Saints leading the NFC South pack following measured free agency approach

No team in the NFC South has followed the Los Angeles Rams’ guide to building its 2018 roster. No one among the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers splashed all around the free-agent market.

Each team added pieces here and there. Each team subtracted pieces, which seemed to be the Panthers’ strategy more than anyone else in the division.

It’s still unclear exactly who will end up as the best quarterback from this class, but it does seem safe to say it won’t be Johnny Football. Twelve of the 20 scouts McGinn polled suggested Manziel’s career would go down as a miss, with scouts expressing concerns about his off-field behavior even before hitting the pros. Zach Mettenberger received one first-place vote, with his six points placing him just ahead of AJ McCarron’s five.

Winston was seen as a far more polarizing prospect at the time of the draft, owing in part to his off-field troubles. One scout compared Winston to a less athletic version of JaMarcus Russell. Eight of the 19 executives on McGinn’s anonymous committee suggested Winston would be a disappointment or a bust, while just one said the same thing about Mariota.

“I thought it was a unique hire,” Dilfer, a former ESPN analyst and an expert in quarterbacks, told NJ Advance Media. “But I became a big fan once I started doing the mental gymnastics of it. I think it’s a really good partnership because it fills in gaps on both sides.”

Shurmur is a West Coast offense disciple of coach Andy Reid’s with the Eagles, with recent exposure to Norv Turner with the Vikings. Shula used run-pass-options with the Cam Newton-led Panthers to supplement his upbringing in the power rushing attack.

“For Pat to have Mike there for the expertise in some of the heavy-run stuff, the play-action game is a huge value,” Dilfer said. “Especially playing in New (Jersey).

“You have to play the grind-it out-ugly game sometimes. You can’t throw it all over the place sometimes. There are elements, in late-season football where you have to play that power game.”bills_051