Around the NFC South

Let's take a quick trip through some headlines around the NFC South.

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper defended Carolina quarterback Jimmy Clausen in a conference call with the media. Although Kiper has the Panthers taking quarterback Cam Newton in his latest Insider mock draft, he says Clausen didn’t have a fair shake in his rookie season. That’s all true and Clausen still might develop into something, but the Panthers can’t count on that after his rookie season.

In that same conference call, Kiper said the Buccaneers need to address their biggest need and draft a defensive end at No. 20. He said the uncertainty about cornerback Aqib Talib’s future after an off-field incident might prompt the Bucs to take a cornerback, but he sees that coming later in the draft. I agree. Defensive end is a much bigger need. The Bucs have some other decent corners and they also could add help later in the draft. But the best way to help the Tampa Bay corners is with a pass rush.

New Orleans offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod is back home in Maryland during the lockout and has been working out at Towson State.

The New York Times takes a look back at Atlanta’s 2010 season. Perhaps the most interesting item came when cornerback Dunta Robinson was described as “good, not great’’. I tend to agree with that. There was a lot of hype when Robinson signed a big contract as a free agent last year. He ended up producing just one interception. That has led some people to claim he’s a bust. But Robinson was not a bust. He was solid and teams threw away from him. That’s a big part of the reason why Brent Grimes, the other starting corner, had five interceptions

Former Tampa Bay guard Arron Sears has been released from jail. This wasn’t Sears’ first problem. He took a leave of absence for what the team called a personal issue in 2009. He was released last year after the team said he had a setback.