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The Carolina Panthers turned
Created on January 4th, 2019

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Jan 4th 2019 at 0:22 AM
their attention to the secondary on the second day of the NFL draft — and added an extra draft pick along the way.The Panthers selected cornerback Donte Jackson from LSU in the second round and safety Rashaan Gaulden from Tennessee in the third round Friday night [url=][/url] , one day after taking wide receiver D.J. Moore from Maryland with the 24th overall pick in round one."That is an area we wanted to upgrade," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said of the defensive backfield.Carolina, coming off an 11-5 season, also wanted to get faster on defense — and it did.The 5-foot-11, 178-pound Jackson possesses high-end speed, clocked at 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combines. That tied him for the fastest 40-time among rookie cornerbacks."With Jackson, that is adding about as much speed as you can," Hurney said.Coach Ron Rivera said the addition of Jackson and Gaulden gives them some swagger back in the secondary that they had been missing after the departure of All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman. Carolina's starting cornerbacks didn't have any interceptions through the first 14 games last season.He feels like Jackson and Gaulden both have a big chip on their shoulder."My expectation is to be a starter from day one," Jackson said. "I am going to be more than ready and I anticipate being a starter."Jackson could have a chance to start opposite James Bradberry as a rookie.The Panthers traded last year's starter Daryl Worley to the Philadelphia, although the Eagles later waived him following an off-the-field incident. Carolina added Ross Cockrell in free agency and Kevon Seymour made some plays at cornerback last season.Jackson played in all 12 games last season for the Tigers and was a second-team all-SEC selection in 2017. He started 12 of 13 games and had 49 tackles, an interception and 10 pass breakups.Jackson said not being selected in the first round — he was taken with the 55th selection overall — has left him with a chip on his shoulder "the size of this hotel that I am staying in right now.""Seeing all of those guys picked before me when I was thought to be a first-round draft pick, that chip grew with every pick that I didn't see my name called," said Jackson, who was a member of LSU's SEC Championship 4x100-relay track team last year.Hurney said Jackson has outstanding ball skills, and the reason he likely fell to No. 55 overall was because of his lack of size.Rivera said while Bradberry will cover the opposition's bigger receivers, Jackson can handle the smaller, faster ones."We feel like he can play outside corner and nickel," Hurney said.The Panthers view the 6-foot-3 [url=]Tampa Bay Buccaneers T-Shirt[/url] , 193 Gaulden as a safety, although he has played some cornerback and nickel back for the Vols.Rivera likes that Gaulden has good speed for his size and feels he can cover tight ends."I can play anything in the defensive backfield," Gaulden said. "It's just the confidence that I have had and through the coaches who trained me to be able to play any position in the back end. But I can play safety at a very high level and that is what the Panthers see me as."Gaulden had only one interception during three seasons for the Vols, but had three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries last season."I try to get to the ball however I can," Gaulden said.Carolina traded its other third-round pick, No. 88 overall, to Green Bay in exchange for the Packers' fourth- and fifth-round picks. The Panthers now have six picks on Saturday, including the first pick of the day, the 101st overall.Hurney said that having the first pick in the third day of the draft is a "valuable spot."Bucs HC Dirk Koetter dancing around preseason injury reports Every pre-season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and all of the other 31 NFL franchises go through a dance of sorts with each other and the media. And it’s all centered around injuries, or the lack thereof.Left tackle Donovan Smith hobbled off the practice field recently. Second year safety Justin Evans was carted off. Like, couldn’t walk off under his own power.The reports are minimal. Smith could miss the season opener, but he might not. Evans is...ok? We think. He likely won’t play anymore in the pre-season, right? Or maybe he will. Nobody really knows. Not until right before the game.Why is that? Well, for multiple reasons.First, they don’t have to. Let’s be real for a minute. A lot of these players and coaches don’t talk to the media because they want to, they have to. The NFL mandates it. Marshawn Lynch is partially famous for his upfront disdain of the policies surrounding media interaction.So, anytime a player or coach has a reason not to answer a question, they’re likely going to take it. For example [url=]Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hats[/url] , when coach Koetter was asked about injuries following the practice Smith and Evans both got wounded in, his reply was,“What else? Guys I can’t talk about injuries alright. You can ask me every day but I can’t tell you. You’re just wasting time.”Now, in the immediate sense, he was talking about discussing injuries right after practice.He’s on the practice field, not in the medical room. Could he possibly have some information or updates? Maybe. But it’s more likely he’s been busy ensuring his players and coaching staff have been on task and will get updates on injuries during afternoon meetings.Don’t blame anyone there for at least asking, but there’s a reason Koetter doesn’t know. He was working. The final reason this time of year causes so much heartburn trying to get injury information? Again, they don’t have to, for a second time.According to the NFL’s Personnel (Injury) Report Policy, Regular and post. Not pre. Simple, right?A lot of fun was made about coach Louie Smith saying the Buccaneers were “Tennessee Ready” ahead of their 2015 regular season opener against Marcus Mariota and the Titans.It turned out, they weren’t.However, it doesn’t mean they weren’t preparing for them well ahead of seeing them. And you can bet Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints are paying attention to how Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the offense, which running back is doing well, how is the pass rush improving, etc. So, if they’re paying attention to those things then every drop of injury information gets the Saints just a little closer to being prepared for when Tampa Bay invades the bayou to start the 2018 regular season.Why is Koetter being so evasive with his injury answers? Because he can and should.

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