NFC Notes: Buccaneers, Panthers, Saints


  • According to the Athletic’s Greg Auman, the Buccaneers expect to sign their rookie draft class when they report ahead of training camp. None have signed so far. 
  • The full list of Buccaneers draft picks includes:
Round Player Pos. Status
1 Tristan Wirfs OT  
2 Antoine Winfield Jr. S  
3 Ke’Shawn Vaughn RB  
5 Tyler Johnson WR  
6 Khalil Davis DT  
7 Chapelle Russell OLB  
7 Raymond Calais RB  


For years, the Panthers linebacker corps could be counted on to be one of the elite position groups in the entire NFL. Star middle linebacker Luke Kuechly and veteran LB Thomas Davis were so good they kept former first-round LB Shaq Thompson out of the starting lineup until Davis departed in free agency last year. With Kuechly retiring earlier this year to join Carolina’s front office, that leaves just Thompson to try and carry on the franchise’s tradition. 

“You had to bring that one up,” Thompson said on NFL Network via NFL Media’s Kevin Patra. “I’m still hurting to this day about that one. I lost a great friend, a brother, just a great teammate overall. Luke taught me a lot in my five years, just playing alongside of him and just playing and just learning from him. I’m gonna go out there and try my best. Luckily, we still have him in the organization, in the office. So he can probably come down and show us things and stuff like that. So he’ll still be around to help out with any questions, any football things on and off the field. So, we’re glad to have him. But I gotta step up as the last linebacker [of that] trio that we had with Thomas Davis and Luke. So I gotta step up and fill that role and be that leader.”


  • The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell doesn’t rule out the Saints reciprocating DE Jadeveon Clowney‘s interest, though she points out with just $9 million in available cap space it would be hard for even the Saints to fit Clowney in. 
  • Based on what she’s heard from the coaching staff, Terrell mentions Saints WR Tre’Quan Smith as a potential breakout candidate. 
  • Terrell notes there’s no way the Saints don’t extend OT Ryan Ramczyk, who’s already a two-time All-Pro selection at 26. 

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