The NFC South is home to the defending Super Bowl champions and two teams drafting in the top eight of next week's NFL Draft. That makes it quite an intriguing division -- especially because the fourth team in the division is one that has to replace a future Hall of Famer under center.
With all that in mind, let's take stock of where each of these teams stands as we prepare for the draft.
Biggest addition: Giovani Bernard
Most of the Bucs' offseason has been about retaining players, not adding new ones. I was tempted to put the Lombardi Trophy as their biggest offseason addition, simply because they have not added many impact players. Bernard can be expected to fill the pass-catching back role that was split at different times between Leonard Fournette and LeSean McCoy last season, but even in the best-case scenario, he's part of a three- or four-way backfield split. That said, we know how much Tom Brady loves to take advantage of a playmaking running back on option routes and swing passes, so Bernard could add a new element to this offense.
Biggest loss: Joe Haeg
As previously mentioned, the Bucs have spent this offseason bringing back essentially every core piece from last year's team. As far as I can tell, a backup offensive lineman is their most significant loss. That's pretty wild.
Top draft priority: Defensive depth
The Buccaneers have had one of the NFL's best defenses in each of the past two seasons. You can rightly expect them to have one of the league's best defenses again next year, but if history has shown us anything, it's that elite defenses usually don't stay elite for long -- at least not if they don't continually restock the cupboard with high-level talent. Adding Antoine Winfield Jr. last year was a great step in fortifying the back end. Grabbing help on the edge and possibly at linebacker should be a priority, though the Bucs will have the luxury of allowing those players time to develop behind the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul and Lavonte David, among others.
Where Tampa Bay stands heading into 2021
They're one of the Super Bowl favorites, and the pretty clear class of this division.
Biggest addition: Tanoh Kpassagnon
The Saints, as always, were right up against the cap this offseason. For the first time in quite some time, though, they didn't really finagle their way into an enormous amount of cap room to add a high-impact player on the open market. Instead, they brought in Kpassagnon to provide depth on the edge, which they needed after Trey Hendrickson took a deal from the Bengals.
Biggest loss: Drew Brees
Brees wasn't quite peak Brees these past couple years, but he was still one of the most accurate and poised quarterbacks in the league. Their offense hummed at peak efficiency in large part due to his ability to get the ball out quickly and in the exact right spot where only Michael Thomas and/or Alvin Kamara could catch it, and could do so on the move and create yards after the catch. Neither Jameis Winston nor Taysom Hill possess the same skill set, so this offense is going to have to change quite a bit, no matter which of them ends up under center.
Top draft priority: Wide receiver, cornerback
Sneakily, the Saints do not have much in the way of perimeter weaponry beyond Thomas. Tre'Quan Smith has produced in flashes, but can't necessarily be counted on as your full-time No. 2 wideout. The same is true of both Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris. Meanwhile, the Saints' cornerback depth leaves something to be desired after Janoris Jenkins left in free agency. Behind Marshon Lattimore, they need more than Patrick Robinson and some hybrid safety types like Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and P.J. Williams.
Where New Orleans stands heading into 2021
In flux. This is still one of the most talented rosters in the league from top to bottom, but there are major questions about what this offense is going to look like without Brees, and the defensive depth has been depleted a bit from when this unit was at its best over the past few years.
Biggest additions: Arthur Smith and Dean Pees
Atlanta's play-callers simply did not put their players in position to succeed often enough last year. That'll change with their new head coach and defensive coordinator. Smith emerged as one of the league's brightest offensive minds over the past couple seasons, and his play-action-heavy offense filled with in-breakers and vertical spacing should work well to take advantage of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley on the outside. Bringing Pees out of retirement, meanwhile, should bring more cohesion on the defensive side of the ball, where the Falcons had been a mess for years under Dan Quinn and company.
Biggest loss: Alex Mack
It's not too often that you think of a center as the most important piece of a team, but that could often be the case with Mack. He's so good on the interior, both in terms of setting pass protections and executing the style of blocks that are required in zone-running games, and losing him to the 49ers is going to hurt. The Falcons have some pretty good players elsewhere on the line, but probably need to add interior help, either in the draft or post-June 1 free agency.
Top draft priority: Quarterback
This might be controversial. But when you have a top-four pick in a quarterback-rich draft, you should come away with a quarterback. That's especially true if your starter is about to turn 36 years old and is five years removed from his peak, which he has only vaguely approached since that point. There are more pressing needs for the Falcons when it comes to the 2021 season (offensive line, everywhere on the defense), but in terms of the team Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot are going to build over the next several years, the most important thing to get settled is the quarterback spot.
Where Atlanta stands heading into 2021
It depends how the Falcons approach the draft. If they look to fill holes with immediate help, they're a sneaky candidate to push for something like 10 wins next year. They had the point differential of a 0.500-ish team last season, and if they can approach competence on defense and add another weapon for Matt Ryan, they can get a bit better than that. If they take a longer-term view and go with a quarterback in Round 1, things look a bit different.
Biggest addition: Sam Darnold
The Panthers made it no secret that they were not going to move forward with Teddy Bridgewater under center. They seemingly had designs on either landing a star via trade or moving up in the draft, but neither of those things came to fruition. Instead, they bought low on Darnold and will essentially hope that being free of Adam Gase and in a friendlier offensive environment -- in terms of surrounding talent and the system he's running -- will help tap into the talent he showed at USC.
Biggest loss: Curtis Samuel
The Panthers still have D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Christian McCaffrey to aid Darnold's development, but Samuel is an explosive playmaker with enviable versatility and could have provided even more of a security blanket for the team's new quarterback.
Top draft priority: Quarterback
I don't know how you can be sold on Darnold as the future of this team, based on what he has shown in the pros. The Panthers haven't officially picked up his fifth-year option yet (though CBS Sports NFL senior writer Jonathan Jones reported their plan to do so), but even if they had, they should still be in the market at QB if someone like Justin Fields or Trey Lance slips to them at No. 8 overall. If that doesn't happen, they should continue to address their needs on defense (they spent their entire draft last year on defensive players) and along the offensive line.
Where Carolina stands heading into 2021
There is a very wide range of possibilities for the Panthers. A lot of it depends on what they can get out of Darnold. If he's a lost cause, so are they. If he's salvageable, there's some upside here, given the talent on hand offensively. They still need to figure out a way to stop teams, but they can at least be quite entertaining if Darnold can put together some accurate throws to the correct team with any degree of consistency.