Today's question: There is plenty of new talent in the NFC South. Who will make the biggest impact this season? Our NFC South reporters give their predictions.
Jenna Laine, Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter: I've got two, and they both hail from the same defensive backfield at the University of Florida -- Keanu Neal with the Falcons and Vernon Hargreaves III with the Bucs. I think Neal can be a real enforcer on the back end of Dan Quinn's defense. He'll throttle guys, and he's got strong coverage skills on third down. Then with Hargreaves, whether he's lining up on the outside or in nickel -- he's done both in practice -- he's always flying to the ball and will instantly upgrade a secondary that allowed a 70 percent completion percentage last season. I came away really impressed with him after rookie camp and minicamp, where he consistently made one or two impact plays every practice.
Vaughn McClure, Atlanta Falcons reporter: I firmly believe you can't discount what the addition of three-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack means to the Falcons. Just from observing him during the offseason, Mack seems to do all the little things right, including setting an example of leadership by running sprints after practice. The Falcons had issues snapping the ball last season, a problem that should be resolved immediately thanks to Mack's expertise. He has good feet to get out and block in Kyle Shanahan's outside-zone blocking scheme. And Mack should help alleviate some of the pressure that Matt Ryan gets thrown in his face up the middle. The only issue I've heard about Mack is that he can get overpowered against big, top-caliber defensive tackles; he'll have to face a few of those in the NFC South. My second pick for top newcomer would be Saints rookie defensive lineman Sheldon Rankins, a guy Mack better be aware of.
David Newton, Carolina Panthers reporter: Torn here between a veteran newcomer in Atlanta center Alex Mack and a rookie newcomer in Carolina cornerback James Bradberry. The Falcons desperately needed help in the middle of their horrid line, and they appear to have gotten it with the three-time Pro Bowler. Quarterback Matt Ryan is only as good as his protection, and the pressure he got up the middle last season left him helpless at times. If Mack can adequately handle the inside rush of tackles such as Carolina's Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei, look for Ryan and Julio Jones to become an even bigger scare -- as hard as that is to believe. I throw Bradberry into the equation here because on paper he looks like Josh Norman, the Pro Bowl corner he's being asked to replace -- he's even wearing Norman's number (24). If the second-round pick out of Samford adequately fills Norman's shoes, particularly against big receivers such as Jones, the Carolina defense easily should rank among the top five in the NFL.
Mike Triplett, New Orleans Saints reporter: Alex Mack, Falcons. It's a bit cliché to say that a veteran free agent will bring "stability" to a team, but that's exactly what the Falcons need in the middle of an unstable line. I watched them lose a game to the Saints in the Superdome last season when Matt Ryan was sacked five times and the center fumbled a snap off his leg. The Falcons have been searching for that stability at center for the last few years. And now they're adding not just a solid veteran but a three-time Pro Bowler who is arguably the best player to join the division regardless of need. The Saints didn't add anyone with quite the same pedigree this offseason, but they're hoping veteran middle linebacker James Laurinaitis will have a similar effect as the new "quarterback" of a defense that has been plenty unstable itself.