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Sport 2021 NFL Draft NFC South reset: Division odds, team grades, best picks, 2022 mock drafts and more

17:41  12 may  2021
17:41  12 may  2021 Source:   cbssports.com

NFL mock draft 2021, 3-round edition: 49ers opt for Mac Jones; Lions throw QB curveball; Penei Sewell, DeVonta Smith slide

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The 2021 NFL Draft is clearly in the rearview now, with spring programs getting underway and summer training camps not too far off. Not a single team is likely finished adding to or tweaking its roster ahead of kickoff in September, but all 32 have at least a glimpse of their foundation for the fall. And some clubs have undergone quite the transformation since draft weekend.

a baseball player holding a bat © Provided by CBS Sports

With that in mind, we're "resetting" each division -- reviewing how every team has fared since adding new talent in Cleveland, and looking ahead to forecast what's to come this season. Here, we're focused on the NFC South:

Cowboys split on which cornerback to select with 10th pick

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Atlanta Falcons

2021 draft grade: B- (Pete Prisco)

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Best pick: S Richie Grant (Ryan Wilson)

Most questionable pick: OC Drew Dalman (Ryan Wilson)

2022 top mock pick: USC LB Drake Jackson

SportsLine's 2021 win projection: 7

William Hill win total: 7 (Over -160)

William Hill odds to win division: +800 (3rd)

William Hill odds to win Super Bowl: +5000

The Falcons were one of the tipping points of the draft at No. 4 overall, and it became clear in the days leading up to the first round that they'd be selecting Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. That's exactly what they did. He adds a dynamic weapon to the Atlanta offense and he'll be damn near impossible to stop with Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley drawing attention away from him, but having the No. 4 overall pick and using it on a non-quarterback when Matt Ryan is in his late-30s counts as a bit of a missed opportunity. Still, the Falcons should be positioned decently well to have a much better record than they did last year. Despite finishing 4-12, the Falcons had the point differential of a 7.6-win team, per Pro Football Reference, and teams with that type of profile typically bounce back strongly the following year. If they get a bit of a coaching upgrade in the switch to Arthur Smith, perhaps they can push for nine or 10 wins and a playoff berth.

Even at age 40, Michael Vick still runs a ridiculous 40-yard dash

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Carolina Panthers

2021 draft grade: B+ (Pete Prisco)

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Best pick: TE Tommy Tremble (Ryan Wilson)

Most questionable pick: RB Chuba Hubbard (Ryan Wilson)

2022 top mock pick: Liberty QB Malik Willis (Ryan Wilson)

SportsLine's 2021 win projection: 7.5

William Hill win total: 7.5 (Over -105)

William Hill odds to win division: +1000 (4th)

William Hill odds to win Super Bowl: +6000

Would the Panthers have picked Justin Fields if they hadn't just traded for Sam Darnold? Did they expect Fields to be there? We'll never know, but Jaycee Horn made a lot of sense for them if they were just not going to take any QB in that spot. Carolina used all seven picks on defense in 2020, and the unit still checked in well below average last year. Adding a premier press man cornerback prospect is one heck of a way to improve on defense. Throw in intriguing weapons in Tremble, Hubbard, and LSU wideout Terrace Marshall Jr., plus a possible plug-and-play tackle in Brady Christensen, and the rebuild is coming into focus -- ya know, if Darnold can tap into the talent that made him the No. 3 overall pick in 2018.

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New Orleans Saints

2021 draft grade: C (Pete Prisco)

Panthers drafted Terrace Marshall Jr. early once they learned Saints wanted the WR

  Panthers drafted Terrace Marshall Jr. early once they learned Saints wanted the WR The Saints eyed Marshall at No. 60, prompting the Panthers to select Marshall earlier than initially planned. © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports Terrace Marshall Jr. was apparently quite close to becoming a Saint. Carolina drafted Marshall at No. 59, reuniting him with offensive coordinator Joe Brady. The Saints then took Ohio State linebacker Pete Werner at 60. Marshall, who now joins Panthers vets D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, played a key role for LSU’s national championship team alongside Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase and last season after those future first-rounders left.

Best pick: DE Payton Turner (Ryan Wilson)

Most questionable pick: LB Pete Werner (Ryan Wilson)

2022 top mock pick: Alabama CB Josh Jobe (Ryan Wilson)

SportsLine's 2021 win projection: 9.5

William Hill win total: 9.5 (Over +145)

William Hill odds to win division: +280 (2nd)

William Hill odds to win Super Bowl: +2500

The Saints somehow found a way to trade up several times yet again. I don't know how they keep doing it or where the heck the ammo comes from, but you can bet on it pretty much every year. It'll be fascinating to see what this offense looks like with either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill under center, but the reinforcements the Saints brought in defensively were the big story of the draft. Turner should rotate in with the edge group and help replace the departed Trey Hendrickson. Werner should slide into the role previously filled by Alex Anzalone. And Paulson Adebo could push for a starting cornerback slot opposite Marshon Lattimore sooner rather than later.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2021 draft grade: C (Pete Prisco)

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Best pick: DE Joe Tryon (Ryan Wilson)

Most questionable pick: OL Robert Hainsey (Ryan Wilson)

2022 top mock pick: Texas A&M DT Marvin Leal (Ryan Wilson)

SportsLine's 2021 win projection: 11.5

William Hill win total: 11.5 (Over -125)

William Hill odds to win division: +180 (1st)

William Hill odds to win Super Bowl: +6500

It seemed like the Bucs were sending a note to the Packers about how to select their potential replacement for a legendary QB who is still at or near the top of his game. Jason Licht and Bruce Arians were quick to note that Tom Brady knew all about the team's plans for Kyle Trask, whom they landed at the back of the second round. Tampa also did well to find rotational players to develop behind other aging starters. Jason Pierre-Paul isn't going to play forever, and having Tryon to work behind him and Shaq Barrett is a nice depth move. The same goes for Hainsey, plus fifth-round pick K.J. Britt and fourth-rounder Jaelon Darden, all of whom can come in and contribute with no real pressure to be stars right away, before taking over larger roles down the line.

Deshaun Watson lawsuits could 'go away', 2021 return increasingly likely .
A new report

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