Let’s take a plunge into the NFC South mailbag.
Frank in Clearwater, Fla., asks if the Bucs might follow a strategy similar to last year and draft defensive ends with their first two picks.
Pat Yasinskas: I wouldn’t rule that out at all. The Bucs set the precedent last year when they were desperate for help at defensive tackle and took Gerald McCoy and Brian Price with their first two picks. This year, they’re desperate for help at defensive end. They almost have to use at least one of their early picks on a defensive end and I wouldn’t be surprised if a second draft pick is used on a defensive end. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they sign a defensive end in free agency.
Ned in Canada wrote to say the Falcons should draft a wide receiver or a running back that’s a home-run threat because the only one they have is Roddy White.
Pat Yasinskas: No argument here. I said in our Leading Questions segment Tuesday the Falcons need to add a playmaker on offense and defense if they really want to take the next step. They do have to get a defensive end somewhere early in the draft or free agency. But I’d like to see them use an early draft pick on a receiver or running back with breakaway speed.
Sean in Charlotte, N.C., asks about the possibility of the Panthers signing wide receiver Plaxico Burress once he’s released from prison.
Pat Yasinskas: Not sure how long you’ve been in Charlotte, but if you’ve followed the history of the Panthers, you’d know there’s no chance of this happening. Ever since the Rae Carruth saga, owner Jerry Richardson has made sure the Panthers stay clear of any players with trouble in their background.
Clint in Santa Cruz, Calif., asks about the possibility of Burress landing with the Bucs.
Pat Yasinskas: Nice thought, but the Bucs are in a youth movement. They already have good young receivers in Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn and Sammie Stroughter. Burress will be 34 before next season starts. If the Bucs wanted an old wide receiver they could have just hung onto Joey Galloway.
Jamie in Minden, Nev., asks about the future of Reggie Bush with the Saints.
Pat Yasinskas: Bush remains under contract to the Saints. He has a big salary and that would make him tough to trade. I don’t think the Saints really want to trade him. He’s a Sean Payton favorite. I think you could see a situation where the Saints restructure Bush’s contract to make sure they keep him. But I also think last year’s injury problems at running back and the likely departure of Pierre Thomas mean the Saints will seek another running back to go with Bush and Chris Ivory.
Steve in New Jersey asks if Carolina owner Jerry Richardson’s hard-line stance in the labor negotiations could end up hurting the Panthers down the road.
Pat Yasinskas: That’s a good point because the labor situation is getting nasty and Richardson’s right in the middle of it all. That could come back to haunt him with players perceiving him in a negative light. It would be pretty ironic because Carolina used to be viewed as a destination spot by a lot of players because Richardson, a former player, was widely considered one of the best owners in the league, Bank of America Stadium is a top-notch facility and Charlotte’s a nice place to live and has decent weather.
Devin in Tampa writes that the Glazer family seems very uninterested and uninvolved in the Buccaneers and asks about the possibility of Eddie DeBartolo buying the team and being a hands-on owner.
Pat Yasinskas: Wow, it never ceases to amaze me how some people in the Tampa Bay area continue to perceive the Glazers. Let’s clarify what I think is Devin’s biggest misconception. The Glazers are very involved and interested in their team. If you’re around One Buc Place, you’ll almost always see a Glazer brother around. Their employees will tell you they’re very involved in business operations. It’s true that they’re not heavily involved in football operations, but I view that as a good thing. Leave the football stuff to general manager Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris. They seem to have things going in the right direction. Also, I think the Glazers get labeled because they’re not out in front of the cameras all the time. Is that really necessary for owners? How’s that worked out for Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones? Finally, Eddie DeBartolo had to disassociate himself from the San Francisco 49ers for legal reasons. Even if the Bucs were for sale, and they’re not, it might be difficult for DeBartolo to get back into the league.