NFL Draft grades 2013: NFC South addresses defense

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The NFC South got defensive on Friday, beefing up a sometimes-overlooked side of the game.

On Friday night, the four NFC South teams made a commitment to defense by-and-large in the second and third rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft, with the idea of shutting down the other high-powered offenses in the division.

Atlanta Falcons: B+

The Falcons only had one pick but continued to bolster their secondary by taking Robert Alford out of Southeastern Louisiana. Alford has been a fast-rising player in the draft process because of his speed and agility, something that NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock believes will make him a solid player.

Carolina Panthers: A-

After finishing out of the playoffs once again with a porous defense, the Panthers drafted their second-consecutive defensive tackle on Friday, nabbing Kawann Short of the Purdue Boilermakers.

Short is perhaps the best player to come out of the Big Ten conference this season. Short amassed 43 tackles and seven sacks last season, an impressive feat for an interior lineman. Paired with first-round pick Star Lotulelei, the Panthers could be onto something.

New Orleans Saints: B

The Saints didn't have a second-round selection but made up for it with two in the third. With the 13th pick in the third round, New Orleans took offensive tackle Terron Armstead, a player Mayock believes will develop in time. Considering tackle isn't an immediate need for the Saints, it's a solid and understandable move.

Seven spots later, New Orleans snatched up big John Jenkins, a nose tackle out of Georgia. Most pundits thought of Jenkins as a second-round talent, so he could be a steal here.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: B+

Finally, the Buccaneers continued to address their secondary by taking Johnthan Banks out of Mississippi State. Banks slipped a bit after having a mediocre combine, but he still adds to a position of strength for Tampa that now includes Darrelle Revis. CBS Sports analyst Pete Prisco is also a fan of the pick.

In the third round, the Buccaneers plucked quarterback Mike Glennon to backup and ultimately compete with Josh Freeman. Glennon needs to understand concepts better but has a major arm that can make all the throws at the NFL level. He's a solid project to work on.

More from SB Nation:

Geno Smith going to Jets, predicts playoffs

Manti Te'o fills need for Chargers

The Honey Badger heads to Arizona

NFL draft results: 1st round | 2nd round

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NFL draft grades: Reviewing the first round

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