Around the NFC South

Time for a quick run through the NFC South headlines.

This article asks if the Carolina Panthers should bring in veteran Kerry Collins as a mentor for rookie quarterback Cam Newton. It almost makes some sense. Collins has faced the pitfalls that come with being a young franchise quarterback in Charlotte. He’s changed his life and mended fences with most of the people within the organization. But the Panthers don’t need reminders of the past. Besides, they’ve got a coordinator, Rob Chudzinski, and quarterbacks coach, Mike Shula, to serve as mentors.

The Falcons will follow the lead of the Saints last week and conduct a players’-only minicamp starting today. Matt Ryan and most of the big names are scheduled to attend. The Bucs and Panthers also have done some smaller-scale workouts.

If the Panthers trade receiver Steve Smith, Pat Kirwan suggests the likely compensation would be a fourth-round draft pick, with the possibility of a third-round pick. Sounds about right. Smith’s age and recent injury history will hold back his value.

Once again, Reggie Bush’s verified Twitter account is stirring things up. He might want to consult with Atlanta receiver Roddy White for advice on how to master Twitter.

In his new book, Jets coach Rex Ryan said that New York’s choice on a quarterback in 2009 came down to Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman. Ryan said interviews with both players went very well, but the deciding factor might have been pro day workouts. At USC, Ryan said 24 receivers showed up to catch Sanchez’s passes. At Kansas State, only two receivers showed up. Ryan said that convinced the Jets that teammates had respect for Sanchez. That all may be true, but it’s a little easier to get 24 receivers, hoping to show scouts and coaches they belong in the league, to gather in Southern California on a March day than it is to get a similar group together in Kansas. Since his arrival in Tampa Bay, I don’t think there’s been any doubt about teammates respecting Freeman.