The NFL Draft will soon be upon us! The end of the NFL season is near, and so is the college football season. Scouts are preparing for Bowl season and the tedious amount of travel that comes with it. Teams who are out of the playoff race are examining team needs in both the front office and the players. For the first round of examining, let’s look at the NFC South, and the needs these teams have.
Atlanta Falcons (4-9)
Draft Needs: EDGE, O-Line, LB
The Atlanta Falcons sit at the bottom of the NFC South. The offense has not had the most struggles for the team. Instead, it has been the defense that has shown the most struggle. Pass rushing has been a nightmare for most of the season, aside from a handful of games. It’s a possibility that at the end of the season, Vic Beasley is going to leave Atlanta. So it wouldn’t be a bad idea to grab an EDGE Rusher in the Draft since there is plenty of first-round help available. Chase Young from Ohio State should be off the board, but there are still some studs left. AJ Epenesa out of Iowa or Yetur-Gross Matos would be great additions.
Also, the Falcons could use some help on their offensive line. The running game has hit a significant decline this season, and Matt Ryan has had a lot of issues with his protection. The offensive linemen are also deep in this draft. It’s not a sexy pick, and it wouldn’t draw many cheers from the Falcons’ faithful. But it would address a need and would help the team in the long run. Tyler Biadasz, out of Wisconsin, is a phenomenal guard who can play at both Center or Guard. He would do a great job at helping this weak offensive line get on its feet.
Carolina Panthers (5-8)
Draft Needs: OL, WR, QB
It has been a difficult season for the Panthers as they have fallen pretty fast to near the bottom of the NFC South. Ron Rivera has been fired, and the team stands to face a rebuild. This draft will be very crucial for them in working towards that rebuild. The two most glaring needs are at the O-Line, the receiver position, and at quarterback.
The offensive line has been shredded by injuries and has left the pass protection useless. Now starting quarterback, Kyle Allen, has been sacked a total of 44 times this season, if you count the two games, Cam played this line has allowed 50 sacks on the season. This is a ridiculous amount of sacks, and it needs to be addressed, whether it is through Free Agency or the Draft.
Another need for Carolina is at the receiver position. This team needs some weapons to take the pressure off of McCaffrey. Wide Receiver D.J. Moore has come into his own this season as the true number one receiver for the Panthers. But he needs some help. There are plenty of receivers in this Draft who are worth getting. It is a deep draft for receivers, and the Panthers should not wait long to pull the trigger on one of them.
With their current position in the Draft being a top 15 pick. CeeDee Lamb out of Oklahoma and Justin Jefferson out of LSU. There are plenty of needs for the Panthers this offseason and quarterback could be one of the needs they go after, but it really won’t be made known what direction they will be heading in, until after free agency.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)
Draft Needs: OT, QB, D-Line
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sit just below .500 on the year. Looking right off the bat at this team and quarterback is a glaring need. Winston is the only quarterback that I have seen who can throw four touchdowns and four interceptions in the same game. His inconsistencies and squandered chances seem like Tampa could be moving on from him next season.
Likely if they go after a quarterback, it would be in the second-round. It’s possible for them to go after a guy like Jalen Hurts out of Oklahoma or a guy like Jacob Eason from Washington. The quarterback position is not an immediate need for the team, but one they should address soon.
Offensive line again is another need this team really needs to address. With over 40 sacks allowed so far this season, and for most of the year, the line has been porous. Protecting Winston or a new QB needs to be a priority. Getting another pass rusher could also be a direction they go down. They don’t have a lot of threats, and it would serve them well to get either an interior lineman to replace the hole that Gerald McCoy left or a pass rusher to make their defense more of a formidable threat.
New Orleans Saints (10-3)
Draft Needs: WR, QB, OL
The Saints have had an incredible season with some very close games. With this coming draft, a huge need is receiver depth. The Saints obviously have one of the best receivers in the game with Michael Thomas. It wouldn’t hurt to have a solid guy to put in work beside him.
The only other targets that the Saints have are an aging Ted Ginn and Tight End Jared Cook. I believe in the first round. The Saints will go after a receiver like Laviska Shenault out of Colorado or maybe even Jalen Reagor out of TCU. They can get an even more dangerous offense next season.
The Saints also have three quarterbacks hitting free agency at the end of the season. Brees will likely resign, but there is no guarantee for Bridgewater or Taysom Hill. Bridgewater boosted his stock by performing quite well while Brees was injured this season. I find it hard to believe that a team will pass on him. Taysom Hill, although he is a bit of a Swiss Army Knife, might stand a chance of staying on the team. I see them addressing this need in the second round. Jordan Love from Utah State would not be a bad selection here, nor would Eason from Washington.
The NFC South has had a rough year overall. The Saints obviously has had an impressive year but not perfect. Three of the four teams are below .500. There is no doubt that the Draft in 2020 will be a crucial time for all four teams to set the stage for the next couple of years. The NFL Draft is coming, and it is exciting.
Thanks for reading! If you are interested in more sports content follow Overtime Heroics and myself on Twitter. Also if you are into podcasts check out my podcast, the Armchair Report wherever you listen to podcasts. Lastly check out our forums if you want to talk all things sports.