NFC South Notes: Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints




Leading up to the draft, the Panthers front office acknowledged the defense would likely be a priority. The unit was riddled with holes and Carolina spent most of its free agency budget on offense by adding QB Teddy Bridgewater and WR Robby Anderson. Still, by using all seven of their picks on defense, the Panthers became the first team in the modern draft era to focus exclusively on that side of the ball. 

“We really didn’t come in with that plan,” Panthers GM Marty Hurney said via Myles Simmons of the team’s website. “But we basically did stick to the board and the groupings and it just happened it was all seven (on) defense. I mean, we knew coming in that we wanted to help our defense — we knew that. But we didn’t come in planning that all seven picks were going to be defense. It just fell that way.”

  • According to Charles Robinson, the Panthers were “lining up” trade options with the No. 7 overall pick but Auburn DT Derrick Brown was among their top-rated players and Detroit was unsure if he would reach them. 
  • The Panthers guaranteed $100,000 of UDFA WR Omar Bayless‘ base salary. (Aaron Wilson)


  • Katherine Terrell of The Athletic mentions that seventh-round pick Tommy Stevens could play a role similar to the one that QB Taysom Hill played in the future.
  • Terrell mentions that Hill will likely see his snaps on special teams decrease, and will be more involved in offensive snaps.
  • Hill said talks started a few months ago with the Saints and that both parties agreed on a two-year deal. Hill also said his agent spoke with other teams, but he was set on returning to New Orleans. (Terrell)
  • The Saints drafted OL Cesar Ruiz in the first round and made it clear that he won’t be a backup. Terrell notes that this is not a good sign for G Larry Warford, who holds the second-highest cap hit on the team at $12 million and could be in line for a potential pay cut, trade, or release.
  • The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell says not to expect the Saints to process the signing of QB Jameis Winston until Monday to prevent Winston from canceling out a compensatory pick.  
  • Saints undrafted OL Jordan Steckler received $90,000 guaranteed, $15,000 in a signing bonus and $75,000 of his base salary. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Saints undrafted WR Juwan Johnson received $85,000 guaranteed, $10,000 in a signing bonus and $75,000 of his base salary. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Saints undrafted WR Marquez Callaway received $85,000 guaranteed, $10,000 in a signing bonus and $75,000 of his base salary. (Aaron Wilson)

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