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2021 preseason All-NFC South Crew: Stacked Buccaneers roster dominates on each side of the ball

Over the subsequent two weeks, we are going to unveil our preseason All-Division groups, as is our annual custom round this time of yr. As at all times, the rosters have been compiled largely by a panel of 1, although there was important enter from the writing and editorial employees at CBSSports.com after I took an preliminary run on the rosters alone. 

We started earlier this week with the NFC East and NFC North, and can transfer by way of the remainder of the convention this week. Subsequent week, it is on to the AFC. With out additional ado, the preseason All-NFC South Crew…

Offensive talent positions

QB: Tom Brady (TB)

RB: Christian McCaffrey (CAR)

WR: Calvin Ridley (ATL), Mike Evans (TB), Chris Godwin (TB)

TE: Kyle Pitts (ATL)

FLEX: Alvin Kamara (NO)

Not that way back, there would have been a heated debate concerning the quarterback spot on this division. On the very least, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, and Drew Brees all may have laid declare to it. Now, solely Ryan stays within the NFC South, and he has been changed because the division’s greatest pocket operator, because of Brady relocating to Florida. The roll Tampa received on over the latter portion of the 2020 season ought to lay a strong basis for offensive success this coming yr, and Brady ought to be the category of the division as soon as once more. 

CMC missed most of final season thanks to 2 separate accidents, however he’s by all accounts totally wholesome as soon as once more. He’s the league’s most dynamic two-way risk out of the backfield, able to appearing as each a working again and vast receiver relying on the place he traces up. Kamara might be his closest facsimile, however McCaffrey has been trusted with extra quantity — by way of snaps, rushes, and receptions. There’s sufficient room for each of them on this roster, although, and so each of them make it. 

The receiving crop his been thinned out a bit on this division. what with Julio Jones being traded to the Titans and Michael Thomas struggling an harm that can probably maintain him out for a big chunk of the season. Ridley proved his mettle as a No. 1 wideout final season, and his function ought to solely develop now that Jones is in Tennessee. Evans and Godwin could not draw fairly the identical goal share as different No. 1’s attributable to Brady’s willingness — eagerness, even — to unfold the ball round, however the mixed expertise degree and alternative is there for them to shine as soon as once more. We might slightly roll with these two guys than Robby Anderson or D.J. Moore with Sam Darnold on the helm. Pitts is the very best tight finish prospect in latest reminiscence, and it is becoming that he is one of many solely rookies on any of our All-Division groups this yr. 

Offensive line

OT: Terron Armstead (NO), Tristan Wirfs (TB)

G: Ali Marpet (TB), Chris Lindstrom (ATL)

C: Ryan Jensen (TB)

Armstead is on a fairly terrific eight-season run as probably the greatest left tackles within the NFL. He is higher in cross safety than as a run blocker, however that is ultimate for contemporary soccer, and makes him a greater match for the roster than if the reverse have been true. His teammate, Ryan Ramczyk, has an excellent argument for the fitting deal with spot right here, however Wirfs’ rookie season was so good — and he confirmed such enchancment all year long — that we in the end gave him the nod as a substitute. We’re splitting hairs when selecting between the 2 gamers, although. 

Marpet is without doubt one of the nice small-school success tales in latest seasons. He’s nonetheless an absolute mauler within the run sport and his athleticism has allowed him to enhance enormously in cross safety. Lindstrom solely performed 5 video games and largely struggled throughout his rookie season, however he performed and began all 16 final yr and confirmed a ton of enchancment and promise. He is a greater run blocker than cross blocker for the time being however there’s nonetheless loads of time for the latter talent to catch up. With Alex Mack shifting out of the division, Jensen nearly turns into the very best heart by default. He is a rattling good participant in his personal proper, although, and worthy of a spot on the staff regardless.

Defensive entrance

EDGE: Brian Burns (CAR), Shaquil Barrett (TB)

IDL: Vita Vea (TB), Grady Jarrett (ATL)

LB: Lavonte David (TB), Demario Davis (NO)

FLEX: Cameron Jordan (NO)

Barrett has simply been straight up superior since touchdown in Tampa. He racked up 77 pressures final season, per PFF, main all edge rushers. He is heading into his age-29 season and enjoying on a loaded defensive entrance. Burns is a breakout star ready to occur. He hasn’t had the large sacks season but, nevertheless it’s coming. He had 57 pressures final season and dramatically slashed his missed deal with fee, which was an space of relative wrestle for him as a rookie. His athleticism and instincts will serve him properly over the subsequent a number of years as he anchors Carolina’s defensive rebuild. 

Vea was on his solution to a monster season when he broke his ankle in Week 5. He got here again and performed fairly properly throughout the playoff run, even when he was not on the peak of his powers. Nonetheless, he ought to choose up proper the place he left off now that he is again at full power. Plenty of the expertise on the defensive facet of the ball has left the Falcons roster during the last a number of years, however Jarrett remains to be there making hassle in the course of the line of defense. Dean Pees coming in as defensive coordinator ought to be nice for him, too. Jordan is such a flexible edge participant for the Saints, able to stopping the run and getting after the quarterback with equal proficiency. He can transfer inside on early or late downs, and he can nonetheless flip the nook. That is a really helpful piece for a protection. 

Defensive backfield

CB: Marshon Lattimore (NO), Carlton Davis (TB), Donte Jackson (CAR)

SAF: Marcus Williams (NO), Antoine Winfield Jr. (TB)

Nook is thinner on this division than you would possibly assume it’s. The Bucs’ secondary performed rather well down the stretch of the Tremendous Bowl run, however was VERY up and down for a lot of the yr. It is powerful to understand how a lot inventory to place in a sizzling stretch. The Saints have seen their depth sapped by cap points. Carolina has seen loads of turnover. The Falcons… do not need a lot expertise to talk of on the place. Ultimately, we went with the 2 guys we thought performed greatest final yr (Davis and Jackson) and the man who has demonstrated the best ceiling (Lattimore). It is a toss-up. 

Williams is an excellent center-field protection participant and bettering tackler coming downhill. The previous talent is extra helpful and what we care about right here. Winfield had an excellent rookie season and regardless of his measurement has the look of a future star on the place. Groups ought to pay attention to what he did (like Tyrann Mathieu earlier than him) and never put fairly as a lot emphasis on needing to be a sure measurement to play any such function. 

Specialists

Okay: Younghoe Koo (ATL)

P: Joseph Charlton (CAR)

RET: Cordarrelle Patterson (ATL)

I will not lie, I deferred to our resident knowledgeable, John Breech, when it got here to the kickers and punters. He instructed me that Koo was the very best kicker and Charlton the very best punter on this division, and I consider him. Patterson is the very best lively return man within the NFL.



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