NFC South: Stock Watch 50610

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Falling

Darren Sharper, safety, New Orleans Saints. New Orleans re-signed the veteran who helped guide the franchise to its first Super Bowl win. In the process, it was revealed that Sharper could have received more money elsewhere, but wanted to stay with the Saints. That’s nice, but something significant also came out in the process.

Sharper reportedly had micro-fracture knee surgery after the season and that may be why he wasn’t drawing a lot of interest. A lot of guys who have micro-fracture surgery never get back to their original form. Sharper’s 34 and that means his road back could be even more difficult. The Saints started preparing for this when they drafted Malcolm Jenkins last year and reinforced it when they took Patrick Robinson with their first-round pick this year.

Jenkins spent last year at cornerback, but has the size and skills to play safety. Robinson and Randall Gay can be the top backups behind starting cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer. Jenkins almost certainly will be getting work at safety soon. He’s a first-round pick heading into his second season and guys like that need to be on the field.

Rising

William Moore, safety, Atlanta Falcons. After missing almost all of his rookie season with an injury, Moore has been cleared to practice when the Falcons start their minicamp Friday. This guy was a second-round draft pick last year and the Falcons have big plans for him as they touch up their secondary.

Thomas DeCoud and Erik Coleman were the starting safeties last year. DeCoud played pretty well, but the Falcons weren’t thrilled with Coleman’s performance. They’ve kept Coleman around because he’s a good locker-room guy and can play either safety position, which gives them nice depth. But the coaching staff really would like to see Moore start stepping toward a starting job.

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NFC SOUTH SCOREBOARD