The Saints forfeited their second round pick as a punishment for “Bounty Gate” which left them with their first pick coming in the third round because of the trade that netted them Mark Ingram. The Saints draft was unspectacular at best with their third round pick being DT Akiem Hicks out of Regina, a university in Canada. Their next pick was Wisconsin product WR Nick Toon followed by S Corey White, Samford, G Andrew Tiller, Syracuse and T Marcel Jones out of Syracuse.
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The Falcons also did not have a draft pick in the first round. Their first pick was the 55th overall and they drafted arguably the best center in the draft in Peter Konz out of Wisconsin who will help the offensive line coming from a run heavy offense at Wisconsin. The 17th ranked Falcons rushing offense (115 yards per game) will also get an assist from fullback, fifth round pick and Konz’s teammate at Wisconsin Bradie Ewing. DE Jonathan Massaquoi, Troy University, is a project but could offer some solid pass rush off the edge.
LB Luke Kuechly, the all-time NCAA tackles leader out of Boston College, was drafted with the ninth overall pick by the Panthers and will immediately help them. Kuechly is highly regarded as an overall outstanding linebacker by all scouts. The Panthers ranked 24th in passing yards allowed per game and 25th in rushing yards allowed per game yet they only drafted three defensive players with their first coming in the fourth round in DE Frank Alexander, out of Oklahoma and their next two coming in the fifth round (CB Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina) and seventh round (S D.J. Campbell). I’m surprised that they drafted G Amini Silatolu in the second round instead of a defensive tackle to stop the run.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers had one of the better overall drafts this year as they added two guys who will have a major impact on offense and defense. With the 7th overall pick they selected safety Mark Barron out of Alabama who will come in and start right away for the Bucs. They also drafted RB Doug Martin, Boise State, in the first round with the 31st overall pick. In the 2nd and 5th round, respectively, they added linebackers Lavonte David, Nebraska and LB Najee Goode, a West Virginia product.
The Panthers added Kuechly and although he will help in both the run and pass defense it was not enough. Since they did not add a big defensive tackle to develop through the draft they will have to find one via free agency or trade before training camp starts. The Bucs added RB Doug Martin who could seemingly take over for LeGarrette Blount who struggled late last year, which resulted in a benching. Martin has sure hands, is quick with his lateral movements and will be a force to be wreckoned with catching passes out of the backfield. Although Atlanta did not have a first round pick they still upgraded their running game with guard Peter Konz and FB Bradie Ewing. These two come from a run-first offense at Wisconsin so it will not be difficult for them to pick up the blocking schemes quickly. New Orleans was already in for a difficult year because of Bounty Gate and they did not help themselves enough in this draft.