How I See It: NFC South Stock Watch

October, 20, 2009
10/20/09
11:01
AM ET
NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

Falling

Turner
1. Michael Turner, running back, Falcons. Yes, he did score the go-ahead touchdown on a very nice run. But he didn’t put up big numbers. There’s also a disturbing trend emerging.

Turner suddenly has started to have problems with fumbles. Not sure why that’s happening because that wasn’t a problem last year. He’s got to hold on to the ball.

Wesley
2. Dante Wesley, defensive back, Panthers. His hit on Tampa Bay punt returner Clifton Smith was simply vicious and stupid. Smith was setting up to return a punt and Wesley hit him long before the ball arrived.

Wesley drew a one-game suspension from the NFL and also was ejected as soon as the incident happened. He’s lucky the suspension was only one game. That might be because Wesley had no prior history of anything along these lines. He’ll spend the rest of his career under a microscope.

Ward
3. Derrick Ward, running back, Buccaneers. This guy was supposed to be the feature back when the Bucs gave him a big contract and signed him away from the Giants. Ward has been nothing but disappointing.

He couldn’t even win the starting job. He lost it to Cadillac Williams, who was coming off his second major knee injury. Williams has played well. Ward hasn’t. His carries will continue to dwindle.

Rising

Colston
1. Marques Colston, wide receiver, Saints. Did you see him against the Giants on Sunday? Colston was a man among boys. He repeatedly outmuscled New York defensive backs. We all knew Colston was a good receiver from his first two years, but last season’s injuries knocked him down a couple of notches.

He’s back at full force now. No, wait, he’s actually significantly better than he was before. I'm also going to throw in an honorable mention for Colston's fellow receiver Lance Moore. He's healthy now and provided a reminder of his talents Sunday. This receiver corps is getting scary good.

DeCoud
2. Thomas DeCoud, safety, Falcons. DeCoud had two interceptions against the Bears in the best game of his career. DeCoud has played pretty well since taking over as a starter at the beginning of the season and he seems to be steadily improving.

This is a bit of a surprise because the Falcons drafted William Moore in April and thought he would start. But Moore had some injury problems in the preseason and DeCoud made the most of his opportunity. He’s going to remain a starter for a long time.

Williams
3. DeAngelo Williams, running back, Carolina. We had his stock falling last week, so it’s only fair it rises after he ran for 152 yards against the Buccaneers.

Williams is the same player he was a year ago. His slow start was because he wasn’t getting good blocking when he did get carries. And he wasn’t getting a lot of carries early on because the Panthers were always falling behind. Sunday was a reminder of what Williams and fellow running back Jonathan Stewart can do. But let’s remember one thing before we get too excited about Carolina’s running game. This outburst did happen against the Buccaneers.

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