Needy NFC South
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The 2022 draft starts April 28th in Paradise, Nevada. I’m going to take a look at the NFC South and see who each team will draft in the first round.
#6 Carolina: The Panthers (5 – 12) have several positions they need to address. Quarterback is the biggest glaring weakness. They did trade for Sam Darnold last April. He started the season well but suffered fractured scapula during the game against New England and he missed seven games.
Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett would be a good pick if he’s still available. He had a breakout senior season, throwing for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns, 7 interceptions while completing 67% of his passes.
If they don’t get him NC State tackle Ikem Ekwonu would also be a good pick. He’s a very good run blocker but he still needs to get better in pass protection.
#8 Atlanta: The Falcons (7 – 10) announced they have no plans to move on from Matt Ryan. The number one receiver Calvin Ridley only played in five games before missing the rest of the season. Surprisingly, it was not due to injury but to deal with personal issues. Atlanta also needs to improve on the offensive and defensive lines.
Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeux would be a great fit. The Falcons have struggled with getting pressure on the quarterback for a few seasons and he can change that. He had 7 sacks and 2 forced fumbles last season.
Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson could also fill a void if Ridley is traded. He had 70 catches for the Buckeyes with 1,058 yards and 12 scores.
#18 New Orleans: The Saints (9 – 8) had several injuries last season and started a few quarterbacks. They still wound up over .500. Sean Payton has resigned as head coach and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has replaced him.
Drew Brees retired after the 2020 season and Jameis Winston was supposed to replace him. He suffered a season ending injury so we do not know if they will resign him or move in a different direction. Star receiver Michael Thomas also missed all of last season.
If they pick a quarterback Matt Corral from Ole Miss will get selected. He passed for 3,349 yards, 20 touchdowns, 5 picks and completed 68% of his passes. On paper he’s good but he struggles in big games.
Wide receiver Chris Olave from Ohio State could also be an option. He caught 63 passes for 936 yards and 13 TD’s.
#27 Tampa Bay: The Bucs (13 – 4) had a great season. They lost to the Rams in the divisional round of the playoffs. Tom Brady has retired after the season. I believe they will try to get a veteran QB to replace him as a free agent. They could also lose Chris Godwin in free agency.
Boise State WR Khalil Shkir would be a good replacement. He primarily played in the slot last season. He only had 22% of his snaps were out wide in 2021. He caught 77 passes for 1,117 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Texas A&M offensive lineman Kenyon Green could also be an option. He is versatile and could play guard or right tackle. He has more than 35 starts in his three-year career so he has a lot of experience.