NFC Rumors: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

     

Buccaneers

Falcons

Falcons’ new GM Terry Fontenot said they must weigh all of their options at No. 4 overall in the draft.

“There’s still variables involved,” Fontenot said, via Around the NFL. “We know the players that we’ll be discussing there, and we can all anticipate the first three picks, but it has to actually happen. From that point, we have to weigh the options in terms of if we trade back and compare it to the player we could get at 4, or if we trade back, what would be the value. … You never know what’s gonna happen at that exact moment, but we know the players that we’re talking about there.”

Fontenot admitted that they must “add quarterbacks” given that Matt Ryan is the only player under contract at the position. 

“We understand we have to add quarterbacks to the roster,” said Fontenot, via Michael Rothstein

  • ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler mention the 49ers and Falcons coaching staffs have spent so much time with North Dakota State’s coaching staff discussing QB Trey Lance that those in Fargo would be surprised if both teams pass on Lance. 
  • They two write that early in the process, Falcons owner Arthur Blank was encouraging his team brass to think about taking advantage of drafting so early in a loaded quarterback class. 
  • However, Fontenot and HC Arthur Smith preferred trying to build a short-term winning team around Ryan and Blank decided not to overrule his two hires, per Graziano and Fowler. The expectation is now that the Falcons stay put and take Florida TE Kyle Pitts.
  • Fowler and Graziano add there was chatter earlier in the week that the Lions tried to trade up to No. 4 overall for LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase but Atlanta’s asking price was too high. 
  • The two mention the Falcons have also done extensive work on this running back class. 

Panthers

  • ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler write the Panthers are angling to trade back to pick up more draft capital with the goal of still landing a premiere player. 
  • They add if Oregon LT Penei Sewell makes it to their pick at No. 8, Carolina could stick and pick — or dangle Sewell to another team that wants to trade up. 
  • Fowler and Graziano says the team has toyed with the idea of drafting a quarterback and having two on rookie deals. They’ll consider that if Ohio State QB Justin Fields is available but other teams believe Carolina isn’t really serious about drafting a quarterback and is just trying to leverage a trade back. 
  • The Athletic’s Joe Person writes that some Panthers officials see Fields as a generational talent and think the team should keep taking big swings at the position, so it’s not out of the question entirely he is picked. 
  • However, he adds the Panthers are working hard to lay the foundation for a trade back as well. If Sewell is on the board at No. 8, they could keep the pick. Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II is another option there, per Person. 
  • If Carolina trades back with the Eagles at No. 12, they could be choosing between Surtain, South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn, Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater or Penn State LB Micah Parsons
  • If Carolina goes all the way back to No. 15 in a trade with the Patriots, Person highlights Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw and CB Caleb Farley as some potential options. 

Saints

  • NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reports that the Bears, Vikings, Saints and Buccaneers have done “extra leg work” on scouting Stanford QB Davis Mills, Florida QB Kyle Trask and Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond
  • Saints GM Mickey Loomis said cutting P Thomas Morstead was a difficult decision for them this offseason. (Mike Triplett)
  • As for prospects in the draft who opted out of last season, Loomis said that “isn’t a significant variable” and doesn’t see that “weighing too negatively” in evaluations.  (Nick Underhill)
  • Loomis acknowledged his “aggressive” label in regards to trading up in previous drafts and mentioned that he prefers “quality over volume.” (Mike Triplett)
  • The Saints have hired Michael Parenton as its new pro personnel director. (Katherine Terrell)
  • According to a league source, Northwestern QB Peyton Ramsey has had Zoom meetings with the Saints, as well as the Cardinals, Broncos, Bears, Vikings, Bengals and Buccaneers. The Falcons have also shown interest. 

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