What positions should the teams in the NFC South look to address in the 2023 NFL Draft?
Unlike in the NFC East, the South was not a good division in 2022. While not technically the worst division in football (hello AFC South), it was pretty darn close. All teams were below .500, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the division at 8-9. The NFC South is the first division since 2014 to have all four teams with a negative point differential, and they were the second division with all of their teams sitting at home entering the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Unfortunately for these four franchises, this year was not so much a one-off, the result of a season-ending injury to a team’s best player or something of that nature. These teams are simply low on talent and loaded with question marks. For example, there is not a single quarterback in the division that should feel a sense of job security.
Tom Brady looks like he could be moving on, either to a new franchise or into the broadcast booth with FOX. Sam Darnold and Andy Dalton are likely to be replaced in Carolina and New Orleans. Desmond Ridder, selected in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, made his debut for Atlanta in Week 15 and did show progress to close out the season. He is likely to be the starter in 2023, but if the Falcons can make a run at someone like Lamar Jackson, they will not hesitate.
The quarterback position is just the tip of the iceberg. These teams are littered with positional weaknesses and coaching issues alike. We saw the Panthers fire Matt Rhule mid-season and the Bucs fire Byron Leftwich shortly after their wildcard loss. These franchises have a lot of work to do across the board, and the NFL Draft is a great place to reshape depth charts. Let’s take a look at how each team can get better in April.