Mock first round for NFC South

April, 12, 2011
4/12/11
12:43
PM ET
Our friends at Patriots Football Weekly just sent me the link to a mock draft I helped them with.

I made the No. 20 pick for Tampa Bay and I took Georgia defensive end Justin Houston. The logic was simple. The Bucs need somebody to get after quarterbacks and Houston was the best pass-rusher on the board when it was time for me to make the pick for Tampa Bay.

Other writers made the picks for the other three NFC South franchises, and I don’t have any major disputes with their choices. Quarterback Cam Newton went No. 1 to Carolina and I’m still thinking that’s the likely scenario for the Panthers.

Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn went to New Orleans at No. 24, and I easily can see that happening since the Saints need a defensive end as much as the Bucs. Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward went No. 27 to Atlanta. I’m not as sure about the Heyward pick as the others.

Defensive end is Atlanta’s top need, but Heyward doesn’t exactly fit in the mold of John Abraham. Heyward’s strong against the run, but isn’t viewed as a quick and dynamic pass-rusher. I’m thinking the Falcons might want to find someone more like Abraham as his eventual replacement. I’m also thinking there’s a chance the Falcons could go with a wide receiver in this spot.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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