NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers



Falcons GM Terry Fontenot spoke about why the team opted to draft WR Drake London with a top ten pick, as he was the first wide receiver off the board.

“Put on any game. Find me a couple of times where he runs out of bounds – because he doesn’t,” Fontenot said, via “He finishes plays. He lowers his head. He’s tough and physical. Some guys are selective. He’s all the time…The fact that he had the injury, we wanted to see him move around and see him do some different things. We were able to go and just do that on our own, and that was very important.”


The Panthers haven’t necessarily been the most patient and prudent team the past couple of seasons. But after multiple high-profile strikeouts at the quarterback position, owner Dave Tepper revisited the “Rome wasn’t built in a day” metaphor in his first press conference in 16 months a few weeks ago. It evidently mirrored what he was telling his front office behind the scenes before the draft as well. 

“It really came down to, ‘What’s the right football decision? Let’s not push need. Let’s not be desperate. Let’s make the right football decision for our team,’” Panthers GM Scott Fitterer said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “And that was a conversation that was really guided by Mr. Tepper at the time, and Matt and I worked through it with him, and we had all these scenarios mapped out that said, ‘Hey, let’s take the tackle. If the quarterbacks fall, we can always trade up.’”

  • Breer explains Carolina’s game plan for the No. 6 pick entering the draft. They had three tackles — Ikem Ekwonu, Evan Neal and Charles Cross — they thought would be worth the pick, with two rated above the others. Breer doesn’t explicitly say so but other reporting indicates Ekwonu and Neal were probably the top two. 
  • If one of Ekwonu or Neal was available, they would be the pick. If both were gone, Breer says Carolina would have looked to trade down but also would have been fine taking Cross. If all three were gone, Breer says the Panthers would have tried to trade back or taken a quarterback. 
  • Ultimately all three tackles were available and Carolina took Ekwonu. From there, they traded back into the third round to take QB Matt Corral but Fitterer says they had a deal worked out to move back into the second at one point before they decided to be patient: “You can’t keep borrowing from the future. It was like, we need to be smart about this and be disciplined about it.”
  • Fitterer said the team had options to trade back from the No. 6 pick: “There were several teams that wanted to come up, thought we had 3 really good offers.”  (SiriusXM NFL Radio)

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