The Atlanta Falcons had the NFC South’s best draft

Oct 3, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane tight end James Palmer (32) pulls in a catch as UCF Knights defensive back Richie Grant (27) prepares to tackle during the second quarter of a game at Spectrum Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 3, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Tulsa Golden Hurricane tight end James Palmer (32) pulls in a catch as UCF Knights defensive back Richie Grant (27) prepares to tackle during the second quarter of a game at Spectrum Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports /

The Atlanta Falcons finished at the bottom of the NFC South. While this signals that the team is the worst in the division, there is also a lot of change that has happened in the division this offseason and a lot will change in future offseasons.

There is hope for the Atlanta Falcons in the upcoming years. Drew Brees just retired, which means the Saints have no quarterback of the future, and still do not. The Buccaneers will not have Tom Brady a few years from now, and the Panthers are simply young and very inexperienced.

The NFC South has been one of the toughest divisions for a few years now. The Saints, as much as we all hate to see, have been at the top or close to the top, for a few years, but have managed to do nothing with it. The Buccaneers took over the top spot this past year, and the Panthers have been up and down team.

The draft is where you can make big changes to the present and future of your team.

Here are each of the NFC South’s draft classes:

Atlanta Falcons:

  • Round 1, Pick 4: Kyle Pitts, TE Florida
  • Round 2, Pick 40: Richie Grant, S UCF
  • Round 3, Pick 68: Jalen Mayfield, OT Michigan
  • Round 4, Pick 108: Darren Hall, CB SDSU
  • Round 4, Pick 114: Drew Dalman, C Stanford
  • Round 5, Pick 148: Ta’Quon Graham, DT Texas
  • Round 5, Pick 182: Adetokunbo Ogundeji, DE Notre Dame
  • Round 5, Pick 183: Avery Williams, CB Boise State
  • Round 6, Pick 187: Frank Darby, WR Arizona State

Carolina Panthers:

  • Round 1, Pick 8: Jaycee Horn, CB South Carolina
  • Round 2, Pick 59: Terrace Marshall Jr., WR LSU
  • Round 3, Pick 70: Brady Christensen, OT BYU
  • Round 3, Pick 83: Tommy Tremble, TE Notre Dame
  • Round 4, Pick 126: Chuba Hubbard, RB Oklahoma State
  • Round 5, Pick 158: Daviyon Nixon, DT Iowa
  • Round 5, Pick 166: Keith Taylor, CB Washington
  • Round 6, Pick 193: Deonte Brown, G Alabama
  • Round 6, Pick 204: Shi Smith, WR South Carolina
  • Round 6, Pick 222: Thomas Fletcher, LS Alabama
  • Round 7, Pick 232: Phil Hoskins, DT Kentucky

New Orleans Saints:

  • Round 1, Pick 28: Payton Turner, DE Houston
  • Round 2, Pick 60: Pete Warner, LB Ohio State
  • Round 3, Pick 76: Paulson Adebo, CB Stanford
  • Round 4, Pick 133: Ian Book, QB Notre Dame
  • Round 6, Pick 206: Landon Young, OT Kentucky
  • Round 7, Pick 255: Kawaan Baker, WR South Alabama

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

  • Round 1, Pick 32: Joe Tryon, OLB Washington
  • Round 2, Pick 64: Kyle Trask, QB Florida
  • Round 3, Pick 95: Robert Hainsey, G Notre Dame
  • Round 4, Pick 129: Jaelon Darden, WR North Texas
  • Round 5, Pick 176: K.J. Britt, LB Auburn
  • Round 7, Pick 251: Chris Wilcox, CB BYU
  • Round 7, Pick 259: Grant Stuard, LB Houston

The Panthers ended up with the most selections, due to the fact that they traded down about a half dozen times. They were able to add to their selections this year and next. Meanwhile, the Falcons were able to trade down once, adding an extra fourth-round pick.

It is impossible to say with certainty who had the best draft until we are a few years down the road. However, you can still make predictions by analyzing where each player should have been taken and how much potential they have.

Among the NFC South, the Panthers and Atlanta Falcons had the two best drafts, which they will need going down the road.

The Panthers in the first round took Jaycee Horn. Horn has good upside, however, most analysts did not think he was the best corner in the draft. They could have instead taken Patrick Surtain, the consensus number one corner.

They made up for that in the second round, by taking a speedy receiver from LSU, in Terrace Marshall. He would have been a first-round pick, if not for some medical issues that arose. He has great talent and that was great value for the Panthers.

The other picks that stand out for the Panthers were Chuba Hubbard, Daviyon Nixon, and Shi Smith. Hubbard had huge production in college, Nixon and Smith were projected to go earlier in the draft. Panthers got some good value picks in the later rounds.

While it was just a sixth-round pick, the Panthers’ decision to draft a long snapper was weird. Usually most teams will just find a long snapper amongst the undrafted players, and they will do just fine, but to spend a sixth-round pick on one is questionable.

For the Falcons it all starts with the second-best player in the draft, Kyle Pitts. Not enough can be said about him. Trevor Lawrence and Kyle Pitts are the two guys with the highest potential to end up in the hall of fame when their careers end. Pitts is a slam dunk pick.

Looking at the Atlanta Falcons second-round pick, Richie Grant, he is a do it all type of safety. He lined up at corner during the senior bowl, but he will mostly play safety. This was a great pick, and Grant has huge potential in the NFL.

Jalen Mayfield and Drew Dalman are two fairly different players on the offensive line but they should help tremendously for the starting rotation and for depth. Mayfield will put guys on the ground, while Dalman will be able to get to the second level and block. Two very good picks.

The other two picks that stand out are Ta’Quon Graham and Avery Williams. Graham has some freakishly long arms for his size, he also possesses some stellar power. He should help a pass rush group that needs a lot of help.

Williams is an undersized corner, but he can play a variety of positions. He obviously will mainly be listed as a corner, but he could also perhaps slide in at safety if that group needs help. He also had huge production as a special teamer, and has potential as a kick and punt returner, and has the ability to block punts and kicks. Add to the fact that Arthur Smith said he could also play some offense, Avery Williams gives the team so much versatility.

The other two teams, Saints and Buccaneers, made some questionable draft selections, especially in the first round.

The Saints and Buccaneers possessed two late-round one picks, obviously because they made it to the playoffs and in the Buccaneers case, won the super bowl.

Both of their selections in the first round were some of the most questionable for analysts and fans. For the Saints, it was Payton Turner, and for the Buccaneers, it was Joe Tryon.

Not saying these players will not end up being good, it just seems like they were overdraft. Payton Turner was projected by many as a third-round pick. Many fans were actually saying “Who Dat” when the selection was made. To add to the fact, the Saints also picked up Marcus Davenport’s fifth-year option.

Davenport has never lived up to his expectations, and many think that Payton Turner is extremely similar to him. The Saints also already have Cam Jordan, the pick seemed unnecessary. They could have instead grabbed a position of need, like a corner. Asante Samuel Jr. was still sitting on the board, a guy who had a higher overall grade for most people.

Of course, Atlanta Falcons fans are not complaining about the pick. If he ends up never turning out, like it seems Marcus Davenport has, then it will only make Falcons fans happier.

For Tampa Bay, their selection of Joe Tryon was also a head-scratcher. This was a player who most had higher grades for, than Payton Turner, but it still seems to be an overdraft. He was projected as a second or third-rounder by most, while the 32nd pick might as well be a second-round pick, it still seemed a bit too early.

Falcons gets their Darren Sproles role player post draft. light. Hot

No picks for either of these teams seem to stick out. They both overdraft in the first round. They both also selected quarterbacks. Kyle Trask does not have high potential like some of the other quarterbacks, but the Buccaneers used a second-round pick on him.

The Saints selected Ian Book with their fourth-round pick. This goes along with their first-round selection in being an overdraft. Pro Football Focus thought he should be a seventh-round pick or undrafted.

He, in fact, was ranked as the last quarterback in the draft class.

New Orleans decision to wait until the third round to address the cornerback position was not ideal. They do not have a starter across from Marshon Lattimore. They should not have waited that long to select one, they would have been able to rely on players like Tyson Campbell, Ifeatu Melifonwu, or Asante Samuel Jr. a lot easier than Paulson Adebo.

The two best draft classes in the NFC South are apparent, but which one had the best picks in the 2021 NFL draft?

The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers had much better drafts than the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While it is easy to say now, and only time will tell, it seems like the Saints and Buccaneers overdrafted players.

The Falcons were able to snag the second-best player in the draft, while the Panthers were able to snag the second-best corner in the draft. That is the difference right there.

The best talent comes out of the first round, and the Falcons got the second-best player in the whole entire draft. The Jaguars were the only team to get a better prospect. The Panthers passed on Surtain for Horn, which may end up being a smart move or a dumb move.

While the Panthers were able to steal Terrace Marshall, there is still a reason why he fell that far, injury concerns. That may end up hurting his career. The Falcons got a safety that has all-pro potential in the second round.

The first two rounds are where the Falcons won the draft, they nailed it.

While the first-round pick was not hard to make, they still did not take the bait by moving down and passing on Kyle Pitts. This draft class may end up turning the needle for the Atlanta Falcons to start making the post-season again.

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