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NFC SOUTH

Panthers

With the No. 14 pick the Panthers selected Star Lotuleilei, a defensive tackle from Utah. At 6 feet 3 and 311 pounds, Lotuleilei doesn't bring a lot of heat on the quarterback, but he can occupy offensive linemen and free up linebackers to make plays. Running up the middle just got a little tougher for Doug Martin.

New Orleans

With the No. 15 pick the Saints selected safety Kenny Vaccaro (6-0, 214) from Texas. With a potent offense, it was no secret the Saints wanted to improve their defense in the draft,

making little noise on that side of the ball in free agency. And pass defense was a priority in a division that serves up quarterbacks Cam Newton, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman.

Falcons

They traded with the Rams and jumped up to the No. 22 pick and selected Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant (6-0, 190). Cornerback was considered Atlanta's biggest need position and Trufant should fill it nicely. Another important slot considering the passing talents in the NFC South.

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Moving up

Nobody made a bigger late charge up the charts than West Virginia receiverTavon Austin. The Rams gave up three picks to jump into the top 10 - and just ahead of the Jets, who had the next pick and were believed to be very interested in Austin as well. At 5 feet 9, 174 pounds, Austin is small but very fast and hard to tackle. He is considered the top playmaker in this year's draft.

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Biggest slides

Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida: Nearly every mock draft had Floyd as the No. 3 pick to Oakland. But the Raiders traded the pick to Miami (which went with a linebacker), and Floyd tumbled to the Vikings at No. 23.

Matt Barkley, QB, USC: It wasn't so much that Barkley slid in this year's draft. It's that he was projected as the No. 2 quarterback in last year's draft (behind Robert Griffin III) but opted to return for his senior season and fell out of the first round.

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Left out of the party

Among the notable names not called on Thursday night: West Virginia's Geno Smith (above), considered by many analysts the top quarterback in the draft; USC quarterback Matt Barkley; Alabama running back Eddie Lacy and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, who many believed would be taken by Chicago or Minnesota.

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Trading post

Thursday's deals:

NO. 3 PICK

Oakland traded its No. 3 pick for Miami's first- (No. 12) and second-round (No. 42)picks. Miami selected Oregon defensive end/linebacker Dion Jordan.

NO. 8 PICK

Buffalo traded first- (No. 8) and third-round (No. 71) picks for St. Louis' picks in first (No. 16), second (No. 46), third (No. 78) and seventh (No. 222) rounds. The Rams used the pick to select West Virginia receiverTavon Austin.

NO. 18 PICK

Dallas traded its first-round pick (No. 18) for San Francisco's first- (No. 31) and third-round (No. 74) picks. The 49ers used the pick to select LSU safety Eric Reid.

NO. 22 PICK

St. Louis traded a first-round pick (No. 22) and a seventh-round pick in 2015 for Atlanta's first- (No. 30), third- (No. 92) and seventh-round (No. 198) picks. The Falcons used the pick to select Desmond Trufant, a corner from Washington.

NO. 29 PICK

New England traded its first pick (No. 29) for Minnesota's second- (No. 52), third- (No. 83), fourth- (No. 102) and seventh-round (No. 229) picks. The Vikings used the pick to take Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

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Quick hits

- It was the first time four offensive linemen were taken among the first seven picks.

- T Justin Pugh (No. 19, Giants) was the first Syracuse offensive player taken in the first round since Donovan McNabb in 1999.

- It's the first time that D.J.'s (Fluker, No. 11, Chargers; Hayden, No. 12, Raiders) have been taken with consecutive picks.

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