NFL Post-Draft NFC South Power Rankings

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1.  New Orleans Saints

The Saints march to the beat of their own draft drum. New Orleans’ first-round selection was a surprise — not just in terms of the player, but also the position targeted. The roster’s two biggest needs were cornerback and wide receiver, and the available prospect pool offered assorted options at each spot. But Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis went back to the 2018 playbook, opting instead for a developmental edge who’s eerily similar to first-round disappointment Marcus Davenport. In Round 2, the Saints scooped up a pro day wonder in Werner whose actual on-field play is more dependable than dynamic. New Orleans finally tended to the screaming need a cornerback in the third round, trading up for Adebo. He’s a scheme fit with significant man-coverage experience, but the Saints will need the 2020 opt-out to get back in the groove of things quickly. Book holds the distinction of being the winningest quarterback in Notre Dame history, but his selection in the fourth round was completely unexpected. With intangibles that far outstrip his tangibles, Book was widely projected to be drafted much later in Day 3, if at all. I know he’s nearly the exact same size as Drew Brees, but it’s time to let go, Saints.

Gennaro Filice of

2. Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons certainly kept true to their identity in this draft, using the eighth pick on Texas running back Bijan Robinson. There’s a massive amount of potential opportunity cost with taking a running back that early, and I have to dock them for that—but Robinson is one of the best creators on the ground that we’ve seen out of a running back prospect in the last decade, so he could help to take the load of carrying the offense off of second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder’s shoulders. The Falcons’ second-round pick, Syracuse offensive lineman Matthew Bergeron, brings smashmouth style in the run game that should be a boost to Atlanta’s run game as well. And Ohio State third-rounder Zach Harrison—a souped up edge rusher with rare length—gives the team another rotational piece on the defensive line. Add in fourth-round cornerback Clark Phillips III on day three, and Atlanta added some good players.

-Danny Kelly of

3. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers addressed a lot of team needs in the draft. Young should play the biggest role in next year’s team, assuming he can beat out Andy Dalton in training camp. Mingo provides another pass-catcher for Young to target, and don’t be surprised if Carolina has an above-average offense next year. The only reason this doesn’t come in as an A is that they could have used an interior linebacker more than a safety in the fifth.

– Teddy Ricketson of

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

First-round defensive tackle Calijah Kancey is a player who can really amp up their interior pass rush. Playing next to Vita Vea, he is the perfect complement. I liked that pick. Mauch is a nice second-round choice. Keep an eye on fifth-round pick SirVocea Dennis, a linebacker from Pittsburgh. Seventh-round receiver Trey Palmer can fly. This was a draft based on speed. They got faster.

– Pete Prisco of

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