Hilliard's speed could prove crucial

The addition of Ken Lucas will bolster Carolina's defense, while the Falcons need more from Michael Jenkins.

Originally Published: May 31, 2005
Scouts Inc.
It was a busy offseason in the NFC South, with all four teams undergoing big changes. While the Falcons and Bucs are counting on more firepower offensively, the Panthers and Saints will be looking for their defenses to blaze the trail. Our scouts identify the players who could help shape the division in 2005.

Michael Jenkins, WR, Falcons
The Falcons resisted the urge to upgrade their wide receiver position via free agency and the draft. Instead, the front office chose to deal with the situation internally by trusting its past evaluations. That leaves Michael Jenkins, the second of two first-round draft picks in 2004, as the offense's biggest X factor heading into 2005.

Jenkins notched just seven receptions as a rookie last season. He had some trouble staying healthy early on and the Falcons' coaching staff also wanted him to earn his stripes as a youngster on special teams. Fully healthy, with a complete year of mental and physical development under his belt, Jenkins is primed for a breakout sophomore campaign.

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