NFC Notes: Akiem Hicks, Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers


New Buccaneers DL Akiem Hicks wanted to play for a winning team and had other suitors in free agency, ultimately choosing to play with QB Tom Brady for the second time in his career.

“Something I’ve thought of often is that when I came into the league I had Drew Brees and Tom Brady as my first two quarterbacks,” Hicks said, via “And then I went to Chicago – it wasn’t Drew Brees and Tom Brady, let me say that, right? I feel spoiled to have somebody on the other side of the ball that can deliver all the time, and he’s proven it over the years.”

  • Bucs director of pro scouting Rob McCartney and director of college scouting Mike Biehl both are now working as directors of player personnel. (Greg Auman)
  • The Bucs are also promoting Jacqueline Davidson to senior director of football research and Spencer Dille to senior director of football technology. (Auman)


Falcons QB Feleipe Franks is working as both a quarterback and a tight end.

I’ve been pleased with both quarterbacks, with what Marcus (Mariota) and Desmond (Ridder) are doing,” Falcons HC Arthur Smith said, via Pro Football Talk. “Feleipe is still working in that (meeting) room. He’s a valuable football player for us. He’ll take some reps at quarterback. Put Feleipe in that hybrid category.

  • Falcons DC Dean Pees said that he was glad to sign LB Rashaan Evans as a free agent after getting released by the Titans: “I don’t know why Tennessee let him go and quite frankly I don’t care, but I’m glad they did.” (Maria Martin)


Panthers HC Matt Rhule said the team’s plan at this time is to re-evaluate the quarterback position after training camp.

I think as we finish minicamp, Scott [Fitterer] and I will talk, really at every position and say, ‘Hey, where are we?’” Rhule said, via Panthers Wire. “I think at the end of next week—we sit down, we talk about, ‘Hey, where are we?’ We’ve had a chance to see these guys now for eight weeks, nine weeks. Where do we need to bring some more help in? And where do we need to look for somebody at? Where are we good at? I think those talks happen as you finish up minicamp.

Rhule said that QB Sam Darnold needs to keep improving and noted that the team rebuilt the offensive line in front of him.

I think Sam just has to keep working and developing,” he said. “We’ve made the offensive line significantly improved in front of him. He’s learning this offense. He started over really at square one in this offense. I just think he has to just keep stacking days.

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