I just arrived back at NFC South Blog headquarters after a rather busy few days at the owners meetings in Palm Beach. I’ve got a tape recorder full of quotes from NFC South coaches and other officials that I’ll work into various posts in the coming days. And I’m sure there will be much more to come on the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal and how they’ll replace coach Sean Payton during his suspension.
But let’s take a little break from all that. Let’s take a quick look ahead to the NFL draft, which suddenly appears to be coming up soon. Let’s turn to Todd McShay’s latest mock draft in this Insider post. This one goes two rounds deep, so we also can get the Falcons involved this time around.
The Buccaneers and Panthers are the only two teams with first-round picks, so we’ll start with them. McShay has the Bucs taking Alabama running back Trent Richardson at No. 5. That thought probably will gain even more momentum after coach Greg Schiano talked about LeGarrette Blount’s ball-security issues. It certainly is possible the Bucs go with Richardson, but I still think LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne remains a strong possibility with this pick.
At No. 9, McShay has the Panthers taking Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe. That certainly makes sense and lots of people think the Panthers are almost certain to use this pick on a defensive tackle. I’m not so sure about that's a given. I think the Panthers are looking at defensive tackles, but also considering some other options.
In the second round, McShay has North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown going to the Bucs at No. 36. This makes lots of sense because the Bucs have a bunch of question marks at linebacker. At No. 40, McShay has Carolina taking North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins. He’s had some off-field issues and I know the perception started last year that the Panthers no longer will take only squeaky-clean prospects. I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. I think the Panthers are willing to look at guys who have had problems, but will only take a chance on them if their homework shows there’s not a lot of risk.
At No. 55, McShay has the Falcons taking Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry. Atlanta recently re-signed John Abraham. But let’s face reality. The Falcons need someone besides Abraham to rush the passer.