NFC South Notes: Falcons, Jones, Saints

The Saints have been busy today — New Orleans not only became the third team to sign its first-round pick (receiver Brandin Cooks), but added two undrafted free agents, upping its total UDFA haul to 20. Let’s look at some more notes from New Orleans and the rest of the NFC South:

  • Falcons seventh-round linebacker Tyler Starr (who signed a contract today) impressed during Atlanta’s rookie minicamp, writes Vaughn McClure of, and did so while utilizing a four-point stance (both hands on the ground). “In college…I just kind of started thinking [about] the four-point, and it gave me a little more weight in the back of my hips so I could get a little more torque out of my stance,” Starr said. “And it also helped me come out at more of a horizontal level so I could play with my hands out in front of me.” The Falcons are transitioning to a 3-4 base defense in 2014, so Starr’s versatility could come in handy.
  • Running back Devonta Freeman (like Starr, a Day 3 pick of the Falcons) could also prove useful in 2014, and Orlando Ledbetter of the Orlando Journal-Constitution labels the fourth-rounder “a keeper.” “Devonta is a fast and quick guy,” said head coach Mike Smith. “He has very good vision and he’s able to stick his foot in the ground and transition into a different direction.”
  • In a separate piece, Ledbetter passes along some Falcons injury news, noting that receiver Julio Jones and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon will both be held out of team activities until the start of training camp.
  • Several notable players with NFL experience were included in the Saints’ rookie minicamp over the weekend on a tryout basis, with defensive end Jamaal Anderson (the No. 8 pick in 2007), receiver Armanti Edwards, and center Samson Satele among them, according to Andrew Lopez of the Times-Picayune.
  • Rookie Kelvin Benjamin is the closest thing the Panthers have to a No. 1 receiver, writes David Newton of in his latest mailbag. I would expect Carolina to run quite a bit of “11” personnel (one RB, one TE, three WRs), with Benjamin and Jerricho Cotchery on the outside, and Jason Avant in the slot.
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