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2020 NFL Draft Grades: NFC South

With the Bucs adding to their offense, did the other teams in the NFC South do enough to make up the difference? Or is Tampa in the driver’s seat?

NFL Field by Erin Costa is licensed under CC BY 2.0

2020 NFL Draft Grades: NFC South


Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

We’re still buzzing after NFL Draft and this is the week where every sports site and news paper asks the same question:

How would you grade your team’s draft class?

In some ways it is a pointless effort as it is so subjective that you can’t really take it seriously. (But its fun!) We should be able to enjoy and sit back knowing in 2-3 years this same class will be judged differently.

Every team has high hopes right now (aside from the Texans). So, let’s get into our grades for the NFC East! For a full list of every team’s draft grades, check them out here!


NFC SOUTH


NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

SELECTIONS: (24). Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan/ (74). Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin/ (105). Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton/ (240). Tommy Stevens, QB, Mississippi State

Best pick: Zach Baun, LB, Wisconsin. The Saints traded up for Baun in the 3rd round. Baun was the leader of the Badgers finishing the year with 76 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks.

Worst pick: Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan. I love Cesar Ruiz and he can be a potential all-pro with the Saints. The team, however, just drafted Center Erik McCoy in the second round last year and he was solid. They also re-signed left guard Andres Peat and right guard Larry Warford is in the final year of his contract. Ruiz may likely not step onto the field much until 2021.

Sleeper pick: Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton: I believe the Saints got the #2 Tight End at 105 overall. While Trautman came from small school Dayton and should have an adjustment period, he should be able to compliment #1 Tight End Jared Cook and eventually replace him.

Grade: C


ATLANTA FALCONS

SELECTIONS: (16) A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson/ (47) Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn/ (78) Matt Hennessy, C, Temple/ (119)Mykal Walker, LB, Fresno State/ (134) Jaylinn Hawkins, S, California/(228) Sterling Hofrichter, P, Syracuse

Best pick: Matt Hennessy, C, Temple: Matt is going to likely back up Center Alex Mack in year one but it’ll be worth it to learn from one of the best in the league. Hennessy is able to step into any interior position.

Worst Pick: AJ Terrell, CB, Clemson. There was so much talk about the Falcons moving up early in the first round but none of that came to fruition. That talk made this pick even more stunning and labeled a “reach”. Terrell was bullied by Ja’Marr Chase in the National Championship game and doesn’t look the part of a #1 Cornerback, which you desire with pick #16.

Sleeper Pick: Marlon Davidson, Edge, Auburn: Davidson played under the shadow of 8th pick Derrick Brown at Auburn but was pretty good himself. A lot of websites compare him to their current pass rusher Takk McKinley, but unlike Takk (Whom the team is still undecided on a fifth year option), Marlon can switch from Edge to interior rusher

Grade: C

CAROLINA PANTHERS

SELECTIONS: (7). Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn/ (38). Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State/ (64). Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois/ (113). Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame/ (152). Kenny Robinson Jr., S, West Virginia/ (184). Bravvion Roy, DT, Baylor/ (221). Stantley Thomas-Oliver III, CB, Florida International

Best pick: It’s crazy how new head coach Matt Rhule used EVERY pick on defense but that’s what happens when your team gave up 29.4 points per game last year. All of Carolina’s first picks were of value, but Pride is really good value in the fourth to replace the departed James Bradberry.

Worst pick: Kenny Robinson, Jr., Safety, XFL: In my opinion this was a strange pick just by the fact that Robinson just spent the last year playing in the XFL. He is a range center field type of safety who is still a “bit of a work in progress.” 

Sleeper Pick: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois. Chinn is a large safety who rose up the draft boards within the last couple of months. This small- schooler will take some time adjusting to the speed of the NFL game but is a stout run defender who some see in the mold of All-Pro Harrison Smith.

Grade: B+


TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

SELECTIONS: (13). Tristan Wirfs, T, Iowa/ (45). Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota/(76). Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt/ (161). Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota/ (194). Khalil Davis, DT, Nebraska/ (241). Chapelle Russell, LB, Temple/ (245). Raymond Calais, RB, Louisiana

Best pick: Tristian Wirfs, T, Iowa: While I’m not the hugest fan of trading back one slot to pick the player of their choice, I’m OK with it in this scenario. The Bucs possibly picked up the best tackle in the draft in Wirfs to protect Tom Brady. With Brady and Gronk in the fold suddenly the Bucs are contenders:

Worst pick: Ke’Shawn Vaughn. RB, Vanderbilt: Vaughn is seen as ” a quality back-up running back as part of a stable, but he’s not going to demand his pro team to feed him carries.” Frankly, I’m not convinced that Ronald Jones is a number one running back and while I understand that Winfield was an excellent pick at 45, I still would have liked the Bucs to pick up a 3-down RB like JK Dobbins or Cam Akers.

Sleeper Pick: Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota: Johnson was very productive at Minnesota finishing the season with 86 catches for 1,318 yards and 13 touchdowns. Johnson should develop nicely without much pressure.

Grade: A-


Thank you so much for reading this! Leave a comment below if you agree or have a better grade for your team!

Tim is a grateful believer, husband to Kristin, Father to Isabelle living in Los Angeles as both an actor and Auto Claim representative He was born and grew up eight blocks from Wrigley Field and is a die hard Chicago fan (Especially Bears). He is incredibly grateful to The Turf for giving him a chance to pursue a passion of his.

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