NFL Draft Grades: NFC South

Joe Robbins / Getty Images Sport / Getty

With the 2020 NFL Draft officially complete, theScore's NFL editors hand out their initial grades for how teams fared over the course of the three-day event.

NFC
EAST | NORTH | SOUTH | WEST
AFC
EAST | NORTH | SOUTH | WEST

Atlanta Falcons

Round Pick Player
1 16 CB A.J. Terrell
2 47 DE Marlon Davidson
3 78 C Matt Hennessy
4 119 LB Mykal Walker
4 134 S Jaylinn Hawkins
7 228 P Sterling Hofrichter

Grade: C-

All we heard for weeks was that the Falcons were looking to trade up for an impact defender in the first round. They ended up staying put and took Terrell. While we don't know what it would have cost to move up, it's tough to not be disappointed by Atlanta instead settling for one of the many corners in that second tier. Davidson's skill set is best suited on the interior, and there's plenty of upside, but he's in for a bit of a transition after playing on the edge so much in college. Hennessy could help solidify the interior offensive front, but this class feels below average, particularly in terms of instant impact.

Carolina Panthers

Round Pick Player
1 7 DT Derrick Brown
2 38 DE Yetur Gross-Matos
2 64 S Jeremy Chinn
4 113 CB Troy Pride
5 152 S Kenny Robinson
6 184 DT Bravvion Roy
7 221 CB Stanley Thomas-Oliver

Grade: A-

The Panthers spent a lot of money overhauling their offense in free agency, so it always made sense to focus on the defensive side during the draft. And while no one would have expected Carolina to use all seven picks on its defense, the organization hit a home run. Brown and Gross-Matos will join Brian Burns and Kawann Short in providing an outstanding foundation up front, while Chinn and Pride should be major contributors for a secondary that was in desperate need of upgrades. The rebuild is off to a great start under new head coach Matt Rhule.

New Orleans Saints

Round Pick Player
1 24 C Cesar Ruiz
3 74 LB Zack Baun
3 105 TE Adam Trautman
7 240 QB Tommy Stevens

Grade: B-

Ruiz and Baun have the potential to be instant impact players, with the latter addressing a pass-rush need at particularly good value in the third. However, it's tough to give this class anything more than an average grade when accounting for several odd trades - a common draft theme for the Saints over the years. They shipped a 2021 third-rounder to move up 14 spots to grab Baun, traded four selections - every pick they had remaining at the time - to move up 25 spots for Trautman, and then gave up a 2021 sixth-rounder to sneak back into the end of the draft and take Stevens. It won't matter if Ruiz and Baun are contributors in this championship window - and beyond - but you can't overlook the bad process involved in those trades.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Round Pick Player
1 13 OT Tristan Wirfs
2 45 S Antoine Winfield Jr.
3 76 RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn
5 161 WR Tyler Johnson
6 194 DT Khalil Davis
7 241 LB Chapelle Russell
7 245 RB Raymond Calais

Grade: A-

It was clear what the Bucs' top priorities were heading into this draft: round out the offense for Tom Brady and address the back end of the defense. Check and check. Brady's already strong supporting cast is now bolstered by a top-flight pass-protector who can start right away, a potential lead running back, and a dynamic third receiver to contribute alongside Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski - Johnson might prove to be a steal in the fifth round. On the defensive side, Winfield adds a versatile playmaker to a secondary that had already taken a massive step forward in its first year under coordinator Todd Bowles. This class will play a major role in Tampa Bay's quest for a Super Bowl in the short window created by Brady's arrival.

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NFL Draft Grades: NFC South
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