Draft Grades - NFC South: Bucs do best as whole division improves vastly

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2017 NFL Draft officially complete, theScore's NFL editors hand out their initial grades for how teams fared during all seven rounds.


Atlanta Falcons

1 LB Takkarist McKinley
3 LB Duke Riley
4 G Sean Harlow
5 CB Damontae Kazee
5 RB Brian Hill
5 TE Eric Saubert

Coming off a Super Bowl appearance, the Falcons had very few needs coming into the draft, so pretty much everything was a bonus. Trading up to select McKinley in the first round was a great move for Atlanta as he looked to be the best rusher available and would not have been there at pick No. 31. The UCLA product gives the Falcons a pass-rush option to pair with Vic Beasley. In the third round, Atlanta came away with a personal steal, taking linebacker Riley to play with former college teammate Deion Jones. In the final four rounds, Atlanta didn't nab an outstanding steal, but added key depth.

Grade: C+

Carolina Panthers

1 RB Christian McCaffrey
2 WR Curis Samuel
2 OL Taylor Moton
3 DE Daeshon Hall
5 CB Corn Elder
6 FB Alex Armah
7 K Harrison Butker

The Panthers are going to be a lot of fun in 2017. McCaffrey and Cam Newton give the Panthers' backfield two of the most difficult to defend players at their respective positions. Ohio State offensive weapon Samuel can line up in the back field or as a wide out, giving Carolina even more speed on offense after getting McCaffrey. The team filled some needs on Day 1, adding much-needed offensive line help in the second round and found a developmental pass-rusher to learn from Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson in the third. They limped to the finish line, somewhat, taking a fullback and kicker in the last two rounds, but both players also fill starting spots.

Grade: A

New Orleans Saints

1 CB Marshon Lattimore
1 OT Ryan Ramczyk
2 S Marcus Williams
3 RB Alvin Kamara
3 LB Alex Anzalone
3 DE Trey Hendrickson
6 DE Al-Quadin Muhammad

Really, the only knock on the Saints' draft comes from who they didn't get. Apparently coveting Patrick Mahomes and Reuben Foster with their first-round picks, the Saints had to "settle" for top-ranked cornerback Lattimore and offensive tackle Ramczyk - though both are tremendous talents. On Day 2 the Saints found Williams, Anzalone, and Hendrickson to fill defensive needs. While Kamara was a surprising pick, he fits the Saints' system perfectly and could be the back of the future.

Grade: B+

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1 TE O.J. Howard
2 S Justin Evans
3 WR Chris Godwin
3 LB Kendell Beckwith
5 RB Jeremy McNichols
7 DT Stevie Tu'ikolovatu

The rich get richer in Tampa Bay. Having already signed DeSean Jackson to pair with Mike Evans in free agency, the Bucs landed stellar pass-catchers in Howard and Godwin before dipping into some familiar talent pools. Beckwith joins fellow LSU linebacker Kwon Alexander and rounds out the Bucs athletic linebacking corps. Doug Martin was likely worried about Tampa drafting a running back, but it ended up going to his alma mater Boise State to nab McNichols - so how mad can Martin really be? Overall, Bucs fans should be thrilled with their team's haul - but not as thrilled as Jameis Winston.

Grade: A+

Draft Grades - NFC South: Bucs do best as whole division improves vastly
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox