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Ell’s NFL Draft Grades 2023: NFC South

Falcons: B+

RB Bijan Robinson, Texas, 1st Round, G Matthew Bergeron, Syracuse, 2nd Round, DE Zach Harrison, Ohio State, 3rd Round, CB Clark Phillips III, Utah, 4th Round, S DeMarcco Hellams, Alabama, G Jovaughn Gwyn, South Carolina, 7th Round

The Falcons had many options but chose a safe option in Bijan Robinson who can be a capable three down back but doesn’t have to be in this offense. Robinson will give them a long term solution at the position and a possible face of the franchise. Bergeron is a solid lineman with great size who can play both inside and outside allowing him to provide depth at both spots with starter potential. Harrison is a tough, high motor pass rusher who will compete for a starting job at DE, but he will be in the rotation. Phillips is an undersized CB who plays bigger than his size with a nose for the football, he could compete for nickel CB early and find a home. Hellams is a box safety who will provide depth and play Special Teams and Gwyn can provide depth at Guard and Center.

Panthers: B+

QB Bryce Young, Alabama, 1st Round, WR Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss, 2nd Round, OLB D.J. Johnson, Oregon, 3rd Round, G Chandler Zavala, NC State, 4th Round, S Jammie Robinson, Florida State, 5th Round

The Panthers made the big trade going up to #1 trading with the Bears to have their choice of the top player which happen to be Bryce Young as the new face of the franchise. Young has all the tools and the leadership qualities to be a legit starter, but he needs to be well protected to have success going forward due to size concerns. Mingo is a solid WR with good size, speed, and playmaking ability to grow with Young and eventually be one of his go to guys; he has #1 WR potential is used correctly. Johnson is a raw edge rusher with good size who can provide depth and possibly see time as a situational pass rusher. Zavala is a run blocking lineman with good size who can provide depth at Guard. Robinson is an undersized DB with good range and starter potential, but he will provide depth and play Special Teams early.

Saints: B

DT Bryan Bresee, Clemson, 1st Round, DE Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame, 2nd Round, RB Kendre Miller, TCU, 3rd Round, T Nick Saldiveri, Old Dominion, QB Jake Haener, Fresno State, 4th Round, S Jordan Howden, Minnesota, 5th Round, WR A.T. Perry Wake Forest, 6th Round

The Saints loss their original pick in a prior trade, but received a pick in the trade for Sean Payton using it to select Bresee. Bresee is a tough run stopping DT with improving pass rushing skills who needs to avoid injuries, but he should be a day 1 starter. Foskey is a tough edge rusher who was able to produce double digit sacks in college, but he may not be big enough to be a natural DE so he should see time as a pass rush specialist. Miller is a solid dual threat RB with good acceleration to be a homerun threat; he has #2 RB potential and could see some carries early. Saldiveri is a tough lineman with good footwork, but he may have to move inside due to his short arms, but he should provide depth inside and outside. Haener is an undersized QB with good awareness and decision making proven with a Senior Bowl MVP, but his size, arm, and mobility limitations make him a developmental backup. Howden is a box safety with good size and speed who needs to continue to improve in pass coverage so he will provide depth early. Perry is a deep threat WR with good size and playmaking, but he needs to work on his route-running and consistency.

Bucs: B-

DT Calijah Kancey, Pitt, 1st Round, T Cody Mauch, North Dakota State, 2nd Round, DE YaYa Diaby, Louisville, 3rd Round, ILB SirVocea Dennis, Pitt, TE Payne Durham, Purdue, 5th Round, CB Josh Hayes, Kansas State, WR Trey Palmer, Nebraska, OLB Jose Ramirez, Eastern Michigan, 6th Round

The Bucs decided to go with Kancey who worked his way up the draft board through a stellar combine showing proving he can be a premier athlete at the DT despite being undersized. Kancey has shown high pass rush potential and could be a nice fit next to mammoth NT Vita Vea. Mauch is a tough run blocking lineman who will have to move inside due to his size, but he proved at the Senior Bowl he could hold his own at Guard and Center. Diaby is a strong improving edge rusher with good size who can provide depth at his position and possibly see work as a tradition pass rusher. Dennis is a sideline to sideline tackler who has shown some pass rush ability, but he is an undersized LB and will provide depth and play a role on Special Teams. Durham is a balanced TE with good hands, size, and blocking skills, but he doesn’t have good speed/acceleration and projects more as a blocking #2 TE. Hayes, Palmer, and Ramirez all will provide depth at their positions and contribute on Special Teams.

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