NFC South Rookie Report

Here is an update on the draft picks that made the rosters in the NFC South:

ATLANTA

Rd. 1/8, DE Jamaal Anderson, Arkansas -- Having focused too much on stopping the run early in preseason, he's starting to settle in and become a disruptive force as a pass rusher.

Rd. 2/39, G Justin Blalock, Texas -- A road grader who could develop into a dominant player quickly.

Rd. 2/41, CB Chris Houston, Arkansas -- Though he might not start the opener, the right side ball hawk will eventually move into the starting lineup.

Rd. 3/75, WR Laurent Robinson, Illinois State -- There is a chance he could move into the No. 3 role.

Rd.4/109, OLB Stephen Nicholas, South Florida -- A fast learner who has started most of the preseason but could lose his spot to veteran Demorrio Williams.

Rd. 4/133, TE Martrez Milner, Georgia -- A special teamer who will have to learn from Alge Crumpler.

Rd. 6/194, CB David Irons, Auburn -- A very impressive coverage player whose speed makes him highly valuable on special teams.

Rd. 6/185, NT Trey Lewis, Washburn -- A physical specimen who has made the jump from small school ball and worked his way to the No. 2 job.

Rd. 6/203 SS Daren Stone, Maine -- Lawyer Milloy's backup has been nothing short of stellar in special teams, particularly kickoff coverage.

Rd.7/244, RB Jason Snelling, Virginia -- This combo tailback/fullback has quelled thoughts of signing a veteran free agent to be the No. 3 tailback.

Rd. 6/ 198, C Doug Datish, Ohio State -- On injured reserve (wrist).

CAROLINA

Rd. 1/25, LB Jon Beason, Miami: Hurt himself by holding of camp more than a week. Still expected to begin the season as the starting weak-side linebacker. Could also move inside if Dan Morgan were to sustain another concussion. He has great athleticism and football skills.

Rd. 2/45, WR Dwayne Jarrett, USC: He has been a disappointment this preseason. The Panthers hoped he would step right in and start but he's been slow to progress. He needs to get quicker coming off the ball and use his body more to free himself up. No higher than fourth on the depth chart to start the season.

Rd. 2/59, C/G Ryan Kalil, USC: Was a first team All-PAC 10 conference selection his final two years at USC and will begin the season as the starting right guard with Jeremy Bridges serving a two-game suspension. Expect Bridges to regain his starting spot when he returns in Week 3. The Panthers think Kalil can be a player.

Rd. 3/83, DE Charles Johnson, Georgia: Another fairly disappointing draft pick so far, Johnson has done nothing to stand out from the crowd. He will probably make the 53-man roster, but can you say "weekly inactive list." The only reason he makes this team is because the Panthers have a third-round pick invested in him.

Rd. 4/118, WR/PR Ryne Robinson, Miami of Ohio: Robinson is likened by many to Steve Smith without the outstanding quickness. Still, Smith loves this kid and is routing hard for him. It could be that short men stick together. Anyway, Robinson will return punts and could see action as a slot receiver. He did not handle kickoffs as hoped and now the team has put that duty on Nick Goings.

Rd. 5/155, TE Dante Rosario, Oregon: He has had an outstanding training camp and the team is very high on him. He's already working as the No. 2 tight end ahead of Gaines. Don't be surprised if he winds up with the starting job before long.

Rd. 5/164, LB Tim Shaw, Penn State: He will basically fill a role on special teams while learning the defense. Carolina is looking for a fill-in for Vinny Ciurciu, an under appreciated special teams player who left to join the Minnesota Vikings in the off-season.

NEW ORLEANS

Rd. 1/27, WR Robert Meachem -- Battled injuries in the off-season and was behind throughout training camp. He continues to play catch-up as the regular season approaches and may not be a factor early.

Rd. 3/66, CB Usama Young, Kent State -- Was impressive in training camp despite injuring himself while working out on his own prior to camp. Has shown good ball skills and tremendous leaping ability in practice.

Rd. 3/88, G Andy Alleman, Akron -- A projected starter for the future, Alleman worked quietly with the second-team offense in training camp because of injuries to other players.

Rd. 4/125, T Jermon Bushrod, Towson -- Like Alleman, he's being groomed as starter for the future. Impressed the coaches during OTAs, but worked mainly with the second and third teams in training camp.

Rd. 7/220, LB Marvin Mitchell, Tennessee -- Unheralded player probably earned a roster spot with his physicalness and a willingness to play on special teams in training camp.

TAMPA BAY

Round 1/4 Gaines Adams, DE, 6-4, 258, Clemson -- The Bucs hoped to swing a deal for Calvin Johnson and hoped Wisconsin tackle Joe Thomas would fall to them at No. 4. But neither materialized and they addressed a big need with Adams, a pure pass rusher who will help an aging defense that had just 25 sacks last season.

Round 2/35 Arron Sears, OG, 6-3, 319, Tennessee -- The Bucs had concerns about Dan Buenning, who was coming off a knee injury and moved to center. Sears should start at left guard to continue the youth movement on the offensive line. He suffered a high ankle sprain before the third preseason game that could affect him throughout the year.

Round 2/64 Sabby Piscitelli, S, 6-3, 224, Oregon State -- Big hitter who tries to pattern himself after John Lynch. Demonstrated some play-making ability in training camp but hasn't played a lot of football. Tremendous athlete with range.

Round 3/68 Quincy Black, LB, 6-2, 240, New Mexico -- Fast, athletic linebacker who played hybrid position (formerly played by current Bears star LB Brian Urlacher) for the Lobos. Will back up Cato June at SSLB.

Round 4/106 Tanard Jackson, S, 6-0, 200, Syracuse -- Switched from corner to safety by the Bucs coaching staff at the Senior Bowl. Eventual successor to Ronde Barber at nickel safety. Made some splash plays at safety in a preseason game against Jacksonville. Could push Will Allen for playing time.

Round 5/141 Greg Peterson, DE, 6-5, 282, North Carolina Central -- Junior college transfer who led his team with 7.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries as a senior. Can play both defensive tackle and defensive end positions. Showed up vs. Dolphins in preseason with two sacks.

Round 6/182 Adam Hayward, LB, 6-1, 237, Portland State -- Cover-2 linebacker who wore five different jersey numbers, six different positions and went to two different schools. Defensive Player of the Year in the Big Sky conference. Project who could help on special teams.


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