There is an old saying that says “Defense wins championships.” Well, yes, that’s true, but you won’t win any games if you can’t put up points on the scoreboard. The NFC South is loaded with offensive talent and below are my top five players from the NFC South.
- Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Brees is not only the best quarterback in the division, but he is one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Brees has accomplished nearly everything you can at the position. Brees has led the NFL seven times in passing yards, has won two offensive player of the year awards, and was Super Bowl MVP back in 2010. With it being record week here at SB Nation, Brees holds the record for most passing touchdowns in a game with seven, most games in a row with a touchdown (54),and highest completion percentage for a single season at 72%, which he accomplished last season. The Saints go as Brees goes and as long as he is their quarterback, the team has a legitimate shot at a Championship every year.
2. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
You can certainly make the argument that Julio Jones, when healthy, is the best all around receiver in the NFL. Jones is nearly impossible to defend. It doesn’t matter what you do with him, he is always going to get his. Jones is coming off a season in which he had 88 receptions for 1,444 yards and three touchdowns. It’s almost like no one blinks anymore when he puts up those numbers because it has become routine every single year. Not only does Jones make a huge impact by himself, but he opens things up for the whole offense, whether it be for Sanu, Freeman or Coleman, and that is what makes him one of the best receivers in the game.
3. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
If it wasn’t for 2016, Matt Ryan wouldn’t even be in my top five offensive players for the NFC South. Don’t get me wrong, Ryan is an important piece to the Falcons, but he is also slightly overrated. Back in 2016, he finally delivered a full season of “Matty Ice” and it was fun to watch. However, if you take out 2016, Ryan has averaged 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for the rest of his career. Those numbers aren’t horrible, but it just goes to show you that he isn’t the 38 and 7 guy who won the MVP in 2016.
4. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans is one of only three receivers in NFL history to have four straight 1,000 yard seasons to begin his career, and that is why he is in my top five. He is on pace to shatter every Buccaneers receiving record and in my opinion, is a top five receiver in the NFL. Evans obviously has elite height and uses it to his advantage nearly every game, but he is also a very good route runner and doesn’t get enough credit in that area. He has been the #1 receiver ever since he was drafted back in 2014, and he is fresh off signing a mega five year $85 million dollar extension during the off season. Evans does have one pro bowl on his resume as well as being named second-team all-pro in 2016.
5. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
Michael Thomas is perhaps one of the more underrated players in the NFL. Thomas is only entering his third NFL season, but has already made a huge impact during his first two years. He made the pro bowl in 2017 as he caught 104 passes for 1,245 yards and five touchdowns. He has quietly developed into Drew Brees’ favorite target and is only 25 years old. Thomas has elite speed and is a threat to take a slant route to the house. Every defense has to prepare for him in so many different ways, which is why I have him ranked #5.