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Examining All of the NFC South Draft Classes


Atlanta Falcons

**Round 1 (No. 17 overall): S Keanu Neal, Florida
Round 2 (No. 52 overall): LB Deion Jones, LSU
Round 3 (No. 81 overall): TE Austin Hooper, Stanford
Round 4 (No. 115 overall): LB De'Vondre Campbell, Minnesota
Round 6 (No. 195 overall): G Wes Schweitzer, San Jose State
Round 7 (No. 238 overall): WR Devin Fuller, UCLA

Analysis:The Falcons entered this draft hoping to add athletic playmakers at positions of need, and that's exactly what they did. Neal fills a big hole at strong safety and should inject some much-needed phiyscality into the defense; linebackers Jones and Campbell bring speed and agressiveness to the linebacking corps.

Hooper, Schweitzer and Fuller all fit the offensive scheme and have high ceilings.

Carolina Panthers

Round 1 (No. 30 overall): DL Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech
Round 2 (No. 62 overall): CB James Bradberry, Samford
Round 3 (No. 77 overall): CB Daryl Worley, West Virginia
Round 5 (No. 141 overall): CB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma
Round 7 (No. 252 overall): TE Beau Sandland, Montana State

Analysis: Josh Norman's departure ostensibly had a big influence on Carolina's draft class. By using three of their five picks on cornerbacks, the Panthers have replenished their secondary depth. It'll be interesting to see how Bradberry, an FCS product who didn't fare well at the Senior Bowl, adjusts to facing premier competition.

Butler will improve an already stout group of defensive tackles that includes Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei. The 6-foot-4, 323-pounder shined at the Senior Bowl, where he flashed his burst off the snap and ability to shed multiple blockers.

New Orleans Saints

Round 1 (No. 12 overall): DL Sheldon Rankins, Louisville
Round 2 (No. 47 overall): WR Michael Thomas, Ohio State
Round 2 (No. 61 overall): S Vonn Bell, Ohio State
Round 4 (No. 120 overall): DL David Onyemata, Manitoba
Round 7 (No. 237 overall): RB Daniel Lasco, California

Analysis: New Orleans didn't address its needs at cornerback or pass rusher, but it did add some playmakers who can step in right away. Rankins is one of the best D-linemen in the 2016 draft class; Michael Thomas has a lot of upside and can replace Marques Colston at receiver. Bell, one of Thomas' Ohio State teammates, can be a long-term option at free safety if he improves his tackling and physicality.

Onyemata is an interesting choice in the fourth round. The Canadian defensive tackle is violent in the trenches and could help New Orleans' run D, but he's also a raw prospect who didn't play a high level of football in college. Perhaps his showing at the East-West Shrine Game, where he raised eyebrows with a big hit on quarterback Jake Rudock, convinced New Orleans to invest in him.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Round 1 (No. 11 overall): CB Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida
Round 2 (No. 39 overall): LB Noah Spence, Kentucky
Round 2 (No. 59 overall): K Roberto Aguayo, Florida State
Round 4 (No. 108 overall): CB Ryan Smith, North Carolina Central
Round 5 (No. 148 overall): IT Caleb Benenoch, UCLA
Round 6 (No. 183 overall): LB Devante Bond, Oklahoma
Round 6 (No. 197 overall): FB Dan Vitale, Northwestern

Analysis: Tampa's first two selections look great. Hargreaves is a tremendous corner who should start for a long time; Spence, one of the best natural pass-rushers available, is great value in the second round.

After securing those valuable pieces, though, Tampa pulled off a strange move when it traded up for a kicker, FSU's Roberto Aguayo. Yes, Bucs kickers have struggled of late, and yes, Aguayo should be fantastic in the NFL. But it's a risky decision considering how much talent was still on the board at No. 59 overall.

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