Grading the NFL Draft is a futile exercise in and of itself. Often, we look back way down the line and see these grades were way off in trying to assess if a team did well or not. We fully recognize this, but it is still an interesting way to look at and analyze a team’s draft. Keep in mind that each team is different and has different fits that could affect the value. Today, we are grading the NFC South.
Below you will see where each player was taken in this class with my overall ranking in parenthesis.
NFC SOUTH DRAFT GRADES
1-8-(23)-WR-Drake London-Southern Cal
2-38-(38)-EDGE-Arnold Ebiketie-Penn State
2-58-(76)-LB-Troy Anderson-Montana State
3-82-(113)-EDGE-DeAngelo Malone-Western Kentucky
I think Atlanta had one of the better draft classes that I have graded in this process. The only thing I didn’t like was selecting Drake London over one of the Ohio State speedsters at wide receiver. I believe there is a lot of overlap between the skillsets of TE Kyle Pitts and London.
I love getting more athletic off the edge with the selections of Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone. They also selected one of the best coverage linebackers in this class, Troy Anderson.
Getting their potential future starting QB (Desmond Ridder) and a potential #2 RB in Tyler Allgeier.
1-6-(5)-OT-Ikem Ekwonu-NC State
4-120-(122)-LB-Brandon Smith-Penn State
6-189-(63)-EDGE-Amare Barno-Virginia Tech
The Panthers seemingly did the best that they could with the draft capital they had left after the disastrous trades they made last offseason. Getting the best run-blocking offensive tackle was a great start. Adding their potential future starting QB in the third was also nice.
I love adding athletic and productive defensive playmakers on day three with Brandon Smith and Amare Barno.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
1-11-(15)-WR-Chris Olave-Ohio State
1-19-(11)-OT-Trevor Penning-Northern Iowa
5-161-(140)-LB-D’Marco Jackson-Appalachian State
6-194-(216)-DL-Jordan Jackson-Air Force
The Saints traded a 2023 first to get two selections in this year’s first round. They gave up a third this year to move up to grab Chris Olave. Olave should pair nicely with a hopefully rejuvenated Michael Thomas. My love for Trevor Penning is well known at this point. The nastiness he brings will make him a fan favorite in New Orleans. I am curious if he will start on the left side and leave Ryan Ramcyzk on the right.
The other three picks were on defense, including versatile DB Alontae Taylor. Taylor could play corner or either safety position for the Saints.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
2-57-(98)-OT-Luke Goedeke-Central Michigan
3-91-(110)-RB-Rachaad White-Arizona State
5-157-(86)-CB-Zyon McCollum-Sam Houston State
The Tom Brady led Buccaneers moved around the draft board nicely and came away with a lot of complimentary players. Logan Hall will see a lot of snaps on the edge and on the interior. Luke Goedeke could feasibly play all five offensive line positions. Rachaad White was the best pass catching RB in this class. Brady is going to love him.
Cade Otton probably gets drafted higher if not for an injury this season.
NFC EAST – NFC WEST – NFC NORTH