It’s hard not to like the improvements made by the teams in the NFC South. The Carolina Panthers added dynamic RB Christian McCaffrey in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers stole TE O.J. Howard in the Draft after his surprising slide. The Atlanta Falcons.... brought in Matt Schaub to be their back-up QB?
In any event, it looks like all of the NFC South teams took steps forward for 2017, some taking bigger steps than others. For Pro Football Focus, the team that made the biggest improvements in the NFC South were none other than the New Orleans Saints:
It’s hard not to like what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did over free agency and the draft, but the Saints draft was so good I think it edges it. Marshon Lattimore slipping to No. 11 could prove to be a steal, as he was the clear best corner in the draft. Last season, he allowed an NFL passer rating of just 31.9 when targeted, and gave up only 18 catches all season. Ryan Ramczyk was the best tackle prospect in the draft, allowing just 12 total pressures all season, and their next four picks in the draft could all make significant impacts as rookies. Adrian Peterson coming on board for a modest contract could also prove to be a high-reward move for little risk, as he has a habit of defying convention when it comes to what he should be able to do physically over his career.
The Saints had one of their better drafts in recent memory, and with other under-the-radar free agents signings that weren’t mentioned (like Alex Okafor, A.J. Klein and others), the Saints are definitely looking to make a run in 2017.