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2023 NFC South NFL Draft Team Needs | Key Losses, Key Gains, List of Draft Picks, and More!

2023 NFC South NFL Draft Team Needs | Key Losses, Key Gains, List of Draft Picks, and More!
2023 NFC South NFL Draft Team Needs | Key Losses, Key Gains, List of Draft Picks, and More!

Atlanta Falcons

Draft Picks: 8, 44, 75, 110, 113, 224, 225, 245
Team Needs: Edge, WR, DT, LG, RB
Key Players Gained: Jesse Bates (S), David Onyemata (DT), Kaden Ellis (OLB), Taylor Heinicke (QB), Calais Campbell (DL), Mike Hughes (CB), Mack Hollins (WR), Bud Dupree (OLB), Jonnu Smith (TE)-trade, Jeff Okudah (CB)-trade
Key Players Lost: Isaiah Oliver (CB), Marcus Mariota (QB), Olamide Zaccheaus (WR), Rashaan Evans (LB)

Adding a top tier edge rusher is a must for the Falcons.They were one of the worst in the league last year at getting to the QB. It seems that the team is committed to Desmond Ridder as their QB. That being said, look for the Falcons to bring in another target to throw to as well as some OL to help keep their QB upright. Recent rumors have suggested that the Falcons might take a RB with their first round pick. DraftKings lists the Falcons as the odds on favorite to draft Bijan Robinson. Robinson would be an upgrade at that position. However, I’d like to call attention to the fact that despite being a 5th round pick, Tyler Allgeier was a 1000-yard rusher last season which is quite successful. If they want to draft another RB, that’s fine. I just don’t know if you do it in the first round.

Carolina Panthers

Draft Picks: 1, 39, 93, 114, 132, 145
Team Needs: QB, WR, OL, DL
Key Players Gained: Frank Reich (HC), Adam Thielen (WR), Miles Sanders (RB), Vonn Bell (SS), Hayden Hurst (TE), Shy Tuttle (DT), Andy Dalton (QB), DJ Chark (WR)
Key Players Lost: Sam Darnold (QB), Phillip Walker (QB), Cory Littleton (ILB), D’Onta Foreman (RB), DJ Moore (WR)-trade, Zane Gonzalez (K)-trade, Matt Ioannidis (DT), Pat Elflein (OC)

Frank Reich made a splash as the new head coach in Carolina in trading up to the #1 overall spot where the pick is obviously going to be the team’s next franchise QB. Whether it will be Bryce Young or CJ Stroud, the Panthers will have to draft another target to throw to. We’ll see if the team regrets parting with DJ Moore for that QB. Don’t get me wrong, Thielan is a reliable target and DJ Chark can stretch the field, although Carolina has an opportunity to draft a young dynamic receiver such as Zay Flowers or Rashee Rice. Starting RG, Austin Corbett, is projected to miss the beginning of the season after suffering from a torn ACL. In response, I expect the team to bring in a lineman to compete for some reps. They also need to bolster that DL. Shy Tuttle is just not a big enough addition to make a significant impact.

New Orleans Saints

Draft Picks: 29, 40, 71, 115, 146, 165, 227, 257
Team Needs: DL, Edge, WR, FS, QB
Key Players Gained: Derek Carr (QB), Nathan Shepherd (DL), Khalen Saunders (DT), Jamaal Williams (RB)
Key Players Lost: David Onyemata (DT), Kaden Ellis (OLB), Shy Tuttle (DT), Marcus Davenport (DE), Andy Dalton (QB), Deonte Harty (WR), Bradley Roby (CB)

There is still some uneasiness about the QB position, being a few years removed from Drew Brees retiring. Drafting a QB isn’t a must, but it will come into consideration at some point. I think the team is more confident after bringing in Derek Carr in the offseason. The biggest need for the Saints lies on the defensive side of the ball. Their DL and Edge rushers could easily be upgraded. Despite bringing in Nathan Shepherd and Khalen Saunders, don’t rule out a DL selection early in the draft. The Saints let go of Edge rusher Marcus Davenport who in 2018 was so highly coveted that the team traded up for him. It is conceivable that a bold move could happen in this draft and that a similar trade could occur. A slot receiver should be in play towards the later part of the draft. Carr needs more targets to throw to, and there needs to be some competition on special teams.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Draft Picks: 19, 50, 82, 153, 175, 181, 196, 230, 252
Team Needs: QB, OL, DB, RB, DL, WR, ILB
Key Players Gained: Baker Mayfield (QB), Greg Gaines (DT), Matt Feiler (OL)
Key Players Lost: Rakeem Nunez-Roches (DT), Keanu Neal (SS), Sean Bunting (CB), Mike Edwards (S), Shaq Mason (OG)-trade, Tom Brady (QB)-retired, Donovan Smith (LT), Akiem Smith (DE), Leonard Fournette (RB), Cameron Brate (TE), Julio Jones (WR), William Gholston (DE)

Tom Brady has finally retired, for real this time, I think. That left the Bucs wondering what to do about the QB position moving forward. Baker Mayfield is the perceived starter, having signed with the team this offseason. Given the lack of certainty, the Bucs would be wise to bring in one more QB, definitely with one of their top picks, to inject some competition. The Bucs were dead last in 2022 in running the ball, admittedly that’s more a result of offensive scheme because they were very pass-heavy with Brady as their QB.

As a transitioning team, the Bucs need to rely a bit more on the run game. So, bolster the OL first. Get a player who can come in immediately and compete for a starting position. Signing former Chargers OL Matt Feiler certainly helps. He brings a great deal of experience and could play RG or RT. The Bucs might move Tristan Wirfs to LT (this is how it is currently laid out on Ourlads.com). The team should consider adding RB Chase Brown from Illinois to help round out their RB room.

The biggest need on defense is in the secondary. They could upgrade their nickelback position with a potential starter. There’s also a need for more bodies to work with at safety who can contribute on special teams. The Bucs also need to select another DL at some point in the draft. Their DL starters are set; there just needs to be another dependable player to put in the rotation. ILB is not a huge need, yet they need to think of the future of the position. Both Devin White and Levonte David are in contract years, and most likely, one of them won’t be on the team in 2024.

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