The NFC South was undeniably the worst division in the 2022-23 season and we know what that means: we’re all watching how these teams bounce back. Though the Buccaneers won the division with a lousy 8-9 record, the remaining rivals ended at 7-10.
An interesting nugget about the NFC South is the fact that every team will have a new QB1 in the 2023 season! Let’s highlight how each team did in the draft and what their outlook will be as we creep closer to the camp season. As always, check the NFL odds if these teams improving moves the needle.
NFC South 2023 NFL Draft Recap
As Atlanta approached their very first pick (8 overall), RB Bijan Robinson was definitely calling their name. Though Tyler Allgeier was fairly productive in the midst of a team with little identity, adding a runner like Robinson in the backfield will be a difference-maker.
The Falcons also addressed their need for help at cornerback (Clark Phillips III, Utah) in the 4th round. I did think that they may address this a round or two sooner, but alas it still adds depth to this key position to a pass defense that ranked 31 last season.
Speaking of depth, the Defensive End out of Ohio State, Zach Harrison, is going to add depth to this roster as well. At the very least, he can learn behind Calais Campbell and gear up for 2024. This team is certainly going to look different as Desmond Ridder, and many other new faces, try and make something of a new season.
Bryce Young was such a brilliant, yet unsurprising, pick. As the number one overall pick, I really can see him being this team’s nucleus for many years to come. 5-foot-10 or not, he is capable of making the big plays. Not to mention, the infrastructure created over the last several months should only usher in successful QB play from Young.
Their second pick (2(39) was an additional buy-in to their QB1 in Jonathan Mingo, a wide receiver out of Ole Miss. Pair him with an offense that now will include Adam Thielen, DJ Chark, Hayden Hurst, and Miles Sanders. Yeesh. I’d be very hopeful as a Panthers fan.
They were also able to get Safety Jammie Robinson in the 5th round which was a fun pickup. This malleable Florida State product is able to play both safety and nickel corner-just adding depth and versatility to the Evero defensive scheme.
This Panthers team, who will be led by new Head Coach Frank Reich, is primed to compete in 2023.
New Orleans Saints
The defense was certainly an early focus for the Big Easy this year. Bryan Bresee, the former number-one recruit in the nation, was the Saints’ first pick at 29 overall. The Defensive Tackle out of Clemson is quite the sledgehammer and should be a huge asset for this team for many years.
Just 11 spots later, New Orleans found themselves taking DE Isaiah Foskey out of Notre Dame. Described as an every-down player, Foskey is a physical specimen whose relentless attitude can lead to a defensive charge. These two picks alone will help to progress this defensive unit under new Coordinator Joe Woods.
A pick I absolutely loved was Wide Receiver A.T. Perry out of Wake Forest in the sixth round. Perry racked up MANY accolades over his four years at WFU. Derek Carr had to be salivating as he was gifted more depth at pass-catchers!
The 2023 New Orleans Saints could be a dark horse to keep an eye on in both the NFC South and the entire league.
Todd Bowles’ Bucs sure set the tone picking up lightning-fast Defensive End Calijah Kancey at 19 overall. This team had many holes to fill-a large need being the OT position. However, by pick 19 the real studs were long gone. Tampa made a smart move and instead looked at the value and got a disrupter in Pittsburgh’s Kancey.
The Buccaneers also addressed their LB corps and TE needs as well. Outside Linebacker YaYa Diaby fell to round 3(82) followed by ILB SirVocea Dennis at 5(153). In that same fifth round, they grabbed Tight End Payne Durham out of Purdue.
It seems as though they hit a nice balance of addressing key needs, but also not passing up on indisputable value at certain positions.
Although the NFC South can really only go up from last season, I do think we will see quite the glow-up from a few of these teams which should help to strengthen the NFC as a whole.
Who were your NFC South winners and losers in the draft? Let us know on Twitter @DraftCountdown!
2023 NFL DRAFT REVIEWS