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NFC South notebook: Saints huge draft deal, Gronk weighs future, Panthers eye quarterbacks

The biggest NFC South headlines from SB Nation blogs

NFL: SEP 09 Texans at Saints Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This weekend the league is still in quite a bit of shock over the passing of former Steelers and Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who was just 24. Just an incredibly sad loss for his family, friends and teammates. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Haskins family. Our SB Nation affiliate Behind the Steel Curtain has put out several pieces updating readers on the loss.

Switching gears from a difficult topic, let’s take a look around the NFC South and check out the latest SB Nation news and notes for each team, starting with our Panthers.

Carolina Panthers

In Charlotte, the Panthers will host local pro day on Monday for draft prospects from nearby schools and those in the Charlotte area. The team also hosted quarterbacks Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder, Sam Howell and Bailey Zappe for visits last week as they continue to evaluate players ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft.

In my column this week, I tried to shine a light on Mississippi State tackle Charles Cross, who perhaps may be forgotten in the mix of top tackles expected to go in the first round. At least one local reporter in Mississippi had glowing words of praise for the young tackle.

Meanwhile, GooseCreek wrote on whether the Panthers should draft a flawed linebacker in this month’s draft, while Bradley Smith updated us on the Brian Flores lawsuit, which former Arizona Cardinals coach Steve Wilks has now joined.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Over in Bucs land, potential future Hall of Famer tight end Rob Gronkowski says ‘If I do play football again, it’ll be for the Bucs’. And that’s after Gronk told media that he isn’t ready to get back to football.

Meanwhile, the Bucs Nation podcast discussed former head coach Bruce Arians Stepping Down and new coach Todd Bowles stepping in. Jeanna Thomas got the fans opinion when she asked what will the Buccaneers’ record be under new head coach Todd Bowles in Bucs Nation Reacts. And, NFL Network legend Rich Eisen gave his thoughts on the Tom Brady and Bruce Arians conflict.

The Bucs signed running back Giovanni Bernard and quarterback Blaine Gabbert to 1-year deals and grabbed former Falcons and Dallas Cowboys safety Keanu Neal in free agency.

Finally, Buccaneers defensive back Antoine Winfield, Jr. looks to continue his father’s legacy in Whistle’s latest episode of “I could do that”.

Also, don’t miss all the great draft prospect work that Bucs Nation has been putting out, spotlighting tons of potential draft targets.

Atlanta Falcons

In Atlanta, the Falcons signed former Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans to a 1-year deal and signed former Bears right tackle Germain Ifedi to a deal as well. They also signed former Broncos cornerback Mike Ford to a 1-year deal and former Titans long snapper Beau Brinkley.

With those deals done, it may be a good time to check out Dave Choate’s April depth charts for offense, defense and special teams. Choate argues that cornerback is lining up to be a true team strength in 2022 while Atlanta’s a long way away from a positionless offense, but the current picture at wide receiver isn’t wholly accurate.

Nearly 10 years after promising to do it, Cory Woodruff argues that the Falcons need to add Todd McClure to Ring of Honor while Peter King mocked Liberty quarterback Malik Willis to the birds in his latest mock. The Falcons will be breaking a nearly decade-long streak if they draft a quarterback in 2022, adds Choate.

And don’t miss The Falcoholic’s Falcons draft takes, quarterback at 8, present vs future in the podcast’s episode 184.

New Orleans Saints

In the Bayou, the Saints continued signing players, inking former Texans defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson to a 1-year deal and former Cowboys first round pick, defensive end Taco Charlton. Quarterback Blake Bortles was reportedly granted his release by the team, while the Saints also hosted free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu.

Lucas Loffredo argues why the re-signing of P.J. Williams is so crucial for the Saints while Andrew Bell questions whether Taysom Hill can fill the Saints’ void at tight end.

Meanwhile, the Saints also completed a pretty big draft trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, swapping eight picks in total and landing the Saints an extra first round pick. However, they had to give up a hefty haul in order to do that. The Saints now hold pick Nos. 16 and 19 in this month’s draft.

Chris Dunnells recapped the Saints offseason moves thus far while former Saints great Drew Brees says current quarterback Jameis Winston will come back stronger than ever from his ACL tear last year.

And just for fun, don’t forget to check out Alec Salas’ six-round mock draft after the Eagles trade, where the Saints land a huge piece to their offense (pun intended!).