NFC South OTA roundup: Sean Witherspoon out for Atlanta, Luke Kuechly earns praise

Streeter Lecka

The NFC South should be hotly contested next season, so we take a look at what each team is doing in OTAs.

The Atlanta Falcons are eyeing another dominant run atop the NFC South in 2013-14, but the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers aren't necessarily sitting idly by. We take a look at some of the storylines from OTAs.

Two linebackers miss Falcons OTAs

Atlanta linebackers Sean Witherspoon and Stephen Nicholas are both out after "minor surgeries", writes James Rael. Witherspoon had arthroscopic knee surgery and Nicholas was under the knife to fix a sports hernia, but both are expected to be ready for OTAs in June or at the very least June 18 mandatory minicamp.

Sean Payton: Will Smith's adjustment to LB will be "smooth"

After nine seasons playing defensive end for the Saints, Will Smith will transition to outside linebacker as New Orleans switches to a 3-4 setup. But Sean Payton isn't concerned changing the position of a 31-year-old, citing how few differences there are between the two positions in today's NFL. Smith has been an anchor for New Orleans, spending his entire career there, playing in a Pro Bowl and a Super Bowl in his tenure.

Bucs make minor roster moves

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't have a whole lot going on at this point. The team is going through their OTAs, but there's not a lot of news out of them. Most of the focus is on Darrelle Revis and when he'll be healthy, but the team did recently make a move. According to Bucs Nation, they waived wide receiver Chris Denton and signed Terriun Crump, another wide receiver. Apparently, Denton failed to impress at OTAs.

Carolina's Luke Kuechly earning praise

Luke Kuechly earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors last season, and many are hoping he continues his progression. Reports out of Cat Scratch Reader are positive after the first few days of OTAs: Kuechly is earning a lot of praise. Many considered him an odd fit for Carolina initially, but when Jon Beason went down with injury, Kuechly found playing time and was able to shine. At OTAs, he's impressing just about everyone and that can only mean good things for Carolina.

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