Jordan Jefferson

NFC South Notes: Bucs, Panthers, Saints

The NFL is a grown man’s league, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have taken notice.

First-round receiver Mike Evans and second-round tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins both stand 6 feet 5, imposing figures amongst their defensive counterparts. Both players have basketball backgrounds. As the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud writes, the Bucs and coach Lovie Smith like their basketball players.

“My experience is that anybody can’t go out there and play basketball,” Smith said. “It takes a good athlete with quickness, size, vertical (jump). Normally, that translates to getting good production on the football field.”

Stroud points out a number of former hoopsters who excelled in pro football, including Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham. Getting position on your defender in football is similar to boxing out for a rebound in basketball, and it looks like the Bucs are hoping to cash in on the trend.

More from the NFC South below…

  • With a potential opening at punt returner, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports the Bucs gave third-round pick Charles Sims, sixth-round pick Robert Herron and undrafted receiver Solomon Patton a shot to impress coaches at Saturday’s minicamp.
  • The Panthers are expected to sign 6-foot-8, 320-pound tackle David Foucault, says Joseph Parson of the Charlotte Observer. The University of Montreal product impressed during the two-day rookie minicamp and figures to be the second Canadian lineman to sign with the team after coming to camp on a tryout basis.
  • The signing of former Browns receiver Greg Little has been discussed by Panthers brass, but the team is not planning to sign him at this point, two sources told Person.
  • There’s no denying the talent of Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, says Jonathan Jones of the Observer. But, his recent actions have his future in question.
  • In a heartwarming story, Saints coach Sean Payton announced the team signed former Tulane safety Devon Walker, who was paralyzed from the neck down in 2012, Andrew Lopez of The Times-Picayune writes.
  • After spending 2013 in the Arena Football League, former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson was on hand at Saints minicamp Saturday as a tryout invitee, Lopez reports.

Saints Notes: Cooks, Walker, LSU Players

The Saints traded up in the first round to acquire Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks, and the receiver sees himself fitting well into the team’s offense. Cooks speaking to the media can be seen in this video from Cooks compares the Saints’ spread offense to his college system, and talks about his desire to compete and bring added value on special teams.

Here are some other notes from the Saints:

  • Saints’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan spoke highly of the team’s top pick Cooks, writes Larry Holder of (via Twitter). “Anytime a player is hand picked by [head coach] Sean Payton that’s a receiver, you better believe he’s going to be something,” said Ryan.
  • The Saints have announced that they have signed former Tulane safety Devon Walker, according to the team’s official Twitter account. Walker was a four-year player at Tulane, before he injured his neck making a tackle in the second game of his senior season, according to“When Devon got hurt, his football career was just starting to take off after three years of hard work,” Payton said. “Despite the devastating injury he suffered, Devon refuses to let that define him. He is an outstanding young man, who is not only an inspiration to his coaches and teammates at Tulane, but to all of us. Devon’s character, determination, intelligence and work ethic are everything that we look for in a New Orleans Saint when we sign a player. This is the least we can do to recognize Devon and these attributes that we want all of our players to have.”
  • Aside from all of the rookies, the Saints have invited former LSU standouts Jordan Jefferson and Jacob Hester to try out for the team, according to Christopher Dabe of Jefferson went undrafted as a quarterback in 2012. Hester was a running back and fullback for the Chargers and Broncos, last playing a game in 2012. The 29-year old former Tiger was part of LSU’s 2007 national championship team.