NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers

     

Buccaneers

  • According to the Athletic’s Greg Auman, the Buccaneers already knew about CB Ryan Smith‘s four-game suspension before the draft and weren’t surprised by the news. 
  • Buccaneers UDFA RB Bruce Anderson and veteran Andre Ellington are in a wide-open competition for the third running back spot, per Auman.
  • Auman says he could see the Buccaneers adding a pass rusher like Derrick Morgan or Nick Perry to shore up the depth following DE Jason Pierre-Paul‘s accident.
  • Auman doesn’t see the Buccaneers as being a potential trade partner for Chargers RB Melvin Gordon because of HC Bruce Arians‘ reluctance to invest significantly in the position.
  • Pro Football Talk mentions the Buccaneers as a potential team to watch in a trade for Browns RB Duke Johnson

Falcons

Last year’s second-round pick for the Falcons, CB Isaiah Oliver, played more than 200 defensive snaps for Atlanta in his rookie season. With the departure of a few veterans, Oliver will be counted on as a No. 2 corner in the Falcons’ revamped secondary. 

“You see his athleticism,” secondary coach and defensive passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson said via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “His size. His poise. His intelligence. His work ethic. When you put all of those things together, you just know that this kid is going to figure it out. He’s going to be a good player in this league. He’s going to be a solid pro. The sky is the limit, how high he can go?”

The Falcons will also be moving DB Damontae Kazee from safety to nickel corner. Kazee tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions last season and the coaches want to get him closer to the ball. 

“I just moved with the best receiver (in college),” Kazee said. “Last year in the (exhibition) season, I played free safety and nickel. One half I’d go to nickel and one half I’d go to free safety. I already have the feel of it and everything. It’s not very new to me this year, so I can play it.”

Panthers

Panthers CB Donte Jackson had an impressive debut in his rookie season last year, securing the No. 2 starting spot and intercepting four passes. He’s looking to build off of that in his second season. 

“Obviously, the guys ask for a little more out of me this year,” Jackson said via Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer. “I kind of have a bigger role in the defense, even though I played a big role as a rookie. The older guys are really looking at me like a veteran leader now. So that’s kind of something different for me to get used to.”

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