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SNS 2024 NFL Draft Team Analysis - NFC SOUTH

Updated: May 6



Atlanta Falcons


DRAFT / UDFA GRADE: 2 Stars

Total Picks - 8


DRAFT PICKS


1 (8) Michael Penix / QB / Washington

2 (35) Ruke Orhorhoro / IDL / Clemson

3 (74) Bralen Trice / EDGE / Washington

4 (109) Brandon Dorlus / DL / Oregon

5 (143) JD Bertrand / LB / Notre Dame

6 (186) Jase McClellan / RB / Alabam

6 (187) Casey Washington / WR / Illinois

7 (197) Zion Logue / DL / Georgia


NOTABLE UDFA


JaQuae Jackson / WR / Rutgers

Austin Stogner / TE / Oklahoma

Ryan Sanborn / P / Texas


DRAFT & UDFA ANALYSIS


Atlanta shook the football world to its core with the selection of Penix after signing free agent QB Kirk Cousins to a 4 year / $140 million contract. The Falcons have many needs, especially for an impact pass rusher off the edge, but passed on those needs to select the southpaw QB out of Washington. Penix has a great arm, throws the best deep ball of any QB in this draft, and is a very good athlete. He suffered two season-ending knee injuries while at Indiana, and even though he had two healthy seasons at UW, his long term health remains a concern. When you consider the opportunity cost of picking Penix over Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, and Laiatu Latu, this pick is even more puzzling. Orhorhoro has teased tremendous upside with quickness, agility, and burst that is hard to duplicate. He has Pro Bowl potential if he can be fully developed. Trice has the desired size and play strength to seal the edge in the run game but has limited quickness and agility and offers little pass rushing upside. Dorlus is a similar player to Trice but slightly quicker. He may slide inside to generate pressure as a 3T on passing downs. Bertrand is a heady and instinctive LB who lacks great range or coverage skill. McClellan will battle for RB3 in Atlanta. He combines size with burst, power, and running instincts. Washington offers size to a WR room that lacks many big receivers. Washington is a quality blocker and special teams performer. Logue is a strong run defender with little pass rushing upside. He has size and versatility to line up anywhere on the defensive line.

Jackson, a transfer from Division 2 California-Pennsylvania, offers good height and reach. He has reliable hands. He will try to earn a practice squad spot this summer. Stogner has teased enticing upside but has never reached his potential. His size and athleticism makes him a candidate to earn a roster spot. Sanborn is an experienced and reliable punter with the leg and touch to push for a roster slot in training camp.


Carolina Panthers


DRAFT / UDFA GRADE: 3 Stars

Total Picks - 7


DRAFT PICKS


1 (32) Xavier Legette / WR / South Carolina

2 (46) Jonathon Brooks / RB / Texas

3 (72) Trevin Wallace / LB / Kentucky

4 (101) J'Tavion Sanders / TE / Texas

5 (157) Chau Smith-Wade / CB / Washington State

6 (200) Jaden Crumedy / IDL / Mississippi State

7 (240) Michael Barrett / LB / Michigan


NOTABLE UDFA


Jack Plummer / QB / Louisville

Devin Carter / WR / West Virginia

Jalen Coker / WR / Holy Cross

Sam Pinckney / WR / Coastal Carolina

Andrew Raym / IOL / Oklahoma

Cameron Wire / OT / Tulane

Popo Aumuvae / IDL / Oregon

Jackson Mitchell / LB / UCONN

Wiilie Drew / CB / Virginia State

Harrison Mevis / K / Missouri


DRAFT & UDFA ANALYSIS


The Panthers struggled last year in protecting Bryce Young and the receivers could not consistently get open. Whereas the offensive line issues went unaddressed in the draft, the Panthers took a huge step in addressing the receiving issues with the selection of Legette, a long, tall, fast, and explosive WR from South Carolina. Legette has great hands and can take the top off the defense. Well worth trading up into the first round for. Brooks looked like a true #1 bellcow back at Texas prior to tearing his ACL in November. His knee has healed rapidly and he is expected to be ready for the season. He should be Carolina's #1 RB this season. Wallace looks like a starting MLB with the size, athleticism, instincts, and tackling ability to be a starter from day one. Sanders is a quick and explosive. He is limited as a blocker but is a difference maker with the ball in space. Smith-Wade is undersized but quick, feisty, and competitive. He can line up outside but is probably best covering the slot. Crumedy is a complete DT with the size, power, quickness, and hand use to become a starter in a year or two. Barrett has played a lot of football. He has good coverage skills and chases plays down hard from the backside in run support. He does not shed blocks well. Barrett should excel on special teams.

No NFL team has been more active in scooping up the best undrafted talent this season than the Panthers. Carolina signed nearly a dozen SNS Top 300 undrafted prospects. Plummer has starting experience at Purdue, California, and Louisville. He is a leader with adequate arm strength and good field vision. He should make the practice squad this summer. Carter is a huge target with length and a large catch radius. He doesn't get much separation but he typically wins at the catch point. Coker offers length, is smooth, and possesses reliable hands. Pinckney is quick and runs good routes. He has good YAC ability after the catch. Raym is a massive center prospect with natural strength and girth. He has limited movement skills but has enough ability to compete for a roster spot. Wire, a transfer from LSU, has multiple years of starting experience at OLT. He has adequate length, good feet, and is highly competitive. Aumavae is a big, strong, run-stuffing DT with a powerful bull rush. Drew is raw and needs development but he has the desired size, frame, and hips to earn a practice squad spot. Mevis has a huge leg - he hit an SEC record 61-yard FG last season - but his accuracy is sporadic.


New Orleans Saints


DRAFT / UDFA GRADE: 3.5 Stars

Total Picks - 7


DRAFT PICKS


1 (14) Taliese Fuaga / OT / Oregon State

2 (41) Kool-Aid McKinstry / CB / Alabama

5 (150) Spencer Rattler / QB / South Carolina

5 (170) Bub Means / WR / Pittsburgh

5 (175) Jaylan Ford / LB / Texas

6 (199) Khristian Boyd / IDL / Northern Iowa

7 (239) Josiah Ezirim / OT / Easten Kentucky


NOTABLE UDFA


Jacob Kibodi / RB / Louisiana

Dallin Holker / TE / Colorado State

Nouredin Nouili / IOL / Nebraska

Sincere Haynesworth / IOL / Tulane

Aaron Brule / LB / Michigan State

Isaiah Stalbird / LB / South Dakota State

Millard Bradford / S / TCU


DRAFT & UDFA ANALYSIS


ORT Ryan Ramczyk may have played his last game and may have to medically retire. The burden of the loss of the perennial Pro Bowler is eased by the addition of Fuaga, a dominating power blocker, in the first round. Fuaga will join OLT Trevor Penning in forming one of the meanest and nastiest set of starting OTs in the NFL. McKinstry has three years of starting experience in the SEC, typically being lined up across from an NFL-level player each week, and has the moxie and swagger to handle coverage duties on an island. Rattler is the first QB drafted after Nix went off the board at #12 and enters an ideal situation to be developed into Derek Carr's eventual successor. Means has prototypical size with a large catch radius. Almost all of his catches are contested but he is a physical runner who gains YAC in chunks. Ford is athletic with good range. He should flourish on special teams. Boyd is quick, agile, and plays with good leverage. He should compete for a roster spot this summer. Ezirim is a huge, raw OL prospect who can be developed as a swing tackle to provide depth on the OL.

Kibodi, a tansfer from Texas A&M, has a powerful build and looks the part - he just has never played as well as he looks. Holker has only one year of starting experience but displayed the athleticism, hands, and in-line blocking ability to be developed into a quality #2 TE. Nouili has natural power which is negated by bending at the waist but he has a chance to be developed on the practice squad. Haynesworth lacks size and athleticism but is intelligent, disciplined, and durable. Coaches will love him and find it difficult to cut him. Brule has experience at Edge and OLB. He has the length wanted at OLB. He'll try to earn a practice squad spot. Stalbird is experienced and the leader of the Jackrabbits defense. He's smart and will have to earn his living on special teams to begin his career. Bradford has nice combination of size, speed, and range. With a good training camp, he could gain a regular season roster spot.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers


DRAFT / UDFA GRADE:  3.5 Stars

Total Picks - 7


DRAFT PICKS


1 (26) Graham Barton / OL / Duke

2 (57) Chris Braswell / EDGE / Alabama

3 (89) Tykee Smith / S / Georgia

3 (92) Jalen McMillan / WR / Washington

4 (125) Bucky Irving / RB / Oregon

6 (220) Elijah Klein / IOL / UTEP

7 (246) Devin Culp / TE / Washington


NOTABLE UDFA


Xavier Delgado / IOL / Missouri

Jack Freeman / IOL / Houston

Judge Culpepper / IDL / Toledo

Kalen DeLoach / LB / Florida State

Marcus Banks / DB / Mississippi State


DRAFT & UDFA ANALYSIS

The Bucs' running ability has been an issue the last few years. Specifically, the play of the interior offensive line has been wanting for many seasons. Barton, an All-ACC OLT, will slide inside in the NFL, most likely to center. He has size, reach, stong hands, and intelligence to be developed into a Pro Bowl player. Braswell  has lined up opposite first round picks Will Anderson and Dallas Turner and has the ability to bend, flatten, and close on the QB. Smith was deployed all over Georgia's defense and can match up with TEs, RBs, and some WRs in coverage. He's a big hitter and a reliable tackler. McMillan played a lot of slot receiver for Washington but has the size and athletic profile to line up at any receiver position. McMillan should be the team's third receiving option by season's end. Klein is an experienced and durable lineman who has enough to play OT in a pinch. He should earn a roster spot this summer. Culp is very athletic and create mismatches downfield but has limited strength and is ineffective as an in-line blocker.


Delgado has excellent size and natural power. He is very durable but not overly athletic or agile. He has an excellent chance of making the practice squad. Freeman is an intelligent, experienced center who makes the line calls and has good mobility out to the second level. He lacks size and length but should earn a practice squad spot. Culpepper is a productive inside pass rusher who recorded 9 sacks last season. He lacks some play strength and can be washed out of plays. DeLoach is an undersized but quick and fast LB who matches up well in coverage with TEs and RBs. He is more effective in pass coverage than against the run. He should excel on special teams.

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Tomorrow - SNS takes a look at the AFC West and analyzing draft performances of Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas, and LA Chargers!!





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