first round.
For those of you that read this blog regularly, you know I see LSU defensive end/linebacker Barkevious Mingo and Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones as the two most logical draft possibilities for the New Orleans Saints at No. 15.

My thinking hasn’t changed at all. The Saints need a strong pass-rusher as they switch to the 3-4 scheme and Mingo and Jones each fit that profile.

But, as I get ready to make New Orleans’ first-round pick in next week’s blog network mock draft, I’m trying to prepare for all scenarios. And one scenario could be that Jones and Mingo both are off the board.

Georgia’s Alec Ogletree also has been tied to the Saints in some mock drafts. He’s an inside linebacker and a good one. The Saints have Curtis Lofton and Jonathan Vilma at inside linebacker. However, Vilma might be nearing the end of his career and it might be time to look to the future.

If Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is available at No. 15, I’d have to consider him. The Saints already have Brodrick Bunkley, but they need all the help they can get for a run defense that was hideous last year.

There’s another spot on the defense that I’d also consider. That’s cornerback. Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes and Washington’s Desmond Trufant would have to be considerations. I’m not sure the Saints can afford to count on Patrick Robinson as the third cornerback after Keenan Lewis and Jabari Greer.

As much as the Saints need help on defense, I’m not completely ruling out a surprise. Sean Payton is an offensive coach. The Saints are a little thin at wide receiver beyond Marques Colston and Lance Moore. I’m not completely ruling out West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin.

Those are my thoughts on the Saints’ scenarios. Let’s hear what you have to say in the comments section below. And I’m more than open to alternative scenarios that I didn’t mention.
As I prepare to make the ESPN Blog Network mock draft pick for the Carolina Panthers at No. 14 next week, I’m trying hard to think beyond Sheldon Richardson.

It seems just about every mock draft I’ve seen has the Panthers taking Richardson. It makes plenty of sense because the Panthers need a quality defensive tackle to put next to Dwan Edwards to firm up their run defense.

I have no problem taking Richardson and probably will if he’s on the board. But I want to be prepared for a scenario where someone ahead of the Panthers grabs Richardson. If that’s the case, I think part of the equation might be that Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is falling. If he’s available, I’d gladly take Lotulelei because I think the Panthers would do the same thing.

But I also want some scenarios beyond defensive tackles because I’m not so sure the Panthers are as locked in on that position as everyone thinks.

The needs could be even greater in the secondary. One scenario that has been growing on me in recent weeks would be to take Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro. The Panthers really don’t have much at safety and Vaccaro would be an instant starter.

Then, there’s the cornerback situation, which is just as thin as the safety situation. Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes and Washington’s Desmond Trufant are the two corners who could be available at No. 14. A lot of people have Rhodes and Trufant pegged to go later in the first round. But the law of supply and demand could kick in and it’s possible the Panthers could take one of them at No. 14.

There also has been a little buzz about West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin and the Panthers. I don’t know that there will ever be another Steve Smith. But Austin looks the part and the Panthers do need an eventual successor for Smith.

Finally, this may be a long shot, but I don’t know the Panthers are truly sold on right tackle Byron Bell at right tackle. Alabama’s D.J. Fluker should be available at No. 14. With the Panthers saying they want to get back to the power running game, I think Fluker’s a guy they at least could consider.

What I do with the Panthers’ pick will depend largely on what happens with the 13 picks in front of them. These are the scenarios I’m at least pondering. Feel free to share your thoughts on my scenarios or any alternatives in the comments section below.
The ESPN Blog Network mock draft is coming next week and I’ve got some good ideas of what I plan to do for all four teams.

But this isn’t like the 2011 draft when I knew weeks in advance that I’d be taking Cam Newton for the Carolina Panthers at No. 1 overall.

Without an NFC South team picking until nearly the middle of the first round, I’m going to be at the mercy of those picking above me.

I’m going to run through the four teams and share with you what scenarios I’m thinking about and invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Let’s start with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have the No. 13 overall pick.

A lot depends on whether the Bucs pull off a trade for cornerback Darrelle Revis. Although I think that trade is likely, I have to prepare with the assumption it will not happen.

Without Revis, there’s a glaring need at cornerback. My leading scenario at the moment would be to have the Bucs trade up (probably into the top five) to get Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. He’s the only sure-thing as a cornerback in the draft, and I think it makes sense to go get him.

If the Bucs stay put at No. 13, I’m not feeling great about the cornerback options. I would consider Florida State’s Xavier Rhodes and Washington’s Desmond Trufant. But my personnel thought is that No. 13 is too early to take either player. However, there are rumblings the Bucs are really high on Rhodes.

Although I’m not as high on Rhodes, I might take him if the rumblings continue to get stronger.

But I’m also considering a few other options beyond cornerback. Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was considered as a possibility for the No. 1 overall pick before a medical concern was raised. Lotulelei reportedly has been medically cleared, but you see him all over the board in mock drafts.

If he’s available at No. 13, I’ll consider him. Once upon a time, the Bucs took a shot on a defensive tackle whose stock had fallen. That was Warren Sapp in 1995 and he’ll be going into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. I might also consider Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson for the Bucs.

I also may consider West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin. Although I don’t think the Bucs really need him, there’s been some buzz that the team is enthralled with him. If I get more indications that’s true, I might go with Austin.

And I’ll end it with one scenario that’s received almost no attention. Under the right circumstances, I might even consider Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert. This might be a little early for a tight end, but Eifert has the potential to be a great one. At the moment, the Bucs have nothing but mediocrity on their roster at tight end.

Film of the NFC South chat

April, 13, 2013
4/13/13
8:11
AM ET
Although it was dominated by talk of a potential trade by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get cornerback Darrelle Revis, Friday's NFC South chat drew all sorts of good questions from all around the division (that even included a question about Revis and another team). Let's take a look at some of the team-by-team highlights:

ATLANTA FALCONS

Cory in idaho [via mobile]: I don't understand why Atlanta isn't going after revis. I get that he costs a lot of money and demands a huge contract. But our two biggest problems last year were qb pressure and coverage. He would help both out instantly. We won't be getting any pro bowlers with the late first round pick or second round pick, let's trade them away for revis. Ask Matt Ryan to take a smaller contract for the better of the team. Agree or disagree?

Pat Yasinskas: There's no way they can pay Revis and Ryan both long term. Idea of a guy taking one for the team is nice and Matt's as nice a guy as there is, but he's not going to play for peanuts. Also, try selling his agent on that idea.

CP (Brooklyn, NY): Would you be shocked if the Falcons traded up to get Millner, if somehow he slipped to the 6-10 range? They are in a win now mode!

PY: Wouldn't be totally shocked. They did something similar a couple years ago with Julio.

coop4braves (Charlotte) [via mobile]: Any chance the Honey Badger falls far enough for the Falcons to grab him in the 2nd or 3rd round? And would TD and Smith take a chance on him and his past?

PY: Think they might have opportunity to grab him, but suspect Smith and Dimitroff would probably pass.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Matt (Baltimore): Do you see the Panthers struggling for a few seasons as we get out from under some of the cap problems we've accumulated recently?

PY: I think they have enough talent to turn things around, if a few things break differently than last year. Cupboard is not bare.

Kevin J (PA): Pat basically every mock draft I’ve seen lately has Carolina taking Sheldon Richardson at 14. Do you think he is the most likely player to be picked by the Panthers at that spot?

PY: Yeah, I do think Richardson is the logical choice. But I'll throw out one alternative option that's kind of growing on me -- Kenny Vaccaro.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Michael (nv): with some of the big linebackers that were available in FA why not cut vilma and smith and go after one. Smith is not great and vilma is in decline

PY: If they were going to cut them, they would have done that back in March instead of restructuring both their contracts. However, I will say I think they would have been better off cutting them then. Could have made a fresh start on rebuilding the defense.

Who Dat (NOLA): Do you see the Saints still willing to trade Pierre Thomas or Chris Ivory or will they be returning next year?

PY: Think it's possible they could look for a trade. They could use the draft picks.

charles (houston): Hey Pat any chance the Saints move up and grab Jordan

PY: Not sure Saints are in a position to be trading up.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

stone (tampa): why not hold off on revis and trade up for milliner this year, then attempt a trade for revis later in the season for next years pics after we have seen revis in action still knowing the jets dont want to resign him, that is if we would even need revis at that point?

PY: That's something I think Bucs should at least consider. No guarantee Milliner is going to be anywhere near as good as a healthy Revis. But Revis may not be the same guy he was before. Cost of getting Milliner also would be less -- both in draft picks and salary.

Stephen (Valrico, Florida): Hi Pat... Even though the Bucs resigned Dan O, do you believe they will sign a free agent QB or draft one? Thanks!

PY: Think there will be another QB added in some way. My guess is a mid-round draft pick.

Jason (Charlotte): I've seen several mock drafts that have the Bucs taking Tavon Austin. With such need in both the secondary and Dline, is this really a strong possibility?

PY: I doubt it. They're already pretty well set at WR. Plus, they have big money tied up in Vincent Jackson and probably will be giving Mike Williams a new deal before too long.

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

NFC South Draft Blitz

April, 12, 2013
4/12/13
8:45
AM ET

It’s time to focus in on the upcoming NFL draft and that’s exactly what I did with Scout's Inc.'s Steve Muench.

In the attached video, we talked about first-round scenarios for all four NFC South teams.

Of course, when you talk about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, everything is hypothetical, because we don’t know whether or not the Bucs will trade for Darrelle Revis. But I asked Muench for his thoughts on what the Bucs might do with or without Revis.

For the Carolina Panthers at No. 14, I asked Muench to offer up some scenarios beyond Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, because just about everyone has him going to the Panthers. When it came to the New Orleans Saints at No. 15, we talked about pass rushers.

Finally, we talked about cornerbacks that might be available for Atlanta at No. 30 and some other possible scenarios for the Falcons.

NFC South afternoon update

April, 10, 2013
4/10/13
5:26
PM ET
Time for a swoop through some odds and ends from around the NFC South:

ATLANTA FALCONS

In this "First Take" video, Atlanta wide receiver Roddy White ranks the top five teams in the NFL. As you might expect, White puts the Falcons at No. 1. He also gives the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle defensive end Cliff Avril some potential bulletin-board material.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

In this mock draft for Patriots Football Weekly and Patriots.com, I chose Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson for the Carolina Panthers at No. 14. I also made the picks for the Buccaneers and Saints.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Check out this Sport Science video on LSU defensive end/linebacker Barkevious Mingo, who a lot of draft gurus see as a potential pick for the Saints. This guy has a better vertical leap than a prominent NBA player, and a wing span that’s ridiculously wide.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Stephen Holder writes that Eric Wright’s contract restructure doesn’t diminish the chances of the Bucs trading for Darrelle Revis. As several NFC South coaches like to say, you need three starting-caliber cornerbacks on your roster. At the moment, the Bucs only have one.

Be sure to watch this Sport Science video on Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, who has been tied to the Bucs in some mock drafts. Fluker has an even bigger wing span than Mingo.
Todd McShay’s latest Insider mock draft Insider is out and this one comes complete with three first-round scenarios for each team. Let’s take a look at what he’s picturing in the NFC South.

Although McShay acknowledges Tampa Bay could go with a cornerback at No. 13, he has the Bucs taking West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin. I’ve seen some other mock drafts with this same pick. But I’m not buying it. The Bucs already have big money tied up in Vincent Jackson, they’re likely to give Mike Williams a healthy contract extension and they signed Kevin Ogletree to challenge for the third receiver spot. The Bucs will have a lot invested in wide receivers and I don’t see them investing any more. Tampa Bay has greater needs on defense. Of course, it must be noted the Bucs might not even have this pick if they make a trade with the New York Jets for Darrelle Revis.

At No. 14, McShay has Carolina taking Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. That’s a pretty common pick in mock drafts everywhere, and I think there’s an excellent chance the Panthers end up with Richardson. But I wouldn’t be totally surprised if the Panthers take Austin or Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

McShay has the New Orleans Saints taking LSU defensive end/outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo at No. 15. But McShay also throws out the possibility of the Saints moving up in the draft to get another pass-rusher. I would not rule out that scenario.

At No. 30, McShay picks a mild surprise for the Atlanta Falcons. He has them taking Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor. In most of the mocks I’ve seen, Taylor is projected as a second-round pick. But Atlanta has a glaring need at cornerback and the law of supply and demand could kick in. Plus, it’s entirely possible the Atlanta personnel department has Taylor rated higher than where the draft gurus are projecting him.

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