ESPN's NFC South reporters weigh in on which player picked in Rounds 4-7 will have the biggest impact in the division. Each team’s draft class is below the reporter’s analysis.
David Newton, Carolina Panthers reporter: Panthers FB Alex Armah. If you haven't heard of the two-way player out of West Georgia, this could help. While the sixth-round pick played defensive end and tight end most of his college career, he is a natural as a fullback/H-back. At 6-foot-2, 253 pounds, he will offer another layer of protection for quarterback Cam Newton in addition to being a weapon as a receiver. Calling him a steal might be overstated because many projected him as going undrafted. He could be called a reach. But half a dozen teams were looking at Armah, so the Panthers took the gamble on a player they really don't consider a gamble at all.
Jenna Laine, Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter: Panthers CB Corn Elder. He was a nice steal for Carolina in the fifth round. He can step in right away and occupy the nickelback position. It’s rare for a guy who is 5-foot-9 and 183 pounds to have his type of physicality. He’s aggressive, has great ball skills and doesn’t miss many tackles. With the struggles the Panthers’ secondary has faced since the departure of Josh Norman, bolstering that unit, even in the slot, and being able to do so with this type of value in the later rounds, is a great move.
Vaughn McClure, Atlanta Falcons reporter: Falcons DB Damontae Kazee. The Falcons loved being able to get Kazee in the fifth round out of San Diego State. Although he's small, Kazee knows how to make plays on the ball and was the school's all-time leader in interceptions. Coach Dan Quinn said Kazee will get a look at both nickel and free safety. If Kazee performs well during the offseason and preseason, maybe he'll get a shot to be a regular part of the rotation, with as much nickel that is being played these days.
Mike Triplett, New Orleans Saints reporter: Jeremy McNichols, RB, Tampa Bay. I like the potential of fifth-round nickel cornerbacks Damontae Kazee in Atlanta and Corn Elder in Carolina, but I don't see a clear path to playing time for either one of them right away. So I'll go with McNichols, who could contribute early as a pass-catcher and perhaps play a bigger role if the Buccaneers wind up playing musical chairs in their backfield like they did last year (starter Doug Martin is already facing a three-game suspension). Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht raved about McNichols' potential as a third-down back, citing his "rare hands" and pass-protection ability. But he is capable of more than that after racking up an eye-popping 3,046 rushing yards, 934 receiving yards and 53 touchdowns over the past two years at Boise State.