2017 NFL Draft: Analyzing every pick by the Falcons, Panthers, Saints and Buccaneers
Here's every draft pick heading to the NFC South, home of the NFC's last two Super Bowl teams
After months upon months of preparation, we now know which prospects are heading to which teams from the 2017 NFL Draft. It's time to take a closer look at every pick made by the teams in the NFC South.
Scouting reports by NFLDraftscout.com staff and team insiders for The Sports Xchange.
Round 1/26: Takkarist McKinley , DE, 6-4, 230, UCLA Bruins
He was a two-year starter for the Bruins after overcoming some early academic issues. He lined up at left and right defensive end in the Bruins' four-man front, standing up and putting his hand on the ground. He was a legitimate candidate for Pac-12 defensive player of the year last season with 10 sacks. "McKinley has the explosive pass rush potential to terrorize NFL quarterbacks, projecting in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes," wrote Dan Brugler in his 2017 NFL draft report.
Round 3/75: Duke Riley , LB, 6-0, 232, Louisiana State
He was a three-star recruit coming out of John Curtis High in Bursa, La., and picked LSU Tigers over TCU and Tulane. The offer from the Tigers was a gray-shirt opportunity, but the week before signing day, LSU upgraded the offer to a full scholarship. He committed on the spot. He spent his freshman season on special teams and recorded seven tackles. Riley earned his first career start as a sophomore, but most of his playing time was on special teams, posting 20 tackles. Riley moved into the starting lineup last season and led LSU with 93 tackles, adding nine tackles for loss, two passes defended and one interception.
Round 4/136: Sean Harlow , G, 6-4, 305, Oregon State Beavers
The San Clemente, Calif., native started 37 games for the Beavers, including 23 at left tackle and 14 at right tackle. He will be asked to play guard for the Atlanta Falcons . He knows Falcons running back Terron Ward from his days at Oregon State and Falcons tight end Austin Hooper . His father Pat Harlow was the 11th overall pick in the 1991 draft and played for the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders from 1991 to 1998. He's a relentless hustle player who needs to refine his techniques for his move to guard.
Round 5/149: Damontae Kazee , S, 5-10, 184, San Diego State Aztecs
The Falcons told him that he would play some nickel back and safety in their defense. He redshirted and was a reserve in 2013. He made 13 starts in 2014 and led the team with 14 passes defended, adding 58 tackles and one interception to earn second-team All-Mountain West Conference honors. He was named an All-America and Mountain West defensive player of the year in 2015, with a team-best 15 passes defended and eight interceptions. Kazee returned for his senior season and again earned All-American status and won Conference defensive player-of-the-year honors with 65 tackles, 15 passes defended and seven interceptions. His brother, Walter, played running back at San Diego State (2009-12).
Round 5/156: Brian Hill , RB, 6-1, 219, Wyoming Cowboys
He played in 38 games and made 28 starts over his career. He rushed for 4,287 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry while scoring 35 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 41 passes for 403 yards over his career. He was a two-year starter rushing for 135.9 yards per game as a sophomore and 132.9 yards per game as a junior. He runs well off tackle and can bounce his runs to the outside. Runs with toughness and has vision in the open field.
Round 5/174: Eric Saubert, TE, 6-4, 252, Drake
He played in 41 games and made 37 starts during his career. He caught 190 passes for 2,253 yards and 21 touchdowns. Saubert lined up in the slot, wing and out wide in the Bulldogs' spread offense. He finished among the top FCS receiving leaders at tight end the past two seasons. He'll have to improve his blocking in order to make it in the NFL.
Round 1/8: Christian McCaffrey , RB, 5-11, 202, Stanford Cardinal
Carolina Panthers put the former Heisman runner-up in their crosshairs well before he turned heads at the Combine. Now he'll be one of quarterback Cam Newton 's new best friends.
Round 2/40: Curtis Samuel , WR, 5-11, 196, Ohio State Buckeyes
Another hybrid to pair with McCaffrey seems redundant at first glance, but the duo could give defensive coordinators headaches.
Round 2/64: Taylor Moton , T, 6-5, 319, Western Michigan Broncos
With Michael Oher 's status very much up in the air, the Panthers needed to add a tackle. Moton is the backup plan behind Daryl Williams .
Round 3/77: Daeshon Hall, DE, 6-5, 266, Texas A&M
The Panthers sent their fourth-round pick to Arizona in a swap of third-round choices that let Carolina grab a guy they believe will develop into an every-down end.
Round 5/152: Corn Elder, CB, 5-10, 183, Miami
Should slide into a backup role at nickel behind Captain Munnerlyn and could also chip in as a returner.
Round 6/192: Alex Armah, FB, 6-2, 253, West Georgia
Small-school guy played linebacker, defensive end and tight end in college, but he'll have a chance to stick in the pros at a position the Panthers still value.
Round 7/233: Harrison Butker , K, 6-4, 199, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Yellow Jackets' all-time leading scorer will at least push incumbent Graham Gano this summer.
New Orleans Saints
Round 1/11: Marshon Lattimore , CB, 6-0, 193, Ohio State
Mock drafts had him going in the top five or six picks, but a run on offensive players pushed this speedy, but physical, corner who excelled in press coverage down to the New Orleans Saints .
Round 1/32: Ryan Ramczyk , T, 6-6, 314, Wisconsin Badgers
The Saints were looking defense here. But when they didn't see the player they wanted, they took the best player from a slim crop of tackles to eventually take over on the right side.
Round 2/42: Marcus Williams , S, 6-1, 202, Utah Utes
With only one safety on the current roster signed beyond the upcoming season, the Saints quickly jumped at this physical, ball-hawking free safety to give them stability in the back end.
Round 3/67: Alvin Kamara , RB, 5-10, 215, Tennessee Volunteers
Minus a speedy, shifty change-of-pace back since letting Darren Sproles get away, the Saints got what they hope will be a perfect complement to Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson .
Round 3/76: Alex Anzalone , OLB, 6-3, 240, Florida Gators
In what is the latest move in a seemingly endless quest for outside linebackers, the Saints hope they finally got their man in Anzalone even though he was plagued by injuries in college.
Round 3/103: Trey Hendrickson , DE, 6-4, 266, Florida Atlantic Owls
Hendrickson's quickness and 4.65 speed in the 40, and his relentless pass-rushing ability, were impressive enough for the Saints to wait until the end of the third round to fill a big need.
Round 6/196: Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE, 6-3, 253, Miami
The Saints took a chance on another player who could help them improve their 2016 total of 30 sacks. Even though he was impressive in draft workouts, he has to overcome off-the-field issues that caused him to miss two of the last three seasons.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Round 1/19: O.J. Howard , TE, 6-6, 251, Alabama Crimson Tide
The Bucs never expected to have a shot at Howard and did not even make him among the 30 players invited to One Buc Place. But they considered him a top-five talent and his character is impeccable. Head coach Dirk Koetter believes he's a throwback tight end who can block and catch. You will see a lot of two-tight end sets with Howard and Cameron Brate next year.
Round 2/50: Justin Evans, S, 6-1, 195, Texas A&M
Tampa Bay needed help in the secondary and Evans is a big hitter with good speed and ball skills. A junior college transfer, he started every game at safety and had four interceptions while serving as the primary kick returner. The Bucs re-signed Chris Conte and acquired Dallas Cowboys free agent J.J. Wilcox to go with veteran Keith Tandy . This was a pick for need.
Round 3/84: Chris Godwin , WR, 6-1, 209, Penn State Nittany Lions
Godwin is a very fast, very productive receiver who lit up Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl. His size and speed makes him a natural receiver to play opposite Mike Evans for years to come. The Bucs have DeSean Jackson , so Godwin could see some action in the slot at times. Pick for depth and a future starter.
Round 3/107: Kendell Beckwith , OLB, 6-2, 243, Louisiana State
Beckwith is coming off a torn ACL he suffered late in the season against Florida. He looks like a strong-side linebacker, but can play middle. He expects to be ready to play in September, but the Bucs plan to take it slow with his recovery.
Round 5/162: Jeremy McNichols , RB, 5-9, 214, Boise State Broncos
Yes, the Bucs already have a running back from Boise State who sounds a lot like McNichols. But he is Doug Martin , and he's suspended the first three games of the season. McNichols rushed for more than 1,700 yards and 23 touchdowns last season. He runs a 4.49 40-yard dash. Hard to imagine a fifth-rounder would be enough to toss Martin overboard, but Peyton Barber or Charles Sims may have a battle now.
Round 7/223: Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, DT, 6-1, 331, Southern Cal
The Bucs traded up in the seventh round with the Miami Dolphins to get Tu'ikolovatu, a big, run-stuffing defensive tackle. After transferring from Utah, he went on a Mormon mission to the Philippines and lived out of his Suburban in Los Angeles for two months before starting his career with the Trojans.
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