- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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We got off to a very fast start in Friday’s NFC South chat, with lots of questions about the Saints’ scandal, what’s left in free agency and the upcoming draft. We had to end the chat a bit early because the news broke that Sean Payton plans to appeal his suspension and I had to run to write an analysis piece.
But we still covered a lot of ground. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:
Brian (Atlanta GA): SO can you please give me an answer to this. I understand the punishment handed down to the Saints coaches. What I can't understand is the loss of draft picks. How in anyway is that a punishment to the ones involved? it seems to me like that is a punishment to the fans and the Saints organization. We (the fans) didn't do anything wrong!!! PLEASE help me understand!!!
Pat Yasinskas: I think it's supposed to be a punishment for the organization. I get your point about it impacting the fans. But, unfortunately, I think you're paying for the sins of your team.
Trevor (SC): Would the Panthers really consider Kuechly in the 1st? I know Davis making it back is no sure thing but that is an expensive backup plan. plus the fact they would have to move Beason. Seems like they would be better off finding a guy later in the draft who can spell both OLBs.
Pat Yasinskas: From what I've heard, he's a possibility. I know everyone seems to think they're going with a DT or a DE and that is possible. But I don't think they're locked in on definitely going with a defensive lineman by any means.
David W (Atlanta, GA): Hey Pat - with Julio really coming alive in the last few games of the season, do you think he surpasses Roddy as Ryan's favorite target this year?
Pat Yasinskas: No, I think they can have a very healthy balance between the two. I think that's what Smith and Koetter want.
Nathan (Orange County): I was a big supporter of drafting defense at #5 but I have been thinking...would the defense have been better if the offense wasn't consistently going three and out? Hard to play at 100% when you are always on the field. I think TR is the smart play but MC might be the safer choice.
Pat Yasinskas: I lean towards Claiborne, but can see either scenario.
Ryan (Raleigh formly Tampa): Where do you see John Kasay landing? Or do you see him retiring?
Pat Yasinskas: Up to John. If he wants to keep playing, I think there's a market for him. But it might be one of those deals where teams go through camp and either aren't happy with their kicker or have an injury.
Matthew (Tampa ): With Vincent Jackson, how much does Freeman improve?
Pat Yasinskas: A lot. He's got a WR that can get open downfield. Should make the entire offense better.
John (Salisbury NC): I know Arthur Blank has said Mike Smith is not on a hot seat but during your sit downs with him at the owners meeting did you notice any different sense of urgency about him or body language?
Pat Yasinskas: If anything, maybe a little less sense of urgency. More of a sense of "We've got a talented team, we made some good changes to our coaching staff and that will make us better." I'll share more from Blank with you next week.
Adam (Asheville): Shouldn't Stewart be worth a first? He's only 25 and has a 200+ yard rushing game against the Giants on his resume. Since the Browns are in need of a RB could you see them trading Stewart and the 9th pick to move up to the 4th pick?
Pat Yasinskas: He's also had a chronic foot issue since college. That might limit his value a bit.
Here's the complete transcript of Friday's NFC South chat.