NFC South All-Decade Squads: Saints, Falcons boast plenty of firepower
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theScore's Mike Alessandrini is assembling all-decade lineups and ranking all 32 teams based on those rosters. Contributions from 2010 to 2019 were taken into account, with player selections based on peak production, longevity, and overall impact. Those who spent only one season with a club didn't qualify.

Our series continues in the NFC South.

AFC (June 22-25)
East | North | South | West

NFC (June 29-July 2)
East | North | South | West

Final rankings
See how all 32 rosters stack up

Atlanta Falcons

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Head coach: Dan Quinn

POS. Player POS. Player
QB Matt Ryan DE John Abraham
RB Devonta Freeman DT Grady Jarrett
WR Julio Jones DT Jonathan Babineaux
WR Roddy White DE Vic Beasley
Slot Mohamed Sanu MLB Deion Jones
TE Tony Gonzalez WLB De'Vondre Campbell
LT Jake Matthews SLB Sean Weatherspoon
LG Andy Levitre CB Desmond Trufant
C Alex Mack CB Robert Alford
RG Justin Blalock FS Ricardo Allen
RT Ryan Schraeder SS William Moore
K Matt Bryant P Matt Bosher

Atlanta consistently fielded one of the league's most talented rosters over the last 10 years, and its star power is evident here.

Ryan and Jones lead the team as a lethal offensive duo. The quarterback was a force to be reckoned with in the 2010s, earning four Pro Bowl berths, capturing MVP in 2016, and eclipsing 4,000 passing yards a whopping nine times. All Julio did was pace all NFL wideouts in receiving yards last decade. White and his three seasons of 90-plus catches and 1,200-plus yards certainly isn't a poor second option either.

The firepower doesn't stop there. Freeman helps form a dynamic backfield trio alongside Michael Turner and Tevin Coleman, and many forget how well Gonzalez played for the Falcons after his Kansas City Chiefs tenure. The Hall of Fame tight end was an All-Pro in 2012 at age 36 and notched at least 80 catches and 850 yards three times in four years. A strong blocking unit protects Ryan, as Matthews, Levitre, Schraeder, and Mack were well-above-average linemen for multiple campaigns.

Quinn's defense features a handful of high draft picks and impact players. Abraham highlights the front four, accumulating 44 sacks from 2010-2013 despite being well into his 30s. Jones, Weatherspoon, and Campbell were vital pieces as well, with the latter two showcasing the ability to defend the run and the former excelling in zone coverage. Moore gets the nod over Keanu Neal at strong safety after forcing 18 more turnovers, while Trufant and Alford complete a solid secondary. Atlanta's stop unit isn't too far behind its offense, which would be bad news for most opponents.

Carolina Panthers

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Head coach: Ron Rivera

POS. Player POS. Player
QB Cam Newton DE Charles Johnson
RB Christian McCaffrey DT Kawann Short
WR Kelvin Benjamin DT Star Lotulelei
WR Devin Funchess DE Mario Addison
Slot Steve Smith MLB Luke Kuechly
TE Greg Olsen WLB Thomas Davis
LT Jordan Gross SLB Shaq Thompson
LG Andrew Norwell CB Josh Norman
C Ryan Kalil CB Captain Munnerlyn
RG Trai Turner FS Tre Boston
RT Daryl Williams SS Kurt Coleman
K Graham Gano P Brad Nortman

There's a bit of everything sprinkled into the Panthers' all-decade roster, including two Rookie of the Years, an MVP, a Defensive Player of the Year, and catalysts for three straight division crowns from 2013-2015.

Outside of Smith, Carolina wouldn't have a ton of game-breaking receivers at its disposal. Benjamin and Funchess were preferred for playing well in short spurts despite only reaching 1,000 yards once. However, the two were matchup nightmares in the red zone. Devoid of downfield weapons, the offense would run through Newton and a dynamic rushing attack. Cam was the ultimate dual-threat quarterback in his prime, accounting for at least 30 total touchdowns three times since 2010.

McCaffrey, meanwhile, has been the ultimate dual-threat running back since entering the league in 2017. He's already surpassed 1,000 yards and 100 receptions in a season twice, and in 2019 he became the third player in NFL history with 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in a single campaign. Luckily for McCaffrey, the Panthers field five quality starters along the offensive line. The unit combined for 11 Pro Bowls, with Turner, Gross, and Kalil being true standouts.

Kuechly is Carolina's premier player. There simply wasn't a better linebacker over the last decade, as evidenced by his five All-Pro selections in six years, 25 forced turnovers, and countless big plays. Thompson and the underrated Davis round out a stellar linebacker group. Short and Johnson are studs along the defensive line, but Rivera's secondary pails in comparison to other clubs. There isn't much talent outside of Norman, and the group would likely hold the rest of the team back from competing against the NFL's elite.

New Orleans Saints

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Head coach: Sean Payton

POS. Player POS. Player
QB Drew Brees DE Cameron Jordan
RB Mark Ingram DT Sheldon Rankins
WR Michael Thomas DT Akiem Hicks
WR Brandin Cooks DE Junior Galette
Slot Marques Colston LB Demario Davis
TE Jimmy Graham LB Curtis Lofton
LT Terron Armstead CB Marshon Lattimore
LG Ben Grubbs CB Jabari Greer
C Max Unger Nickel Malcolm Jenkins
RG Jahri Evans FS Marcus Williams
RT Ryan Ramczyk SS Roman Harper
K Wil Lutz P Thomas Morstead

How did New Orleans not capture a Super Bowl last decade with this much talent? (Super Bowl XLIV was played in 2010 but concluded the 2009 campaign.) Brees leads a potentially unstoppable offense as the most productive quarterback over the last 10 years - no passer threw for more yards or touchdowns in that time frame. Ingram heads a dynamic backfield that would also feature Alvin Kamara and Darren Sproles, while the Saints' offensive line combined for nine Pro Bowls. Evans and Armstead are the true standouts there, dominating in the pass and run game.

Brees' group of pass-catchers are nothing short of astounding. Cooks and Thomas start out wide, with the former a speedy deep threat and the latter enjoying one of the most productive starts to a career in NFL history. Let's not forget Colston, who, despite starring in the decade prior, accumulated at least 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns each year from 2010-2012. At tight end, Graham simply couldn't be stopped in his prime. He scored a whopping 46 touchdowns and was named to three Pro Bowls between 2011-2014.

The Saints' defense doesn't field as much star power as the scoring unit but does boast a few top-tier playmakers. Jordan is the MVP on an unspectacular front four. His 87 sacks and five Pro Bowls in nine campaigns place the former first-rounder among the decade's premier defensive ends. Davis is another foundational piece at linebacker, and the team possesses a plethora of options at safety in Jenkins, Williams, and Harper.

New Orleans would be a shoo-in for a top-three ranking if not for its potential issues in the secondary. Lattimore was a stud from the moment he entered the league, but the high-end talent stops there. Selecting a second starter between Greer, P.J. Williams, and Keenan Lewis was difficult for all the wrong reasons. Luckily for the Saints, Brees and the offense would win nearly any shootout.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Head coach: Raheem Morris

POS. Player POS. Player
QB Jameis Winston DE Michael Bennett
RB Doug Martin DT Gerald McCoy
WR Mike Evans DT Clinton McDonald
WR Vincent Jackson DE Jason Pierre-Paul
Slot Chris Godwin LB Lavonte David
TE Cameron Brate LB Kwon Alexander
LT Donald Penn CB Brent Grimes
LG Logan Mankins CB Aqib Talib
C Jeremy Zuttah NCB Ronde Barber
RG Ali Marpet FS Bradley McDougald
RT Demar Dotson SS Mark Barron
K Connor Barth P Michael Koenen

While a handful of prominent players can be found in Tampa Bay's all-decade lineup, a drop-off in overall talent from its division rivals is evident. Winston was productive at quarterback but failed to truly meet expectations as the first overall pick in 2015. In the backfield, Martin stood out among an unimpressive crop of running backs. He struggled with inconsistency but also enjoyed excellent campaigns in 2012 and 2015.

Receiver is the clear strength on the Bucs' scoring unit. Evans and Jackson present extremely tough matchups out wide given their size and nose for the end zone - the duo combined for 68 touchdowns last decade with the club - and Godwin quickly developed into a potent slot weapon. The offensive line is solid, if unspectacular. Mankins was the only Pro Bowler, though Dotson was a mainstay at right tackle when healthy.

Tampa Bay's defense may have more questions than answers. The franchise couldn't field any consistent pass-rush threats - we selected Bennett and Pierre-Paul as their peaks surpassed that of Adrian Clayborn. If our two-year minimum criteria didn't apply, we'd throw Shaq Barrett into the mix. At safety, It's more of the same with Barron and McDougald.

Cornerback and linebacker are much stronger groups. David is a stud in nearly every phase, while Barber was surprisingly effective in his final three NFL seasons as a perimeter defender, slot corner, and free safety. Talib and Grimes only spent three years with the organization but made numerous big plays nonetheless. Finally, we can't talk defense without mentioning McCoy. The club's premier player on either side of the ball was utterly dominant as an interior rusher from 2012-2017, making six straight Pro Bowls and notching 44.5 sacks.

NFC South All-Decade Squads: Saints, Falcons boast plenty of firepower
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