The 2017 season was a successful year for the NFC South. Division winner, the New Orleans Saints (11-5), and the Carolina Panthers (11-5) and Atlanta Falcons (10-6) all reached the playoffs for the first time in the same year since the division’s inception in 2002. 2017 also hosted the first inter-divisional playoff matchup in its history, where the Saints defeated the Panthers 31-26.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were on the outside looking in after a disappointing campaign going just 5-11. After posting a 9-7 record in 2016 and making what seemed like all the right roster moves, the Bucs were on the up and up. Injury issues and posing one of the worst defenses in the league led to a 1-5 division record and a disappointing season, to say the least.
Aside from the Bucs’ woes, the amount of success the NFC South had last season led to later draft picks and a few interesting moves made by the front offices. Tampa traded back, New Orleans traded up, and the Falcons landed a steal late in the first round. Carolina got their guy to sit across from wide receiver Devin Funchess and give quarterback Cam Newton a young, big target.
Here are my three rookies ready to make an immediate impact in 2018.
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