NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers

Buccaneers

Buccaneers HC Dirk Koetter mentioned that their secondary is a “logical” area for them to target in this year’s draft.

We said at the end of the year, the No. 1 thing we needed to do was get Brent Grimes back and we did that,” Koetter said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times“And then, also, Vernon Hargreaves finished the year on [injured reserve]. When you have those two guys coming back plus the experience that Ryan Smith‘s got and Justin Evans coming back at safety — all that said, now that the defensive line has had so many additions, I would think secondary is logical to think that would be an area of target in the draft. And again, I think it’s a strong group in the secondary in this year’s draft class. I know I’ve watched a bunch of guys and there’s a lot of guys I like.”

We have the Buccaneers taking FSU S Derwin James in our latest 2018 NFL Mock Draft.

Falcons

Falcons QB Matt Ryan mentioned that contract talks regarding a long-term extension have been “productive up to this point.

“I think things have been productive up until this point,” Ryan said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “As far as a time frame of anything like that, it will shake out. It will handle itself. I don’t know if it will be today or tomorrow. Or in a couple of weeks, but I really think we are moving in the right direction. I’m excited to be here and that’s the biggest thing. All of those things will take care of itself.”

  • The Falcons announced Monday that they’ve hired Travis Jones as an assistant DL coach, and Aden Durde as a defensive quality control coach.
  • The Falcons are hosting Nebraska QB Tanner Lee for a pre-draft visit. (Ian Rapoport)
  • Kent State CB Jerrell Foster has worked out privately for the Falcons. (Aaron Wilson)
  • The Falcons hosted Cincinnati OT Korey Cunningham for a visit last week. (Vaughn McClure)

Panthers

  • Ken Belson of the New York Times reports that Steelers minority owner David Tepper, who has been the NFL’s preferred candidate to purchase the Panthers, is no longer in running to acquire the franchise.
  • Instead, Belson says that the bidding is down to two suitors — investment firm owner Ben Navarro and metal and mining tycoon Alan Kestenbaum.
  • Several people familiar with the auction have told Belson that Navarro is believed to have offered $2.6 billion for the Panthers. However, it remains to be seen whether he’ll need help from other investors to offer this much for the team.
  • It’s possible that the NFL could settle on a winning bid by the end of the month.
  • However, Tepper tells the Charlotte Observer that he has not dropped out the race for the Panthers, despite the earlier report.

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