Looking ahead with Mel Kiper Jr.

The 2013 draft is over, but Mel Kiper Jr. already is looking ahead.

Kiper’s first Insider 2014 Big Board is out and it’s worth pondering and thinking about what NFC South teams could be in the market for next year.

The biggest issue hanging out there is whether Josh Freeman is the long-term answer in Tampa Bay. I think Freeman will be fine and end up eventually getting another contract with the Buccaneers. But what if that doesn’t happen?

Well, the 2014 group of quarterbacks is looking better than the 2013 crop. Kiper has three quarterbacks rated in the top 25: Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Tajh Boyd.

And what if the New Orleans Saints don’t find an effective pass-rusher for their 3-4 defense? UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr is No. 5 on Kiper’s board.

Carolina is rolling the dice this season and going with a bunch of mid-level cornerbacks. Maybe some of those guys rise up. If they don’t, Kiper has Ohio State’s Bradley Roby and Florida’s Loucheiz Purifoy in his top 10.

I can look ahead and see Atlanta having a potential need at defensive tackle. Jonathan Babineaux isn’t getting any younger and Corey Peters and Peria Jerry aren’t getting any younger. Unless the Falcons fall apart, they’re not likely to have a top-10 pick. But they could target someone like LSU’s Anthony Johnson, who is No. 22 on Kiper’s board.