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Sport NFC South 2021: Falcons' Calvin Ridley and other players on a rookie contract who are key to team's success

10:00  19 june  2021
10:00  19 june  2021 Source:   cbssports.com

One non-QB each NFL team can't afford to lose to injury in 2021: Travis Kelce, DeAndre Hopkins crack the list

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Developing homegrown players is the key to success in the NFL, resulting in annual playoff appearances and occasional deep playoff runs. The Saints and Buccaneers are two of the best in league in developing homegrown talent, as the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons look to copy Here' s a look at a player on their rookie contract on each NFC South team that will play a huge role for their respective franchise in 2021 : Saints: Ryan Ramczyk, RT. Player experience: Fifth season How acquired: 2017 draft (First round, No. 32 overall). Soon to be one of the highest-paid tackles in football

Being one of the few who beat the odds to make it to the NFL is one thing, but being able to extend the opportunity into a longterm career is quite another. It' s not often a player finds himself the beneficiary of both things, with far more players having a shelf life on the left of the tenure spectrum than on the That' s the position at least four players in the NFC East find themselves in with the 2021 NFL regular season approaching -- as the Dallas Cowboys , New York Giants , Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team reload to battle for ownership of the division crown. With each of the following players

The NFC South had plenty to brag about in 2020, as the division that hosts the Super Bowl champions in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with the team that has the most wins in the NFL over the last four seasons in the New Orleans Saints (49). Tampa Bay and New Orleans are the favorites to fight for the division crown once again, thanks to the astounding homegrown talent the franchises have developed over the past few years.

a football player holding a baseball bat with Ohio State University in the background © Provided by CBS Sports

The Saints have drafted very well despite their salary cap issues, led by the famous 2017 draft that landed Alvin Kamara, Ryan Ramczyk, Marcus Williams, and Trey Hendrickson. The Buccaneers have an even more impressive draft haul since 2017, netting Chris Godwin, Devin White, Carlton Davis, Vita Vea, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Antoine Winfield Jr., and many others that played a pivotal role in the Super Bowl LV title.

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You could easily put 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones on this list as the key piece for New England to return toward being a contender again, but there' s no guarantee that he even sees the field this year with Cam Newton still on the roster. Putting Jones off the side also allows us to look a little deeper at New England' s roster and identify starting left tackle Isaiah Wynn as another key player on Bill Belichick' s depth chart still on his rookie contract . After all, whomever is set to be under center needs to be protected and Wynn is a central figure in ensuring the quarterback isn't running for his life out

For 2021 and possibly beyond, these four players will likely have a say in who wins the AFC North. That being said, there are still plenty of stars on their original teams . The AFC North, for example, has several marquee players still playing on AFC North: Each team ' s key player on a rookie contract .

Developing homegrown players is the key to success in the NFL, resulting in annual playoff appearances and occasional deep playoff runs. The Saints and Buccaneers are two of the best in league in developing homegrown talent, as the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons look to copy their formula toward success.

Here's a look at a player on their rookie contract on each NFC South team that will play a huge role for their respective franchise in 2021:

Saints: Ryan Ramczyk, RT

Player experience: Fifth season

How acquired: 2017 draft (First round, No. 32 overall)

Soon to be one of the highest-paid tackles in football, Ramczyk is already stating his case as one of the best right tackles in the game. A First Team All-Pro in 2019, Ramczyk racked up Second Team All-Pro honors in 2020 after allowing just 25 pressures, two quarterback hits, and two sacks in 565 pass blocking snaps (pressures allowed per dropback rate of 4.4%). Ramczyk has allowed just three sacks over the last two years, a total of 2,010 snaps.

Browns CB Greedy Williams participating in OTAs

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The major wave of free agency has come and gone, but what changes to the Falcons ’ rivals in the NFC South did it bring? The moves made so far this offseason haven't been highlighted by superstar players , as is the case in previous years. 'GMFB' talks rookies who will best complement their new teams in '21. 2021 Atlanta Falcons Schedule | On a journey to find dubs.

The Atlanta Falcons ’ 2021 NFL draft class has been praised by many in the media, but the real test will come once training camp starts. Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith may have worked together when selecting the players , but it’ s up to Smith to make sure these players fit in his system. The Panthers came into the draft needing to address their offensive line, linebackers, and defensive secondary. They used their top selection to take the first defensive player off the board. Calvin Ridley and , hopefully, Julio Jones will face off against Panthers rookie Jaycee Horn twice a year for years to come.

Ramczyk is on his fifth-year option at $11.064 million, so we'll count him on his rookie deal. He's the key toward Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston succeeding this season, as he'll be responsible for keeping both quarterbacks upright. There isn't a player more important on the Saints offense than Ramczyk in 2021 -- and that includes Alvin Kamara.

Buccaneers: Devin White, ILB

Player experience: Third season

How acquired: 2019 draft (First round, No. 5 overall)

The most tackles in a single game in Buccaneers postseason history? That honor belongs to White, who also owns the No. 2 and No. 3 spots on this list -- and he's only played three postseason games! White was a dominant force on Tampa Bay's No. 1 ranked run defense in 2020 (Buccaneers allowed the fewest rushing yards, fewest rushing touchdowns, and fewest yards per carry allowed), finishing with 140 tackles, 16 quarterback hits, and nine sacks in 15 games. Keep in mind this was just his second season in the league, and White led the all inside linebackers in sacks and quarterback hits.

Ron Rivera wants open competition for Washington starting QB job

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The Falcons are going to be all Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts in 2021 , right? NFC South 2021 : Falcons ’ Calvin Ridley and other players on a rookie contract who are key to team ’ s success .

Ridley , who uses simple cone drills to perfect his footwork, says he "always" studies defensive backs to take note of their tendencies. He credits former NFL receiver Keary Colbert, a former offensive analyst for the Crimson Tide, for sitting down with him five times a week to analyze opposing defensive backs. "He has an ability to make every route look like a go route with his speed, knee drive and arm action," Colbert said of Ridley . "He has a great ability to stop on a dime and transition in and out of his breaks.

White is the first player with 100-plus tackles and nine sacks in a season since 2012 and one of just four players with 200-plus tackles and 10-plus sacks in their first two seasons since 1982 (Brian Urlacher, Darius Leonard, Duane Bickett). He's one of the best players on one of the league's best defenses -- and he still has two years left on his rookie deal. White is already one of the top inside linebackers in the game.

Panthers: D.J. Moore, WR

Player experience: Fourth season

How acquired: 2018 draft (First round, No. 24 overall)

Hard to believe Moore is still on his rookie contract since he's been one of the most productive wideouts in the league. Moore is fifth in receiving yards (2,368) among wide receivers over the last two seasons and he's the only wide receiver with at least 1,200 scrimmage yards in each of the last two seasons. One of the biggest big-play threats in the league, Moore ranked third in the league with 18.1 yards per catch last season and his five receiving touchdowns of 50-plus yards are fourth amongst wide receivers over the last three years.

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Moore's 3,156 career receiving yards rank seventh in NFL history for players aged 23 or younger -- not bad for a player who just turned 24 in April. The Panthers still have Moore for another year on his rookie deal before his fifth-year option of $11.116 million kicks in -- with a contract extension looming. Moore is expected to thrive in year two of Joe Brady's offense, as a much improved deep-ball quarterback in Sam Darnold will be throwing passes his way.

Falcons: Calvin Ridley, WR

Player experience: Fourth season

How acquired: 2018 draft (First round, No. 26 overall)

Julio Jones is no longer on the Falcons, which leaves Atlanta fans wondering if Ridley is ready to take over as the No. 1 wide receiver. Fear not, Ridley was incredibly productive in the seven games Jones didn't play last season, averaging 11.3 targets per game and 109.3 receiving yards per game -- a season which he finished with 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging a career-high 15.3 yards per catch. He also finished fourth in the league in receiving yards per game (91.6).

Ridley is just one of six players with 3,000 receiving yards and 25 receiving touchdowns since entering the league in 2018 -- joining Davante Adams, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Tyler Lockett, and Mike Evans in that category. Ridley's 26 career receiving touchdowns rank first amongst the 2018 draft class and his 3,061 yards and 9.33 yards per target are only behind D.J. Moore. This is a year for Ridley to prove to the Falcons he's a No. 1 wide receiver -- with a huge contract extension lurking.

Ernie Adams keeps ‘pink stripes’ a mystery in surprise Patriots presser .
When asked on Wednesday what exactly he did in New England for the past two decades, Adams kept things vague. Ernie Adams described his #Patriots job this way: "My job is to figure out as many things I can do to help the New England Patriots win football games." Will he stay involved at all in the organization? "Bill has all my contact information,'' he said with a smile. — Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) June 16, 2021 Many people believe Adams was at the center of the Patriots’ infamous Spygate scandal in 2007, but that has never been proven.

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