NFC South afternoon update

Time for a quick afternoon trip through some headlines from around the division:


The Falcons are close to reaching a contract agreement with second-round pick Robert Alford, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter. Alford has a chance to compete with fellow rookie Desmond Trufant for a starting job at cornerback. At worst, Alford could end up as the nickel back. Trufant remains unsigned.


Guard Edmund Kugbila, a fourth-round draft pick, was reduced to taking mental reps during OTAs because of a sore leg. At the moment, the Panthers have Kugbila slotted at right guard behind veteran Geoff Hangartner.


Rookie Kenny Vaccaro got some first-team reps in minicamp at safety and nickel back. Veteran safeties Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins remain on the roster, and there were some sets in which the Saints had all three players on the field at the same time. I think defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will try to play to the strengths of his players, and you could see a situation where Harper plays on obvious running downs, and Vaccaro plays on obvious passing downs.


At least one fantasy football expert is predicting a big year for quarterback Josh Freeman. Citing a “contract-year push’’, he projects Freeman to put up numbers similar to what Atlanta’s Matt Ryan did last season. That would be enough to earn Freeman a very nice contract.