NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers

     

Buccaneers

Buccaneers LB Lavonte David recalled Jameis Winston‘s pre-game “Eat the W” speech, and that he “didn’t go over well” with his teammates going forward. 

“I was right in the heart of it [Eat the W]. My boy Jameis [Winston], he’s a very, very, very energetic, animated guy. That was just something that he thought up off the top of his head. And he came out with it and it was weird, man. It was weird, honestly. He knows it was weird. Everybody wasn’t really thrilled with it for a hype-up speech, but unfortunately, that’s going to follow my guy Jameis for his whole career. He meant well by it. But that particular thing didn’t go over well with the rest of the team, and the outcome of that game kind of proved it. It definitely was something that kind of caught me off guard. I was kind of like, ‘What?’ It is what it is, though. We all love Jameis. He meant well. He’s a great competitor, but unfortunately, that’s going to follow him for a long time,” said David, via JoeBucsFan.com.

Falcons

  • The Athletic’s Tori McElhaney writes that the Falcons almost have to draft a quarterback since Matt Schaub retired and they released Kurt Benkert, leaving just Matt Ryan on the roster. The only question is when they draft one. 
  • If the Falcons don’t use their first-round pick on a quarterback, McElhaney thinks they could target Stanford’s Davis Mills on Day 2 or Texas’ Sam Ehlinger on Day 3. 
  • McElhaney notes that while he’s currently projected to start at left guard, Falcons OL Matt Gono might be a better fit as a swing tackle. She thinks Atlanta could target Alabama OL Landon Dickerson or Georgia G Ben Cleveland in the middle rounds to compete for a starting job. 
  • Many mocks have the Falcons landing Clemson RB Travis Etienne at the top of the second round, but McElhaney highlights Memphis RB Kenneth Gainwell as an option in the third round if Atlanta decides to pass on Etienne. 
  • McElhaney thinks the Falcons could address their big need at edge rusher in a few ways, either by targeting Georgia OLB Azeez Ojulari in a trade down in the first round, adding Temple DE Quincy Roche as a rotational guy in the mid-rounds, or adding Duke DE Victor Dimukeje as a developmental pass rusher.  
  • The Falcons are rebuilding their safety position essentially from scratch, but McElhaney isn’t sure if they’ll see the position as valuable enough to spend their lone second-round pick on someone like TCU s Trevon Moehrig.
  • She thinks they could look to address the position in the middle rounds with someone like Virginia Tech S Divine Deablo or Auburn S Jamien Sherwood instead.  

Panthers

New Panthers’ GM Scott Fitterer was a part of a Seahawks group that traded out of the first round for eight straight years. It is no surprise to hear him say he’s spoken to five teams about trading back in the draft.

“And there’ll be a lot more calls this week,” Fitterer said, via Joseph Person of The Athletic. “We’re very open to moving back. We’re open to picking. It just depends on how the board falls those first seven picks in front of us. We don’t want to trade out to beyond a certain level where the talent dips, and we know exactly where that’s at in this draft. And we’ll see what the options are. We’re more than willing to listen.”

While the Panthers need a tackle and a cornerback, Person notes that Carolina likes all three of the top corners in the draft, including Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley.

Person also says not to sleep on LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase, who is obviously familiar with Panthers’ OC Joe Brady.

“It seems like that every year, between 15 and 19. And it’s right in that range once again this year,” Fitterer said. “And then beyond that, it’s a really strong second round. Kind of the next 30 to 40 players, it’s a really good group. There are some obvious positions that we can upgrade, but we’re just going to take the best player available. That’s what we did in free agency. We filled a lot of needs. We’re a build-through-the-draft team. And that’s what we want to do — take the best available player.”

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