The NFC South is a fearsome division, even if it rarely gets the widespread credit it deserves. For close to a decade it's been a near-lock that one of the wild cards in the conference will come from the NFC South. While we don't always see all four teams being successful, more often than not we'll see two standout teams in the division each season.
On CSR radio this week we were joined by Travis Dauro, contributor for Canal Street Chronicles and we discussed the Saints, their chances in 2012, and obviously their tribulations this off-season. In the midst of talking about Drew Brees I made an off-the-cuff comment about how I respected Brees, but didn't really fear him because at this stage he's a known quantity. I quipped that the player who scares me the most on the Saints is RB Darren Sproles, because he's a completely unknown quantity, and when he's on his game Sproles becomes near impossible to stop.
I think this is a good opportunity to respectfully discuss the best players in the division who don't wear the black and electric blue. I want to hear from you on who worries you the most when they suit up against the Panthers. After the jump I'll give a list of a few guys who worry me, and we can talk this one out in the comments.
Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints
In the modern NFL having a great TE is an easy way to offensive success, especially when you pair one with a good QB. Graham is arguably the best tight end in the NFL right now, and his size paired with his height creates mis-match nightmares with linebackers and safeties. Any time a TE puts up a 1,000 yard season it's time to be afraid, and paired with Brees he is a scary player.
Probably a deeper cut than most fans see, the addition of Weatherspoon to this list comes purely from his versatility and impact. He's the best 4-3 OLB nobody talks about, and is quietly poised to break out in a big way in 2012. He's an elite pass defender for his position, a fantastic pass rusher, and possesses a high football IQ; Shankdiddy asked me this week how you stop Cam Newton, and while you probably can't, Weatherspoon is the Falcons' best bet.
Okay, so V-Jax hasn't taken a snap in the NFC South yet, but nevertheless there's cause for concern. Jackson is able to get separation from defenders purely though his height and size, and in the open field his strength is near unmatched for his position. The Panthers were one of the worst open field tackling teams in the NFL last year, and the prospect of Jackson with a head of steam matched against our safeties is a scary prospect.
Alright Panthers fans, let's open this up. Who scares you in the NFC South?