Atlanta Falcons: Competition In The NFC South


While the Panthers may not have added another top reciever to complement Steve Smith, the Saints have been one of the league’s worst defenses over the years… John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

This week I thought I would get everybody’s opinion on the NFC South. To me the Atlanta Falcons are the clear-cut number one choice to take the division. This would make history because as most fans know there has never been an NFC South repeat champion. Therefore, the poll will be to find out who will be the number two team in the division and possible wildcard contender. A quick recap of the other three teams’ offseason activities and highlights:

Carolina Panthers- The Panthers had an interesting draft day. Instead of going the popular route and drafting either a defensive back or wider receiver in the first round the team pulled a wildcard and picked defensive lineman, Star Lotulelei (it took some research to get that one right) . He was one player that fell too far for how good he is. An instant upgrade over the other tackles on the team. Then as if to laugh at the people who write-up mock drafts the team went out and got yet another defensive tackle in the second round, with Kawann Short. Needless to say Carolina’s defensive line should be a force to be reckoned with next year. The team also brought in Domenik Hixon from the New York Giants and Ted Ginn Jr. from the San Francisco 49ers through free agency. These guys should help take some of the weight off of Steve Smiths’ shoulders but neither of these guys are the true compliment Smith deserves. The more surprising thing was the lack of a true number one corner acquisition. After Chris Gamble, the teams only number one corner, was let go most fans thought it was a certainty that the team was going to bring in an equal or better talent, which they did not. They did acquire Drayton Florence from the Detroit and D.J. Moore from Chicago, but neither one of these guys has shown that they can play up to the level of Chris Gamble.

New Orleans Saints- Let me start off by saying that as a Falcons fan I am, required by a blood pact I don’t remember taking, to hate the Saints. Now, having said that, the Saints first round draft pick was exactly what the team needed. Picking up Kenny Vaccaro was a step in the right direction for a defense that was pitiful last year. Beyond that, Jonathan Jenkins was the obvious pick since the team was needing a big nose tackle for the switch to 3-4 from 4-3. The big question marks for the team going forward is how well will the defense adjust to the scheme change in year one, and how much longer can Drew Brees and the high-powered offense carry the team to relevant years? The biggest factor that will affect the second part of that question is winning the battle of attrition on the offensive side of the ball. If Drew Brees goes down or takes a hit that affects his throwing motion this team had better hope the mediocre running-back-by-committee they have holds them together.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Tampa Bay may have been the team to spend the most money and try the hardest in general to improve during this offseason. Between Dashon Goldson, Darrell Revis, and first round pick Jonathan Banks the team has turned the biggest defensive weakness into a strength. For a group that ended the season as the number one rushing defense they could end up being a scary team to play against. Last years draft pick of Doug “The Muscle Hamster” Martin might end up being a home run if he can repeat the performance or improve on last year. The one thing that will possibly hold this team back is Josh Freeman. He has the running back, wide receivers, and offensive line to succeed but he still is terribly inconsistent. Even though Coach Schiano will never admit it, that is why they picked up Mike Glennon with their third round pick. The troubling thing is with the potential of the defense and the potential of Doug Martin, the team does not need an incredible quarterback. Even though they have the receivers in place in case Freeman or Glennon decide to step up and play with the big boys of the NFC South.

So lets see what you think. Comment or no comment, let your voice be heard!