Recap of NFC South in 2006 NFL Draft
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Coach Jon Gruden wanted to go after core players on offense and defense and utilized a good deal of their 2006 NFL draft improving this area. First round NFL draft pick David Joseph, the big guard from Oklahoma, should give Cadillac Williams some holes to run through. Second round NFL draft pick Jeremy Trueblood will give them another big body at tackle to protect Chris Simms. The Buccaneers’ third round NFL Draft pick, wide receiver Maurice Stovall of Notre Dame, may give Simms another weapon in a lackluster offense. The Buccaneers look like they are beginning to get back to basics in this off-season and look to leap ahead of Carolina and Atlanta for preeminence in the NFC South.
2006 NFL Draft grade: B
Carolina Panthers- The Panthers used their first 2006 NFL Draft pick on some depth at the running back position, taking talented DeAngelo Williams with the 27th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. Williams hopes to give them their first 1,000 yard rusher since 2001 and some versatility in the passing game. Cornerback Richard Marshall, taken in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, should give them some depth in the secondary, while James Anderson, taken in the third round, should give them another solid linebacker to shut down potent NFC offenses.
2006 NFL Draft grade: B-
Atlanta Falcons- The Atlanta Falcons used the 2006 NFL Draft to pick up some reserve help after a disappointing (and injury filled) 2005 NFL campaign,. Without a first round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, the Falcons used their highest pick on bookend cornerback Jimmy Williams to team with DeAngelo Hall to try and shut down receivers like Carolina’s Steve Smith and New Orleans’ Joe Horn. Aside from Williams, the draft was largely used on projects like running back Jerious Norwood and the dearth of draft picks showed that the Falcons already have a number of young players in the past few drafts and that the future of the franchise is in the hands of Hall, Michael Vick, and others.
2006 NFL Draft grade: C+
New Orleans Saints- New coach Sean Payton and owner Tom Benson were put in an easy position in the 2006 NFL Draft when popular mock draft number one pick Reggie Bush fell to them in the second position in the 2006 NFL Draft. The Bush pick was a no-brainer for the Saints brain trust but the large contract that running back Deuce McAllister has makes observers wonder whether Bush is going to be used in solely a backfield role. With receivers Joe Horn and Donte Stallworth, along with McAllister and Brees in the backfield, it seems like they will use Bush in a number of roles, including return man and receiver. Safety Roman Harper, a pick in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, is a value pick for a defense that needs depth. The 2006 NFL Draft for the Saints was all about Bush, however, and he will provide them a potentially great weapon in their return to New Orleans.
2006 NFL Draft grade: B
2006 NFL Draft Division Winner- The New Orleans Saints win the divisional race for best 2006 NFL draft, mostly because Reggie Bush has such a huge upside at the second level. However, Tampa Bay had a solid draft and will reap the benefits of fixing their line problems.