Every year the NFL Draft is full of excitement, surprises, and twists just like your favorite TV show. It’s the greatest nine hours of reality TV every year and this year was no different; there were no shortage of surprises in the NFC South either.  Let’s take a look at how each team did in the draft.

Atlanta Falcons

Round 1, Pick 26: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Round 2, Pick 58: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado
Round 3, Pick 90: Deadrin Senat, DL, South Florida
Round 4, Pick 126: Ito Smith, RB, Southern Mississippi
Round 6, Pick 194: Russell Gage, WR, LSU
Round 6, Pick 200: Foye Oluokun, LB, Yale

The Falcons pulled in quite a haul this past weekend. They drafted Ridley at great value at wide receiver. Added length and speed in the secondary in Oliver. Secured a rotational 1T in Senat. Atlanta also added depth at running back, wide receiver and linebacker with Smith, Gage and Oluokun. Ridley, Oliver and Senat will contribute right away in Atlanta’s scheme, while Smith, Gage and Oluokun have potential to contribute also add great value on special teams. Atlanta had one of the best drafts in the league and look to not be watching the Super Bowl this year as it’ll be hosted in the Georgia Dome.

Grade: A

Carolina Panthers

Round 1, Pick 24: D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
Round 2, Pick 55: Donte Jackson, CB, LSU
Round 3, Pick 85: Rashaan Gaulden, DB, Tennessee
Round 4, Pick 101: Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana
Round 4, Pick 136: Marquis Haynes, LB, Ole Miss
Round 5, Pick 161: Jermaine Carter, LB, Maryland
Round 7, Pick 234: Andre Smith, LB, North Carolina
Round 7, Pick 242: Kendrick Norton, DL, Miami (FL)

Carolina quietly had a solid draft. D.J. Moore is arguably the best wide receiver in the draft and Donte Jackson is one of the fastest corners who can contribute right away. Gaulden can be moved all over the secondary and Ian Thomas is one of the most athletic tight ends in the draft who could inspire Carolina to use more 2 TE sets. Haynes is a pure speed rusher off the edge while Carter and Smith provide good depth at linebacker and Norton provides depth on the interior. Carolina has a new GM, OC, DC, QB coach and DL coach. General Manager Marty Hurney’s motto for the draft was, “Let the board come to you,” and he certainly did that. Carolina has a chance to be back in the mix for the division title.

Grade: B

New Orleans Saints

Round 1, Pick 14: Marcus Davenport, EDGE, UTSA
Round 3, Pick 91: Tre’Quan Smith, WR, UCF
Round 4, Pick 127: Rick Leonard, OT, Florida State
Round 5, Pick 164: Natrell Jamerson, S, Wisconsin

Round 6, Pick 189: Kamrin Moore, CB, Boston College
Round 6, Pick 201: Boston Scott, RB, Louisiana Tech
Round 7, Pick 245: Will Clapp, iOL, LSU

I did not like the trade up for Davenport; a 5th round 2018 pick and a 1st round 2019 pick is a hefty price to pay for an athletic, aggressive but raw pass rusher. However, if Davenport contributes right away, the Saints will look like draft geniuses for the second year in a row. Tre’Quan Smith has a chance to contribute his speed to the explosive Saints offense. Leonard is a converted defensive linemen who only has two years of experience manning the offensive trenches and will not be forced to play right away. Jamerson, Moore and Scott add depth and special teams value to their positions and Clapp will have a chance to earn a backup role behind Max Unger. The defending NFC South champs were one tackle away from the NFC Championship and have the talent to return right back to that position.

Grade: B-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Round 1, Pick 12: Vita Vea, DL, Washington
Round 2, Pick 38: Ronald Jones III, RB, USC
Round 2, Pick 53: M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
Round 2, Pick 63: Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn
Round 3, Pick 94: Alex Cappa, G, Humboldt State
Round 4, Pick 117: Jordan Whitehead, S, Pittsburgh
Round 5, Pick 144: Justin Watson, WR, Penn
Round 6, Pick 202: Jack Cichy, LB, Wisconsin

The Buccaneers have quietly had themselves a very good offseason. They have pulled in key free agents at positions of need and have done the same in the draft. The Bucs traded up for Vita Vea to give Gerald McCoy some help in the interior, even though Derwin James was still on the board. The Bucs had a choice of choosing a defensive linemen or safety later in the draft and they decided Ronald Jones out of USC. The blazing running back instantly boosts Tampa Bay’s running game, while other day 2 picks in Stewart, Davis and Cappa can all be potential starters. Whitehead is the late safety that adds another body to the crowded secondary and Watson is a sleeper wide receiver who adds speed to that offense. Cichy will be a depth player and special teamer, although we can see him in a larger role if he overcomes major medical concerns. With all the moves the Bucs have made, they will definitely be on the radar to compete for the division title.

Grade: A

About The Author P.J. Green

P.J. Green is a student-athlete and junior at Tusculum College. Green is an aspiring football coach/scout/player/media personality. Green has big goals but always wants football to be in his life no matter what. Please come at P.J. for funny hot takes.