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2022 NFL Draft Grades: NFC South

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With the 2022 NFL Draft officially complete, theScore's NFL editors hand out their initial grades for each team's incoming rookies.


Atlanta Falcons

Grade: A-

It was a great weekend for the Falcons. London is far more than a big body at receiver, and it's easy to get excited about the idea of him and Kyle Pitts winning above the rim against opposing defensive backs. Ebiketie is an intriguing pass-rusher who fills a need, and Andersen is one of the most athletic linebacker prospects we've ever seen. Those picks alone have the makings of a strong class, but this group reaches another level with the potential value in scooping up Ridder in the third round. The Cincinnati product, who many considered a possible Day 1 pick, can sit behind Marcus Mariota before getting his chance to emerge as a long-term option at quarterback.

Carolina Panthers

Grade: B+

Carolina's first pick was excellent. Ekwonu fills a major need up front, and we have to give the Panthers credit for not reaching for a quarterback in that spot. The rest is tough to evaluate, thanks to missing Day 2 picks as a result of the Sam Darnold and C.J. Henderson trades. Instead of trading for Baker Mayfield, Carolina opted to trade a 2023 third-round pick to get back into the third round this year and take Corral. The aggressiveness is admirable, but all they've done is add another project to the mix at quarterback.

New Orleans Saints

Grade: B

Say what you will about the Saints trading a 2023 first-rounder to get another in this year's draft, but this team clearly thinks it's ready to compete right now. With Olave joining Michael Thomas at receiver, Jameis Winston has all the weapons he needs on the outside. The potential issue with this class, and the clear effort New Orleans put into filling specific needs, is that expecting Penning to be the Day 1 starter at left tackle for a contender is asking a lot. This is a classic boom-or-bust pick that bets on Penning's rare athletic profile to help him develop. We have to knock the grade down a bit to account for the risk in trading a future first and taking a project lineman, but there's potential for major payoff here.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Grade: B

The Buccaneers coming away with a defensive lineman, offensive lineman, and running back with their first three picks felt like a lock. Hall should provide a major boost to the interior pass rush, while Goedeke, a tackle in college, figures to step into a starting spot at guard. Did they pass up some better value in those spots? Perhaps. But the idea here was to fill their few remaining roster needs and gear up for another run with Tom Brady. Check.

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