NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Desmond Ridder, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • Buccaneers HC Todd Bowles on the team adding QB Baker Mayfield: “It gives us competition, gives us another warrior. He’s a proven option to compete with Trask.” (Greg Auman)
  • Bowles says the team is being patient about adding a second tackle to pair with Tristan Wirfs, as they want to be pleased with the final results. (Auman)
  • Bowles added Robert Hainsey would be in the mix at guard when Ryan Jensen is back at center. (Auman)
  • Bowles said he’s still hopeful veteran DL Akiem Hicks will be returning to the team. (Auman)


  • The Athletic’s Josh Kendall is doubtful the Falcons are going to change their minds about pursuing Ravens QB Lamar Jackson after the draft and expects QB Desmond Ridder to run the show in 2023. 
  • Kendall notes that while the Falcons used Day 2 picks on Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone last year, there are some questions about whether they fit in new DC Ryan Nielsen‘s scheme. Both are lighter, faster edge rushers and Nielsen has typically preferred his edge players to be bigger. 
  • Falcons HC Arthur Smith confirmed Ridder is the starting quarterback: “We expect Desmond to take the next step.” (D. Orlando Ledbetter)
  • Smith would not comment on Jackson: “We are going to talk about our own players.”
  • Smith said of TE Kyle Pitts: “We’re expecting him to take the next step. As he comes back from his knee [injury], we couldn’t be more excited Kyle and his future.” (Scott Bair)


  • Panthers HC Frank Reich says he’s had his eye on WR DJ Chark for a few years and likes the downfield threat he brings to the team. (Darin Gantt)
  • Reich added Chark recently underwent ankle surgery but could be ready for part of OTAs. (Joe Person)
  • Chark will have an expanded role in the offense, with Reich adding: “We want to develop him into a complete receiver, widen his route tree. It’s not just going to be all the vertical stuff down the field.’’ (David Newton)
  • Reich called Florida QB Anthony Richardson an “exciting” prospect, adding there are moments on film that “scream top pick” and he isn’t discouraged by his completion percentage. (Mike Kaye)
  • When it comes to Alabama QB Bryce Young, Reich said durability concerns are more the discussion than batted passes. (Person)
  • Arkansas LB Bumper Pool has a top-30 visit scheduled with the Panthers. He was not invited to the Combine. (Ian Rapoport)


  • According to Luke Johnson, the Saints are expected to hire former All-Pro G Jahri Evans to their staff.
  • Saints HC Dennis Allen expects WR Michael Thomas to be healthy and ready to go at some point this offseason, adding that he is not quite 100 percent at this point. (Nick Underhill)
  • Allen’s update on the health of Thomas: “He’s not 100 percent. We’re going to be cautious with it. I expect him to be fully healthy and ready to go. When that time is, I don’t want to get into those speculations. But yeah we feel good where he’s at.” (Garland Gillen)
  • Allen believes Trevor Penning will compete at left tackle and has felt that way since the team drafted him. (John DeShazier)
  • The Saints will hold joint practices with the Chargers during training camp. (Nick Underhill)
  • Cincinnati WRs Tyler Scott and Tre Tucker both met with the Saints the night before their pro day. (Tony Pauline)
  • The Saints had a private dinner meeting with Pittsburgh DL Deslin Alexander. (Ryan Fowler)

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