Welcome back to Sports Krunch with DKrom ladies and gentlemen, I’m your host David Kromelow. For the second to last edition of our 2018 Dash To The Draft series, we are going to break down the draft classes in the NFC South, which was the most competitive division in football last year, sending three of its four teams to the playoffs. Did the Buccaneers do enough to take the next step? How much did the Panthers and Falcons close the gap on the division champion Saints? Joining us to answer those questions and more about these four NFC South draft hauls is Brian Bosarge, the founder of deepfrieddraft.com. Brian is also a voter for the Fred Biletnikoff award, the annual honor given to college football’s best wide receiver. It’s a pleasure to welcome Brian to the show for the very first time, how are you Brian?
- The Bucs started off their draft by trading down five spots with the Bills, and I personally thought they were going to take Derwin James. However, they surprised us by taking Vita Vea instead. At first, I did not understand this pick but as the draft unfolded, the theme of Tampa wanting to get meaner and nastier came to light and I understood it better. That said, Vea will only be worth the value of the 12th overall pick if he turns into a reliable QB disruptor on passing downs. Do you see him turning into such a weapon?
- The trade down left Tampa with three picks in the second round and they used two of them to address the secondary with corners M.J. Stewart (North Carolina) and Carlton Davis (Auburn). Looking at Tampa’s current starting CB’s, you have Brent Grimes, Vernon Hargreaves and Ryan Smith. Which of those two rookies (Stewart or Davis) has the best chance to crack the starting lineup this year? What are the long-term roles for Stewart and Davis in the Bucs D going forward?
- With the other pick they had in round two, the Buccaneers selected who they hope will become the consistent option they’ve needed at RB for so long in Ronald Jones. What skills does Ronald Jones bring to Tampa’s backfield that they’ve been sorely lacking in recent years?
- Since Roddy White’s play deteriorated, the Falcons have been looking for that consistent running mate for Julio Jones. Mohamed Sanu is a good player, but his play leaves much to be desired. Thus, with their first round pick, the Falcons selected another Alabama WR to play opposite Julio in Calvin Ridley. Is Ridley likely that long-term successor to Roddy White and how much will his presence help the Falcons offense recapture the magic from their 2016 Super Bowl run?
- The Falcons were also looking for another boundary CB to play opposite of Desmond Trufant and they had to be ecstatic that Isaiah Oliver of Colorado fell all the way to them in round two. Many on Twitter as well as on TV were surprised he fell as far as he did. Why do you think Oliver lasted until that 58th overall pick? Do you expect Oliver to be starting week 1 with Robert Alford moving into the slot?
- Atlanta also wanted to address the DL after losing Dontari Poe in free agency and they did so in round three with the defensive star of the East/West Shrine Game, Deadrin Senat of South Florida. Is he a better long-term replacement for Poe? Or is he a better long-term replacement Grady Jarrett if the Falcons aren’t able to re-sign him?
- Like the Falcons have been trying to do with Roddy White, the Panthers have been constantly searching for an heir to Steve Smith, Sr. the past several years…and they hope that search ended with their selection of Maryland WR D.J. Moore in round one. During NFL Network’s broadcast of the first round, Smith referred to Moore as his “spirit animal.” Do you see any similarities in Moore’s game to Smith’s and regardless of if you do or not, does D.J. Moore have what it takes to become the new WR1 in Carolina?
- Arguably the second biggest need for the Panthers was in the secondary, a unit filled with only old folks and disappointing draft picks. They spent both of their day two picks in that area with the super-speedy and athletic LSU CB Donte Jackson in the second round, and the versatile Rashaan Gaulden of Tennessee in the third round. What are going to be the defined roles for each of them in this Panthers defense going forward?
- On day three, the Panthers took three dips into the LB pool, which makes sense since Thomas Davis will be retiring at the end of this season. They started out with Marquis Haynes of Ole Miss (who was an EDGE in college but was projected by Lance Zierlein to be an off-ball ‘backer in the pros), followed by Jermaine Carter of Maryland and Andre Smith of North Carolina. Which of those three has the best chance to replace Davis in the starting lineup next year?
- The Saints made arguably the riskiest move in the first round by surrendering their 2019 first-round pick to select Marcus Davenport. Despite being viewed by many as a project, the Saints see the freakish athletic pass rusher out of UTSA as the final piece of their Super Bowl puzzle. Statistically speaking, what kind of season do the Saints need out of Davenport this year in order to justify that investment?
- In round three, the Saints drafted an intriguing WR talent in Tre’Quan Smith out of Central Florida. After this season, the Saints can get out of the contracts of both Ted Ginn and Cameron Meredith cheaply. Let’s suppose they end up releasing both of them. In that event, whose role does Smith replace, Ginn’s or Meredith’s?
- Overreaction/Not an Overreaction
-Alex Cappa will beat out Caleb Benenoch for the starting RG spot
-In 2-3 years, Russell Gage will become a Pro Bowl special teams ace AND the Falcons starting slot WR as well
-The Panthers selection of Ian Thomas in the fourth round will eventually be viewed as one of the biggest steals in the 2018 NFL Draft since he will grow into the best two-way TE from this class
-Boston Scott will be the change-of-pace back behind Alvin Kamara as Mark Ingram serves his four-game suspension
Thank you Brian…and that’s it for today here on Sports Krunch with DKrom. But we’ll be back later this week with our recap NFC West draft classes…so stay tuned! Be sure to check out the episode archive as well as an up-to-date blog of mine at SportsKrunch.com!! And if you enjoy these podcast episodes please consider leaving us an iTunes review and donating to our Patreon at Patreon.com/SportsKrunch so we can improve our iTunes ranking and afford to produce even more shows with awesome guests like Brian, especially since there’s NEVER an “offseason” for talking football.
For Brian Bosarge, our producer Chris Brodhead, this is David Kromelow saying so long, and as usual, stay awesome!!!
Brian’s Twitter handle: @DeepFriedDraft