The NFC South features the defending NFC Champions (Atlanta Falcons), the promising Tampa Bay Bucs, the disappointing New Orleans Saints, and the even-more disappointing Carolina Panthers.
This division was a game away from hosting a Super Bowl trophy for the second year straight, and I don’t .think any team will be taken lightly next season. There’s four good quarterbacks in the division, two who were MVPs of the league the last two seasons (Cam Newton, Matt Ryan). But each team still has holes, and I want to take a look at some of the bigger needs for each team heading into next year.
Atlanta Falcons (11-5 last year)
- The Falcons need some help in the trenches on the defensive side of the ball. Vic Beasley led the league in sacks, but there wasn’t much production opposite of him.
- The Falcons’ run defense was also abysmal at times; they have a young defense, but need to shore up the most important unit on the defense.
Other Needs: Linebacker, Guard
Tampa Bay Bucs (9-7 last year)
- The Bucs defense came on last year, but they need help in the secondary. They will have new faces at safety and corner next season.
- The Bucs don’t have a reliable three-down back. Now that they signed DeSean Jackson, their #1 priority on offense should be finding one.
Offensive Line/Backup QB
- Winston is a young QB who isn’t afraid to take hits; this could be a bad thing. With Mike Glennon headed to Chicago, the Bucs need a backup QB, and they need to address their O line to protect their franchise QB.
Other Needs: Defensive tackle, end, linebacker
New Orleans Saints (7-9 last year)
- The Saints have been one of the worst defensive teams for a couple of years now, and they need a ton of help on that side of the ball.
- They need help specifically and most notably to their front seven. Their secondary should get better with PJ Williams and Delvin Breaux returning from injury, but should still add depth to that position as well.
- Drew Brees is getting up there in age, and the Saints will inevitably have to find a new face of the franchise. Developing under Brees can benefit any QB, specifically the young ones in this draft that don’t seem day-one ready.
- Mark Ingram isn’t reliable, and backup Tim Hightower is a FA.
Other Needs: O line, Tight End
Carolina Panthers (6-10 last year)
- The Panthers signed Matt Kalil, but they still need help up front to keep Cam Newton on his feet. Plus, they should be a run-first team, but struggled on the ground last year.
- Ever since Josh Norman dipped for WASH, this secondary hasn’t recovered. They got torched last year.
Running back/Wide Receiver
- Ted Ginn just left in FA, and J. Stewart is entering his 30s this month. They need to upgrade at both positions and put Cam Newton in a better situation to succeed.
Other needs: Safety, defensive line