The past two weeks, we have spent a lot of time analyzing what the Lions did in the Draft, where we see the new players fitting in, and how they will help the team in 2017 and beyond.
Now it is time to take a look around us to see what the rest of the NFC North did.
Only two of the four teams from the North, the Lions and Bears, made a selection in the first round of the NFL Draft. The Packers traded out of their 29 spot when the Browns hopped up to get David Njoku, and the Vikings traded their pick away last August to get Sammy ‘Sleeves’ Bradford. Even though the Bears had the 2nd pick, they did not land a top draft talent when they opted for project QB Mitch Trubisky.
The Bears made the biggest splash in the draft when they bid against themselves to hop up one spot to grab Quarterback Mitch Trubisky from North Carolina. This pick has drawn a lot of criticism from everyone in the league, as it probably should. However, none of this matters anymore. The Bears on paper had a pretty terrible draft, but if Mitch Trubisky is good, then the rest of the picks hopefully can add to the team.
If Trubisky is bad, the rest of the picks still may turn out to be good players, but it likely will not translate to wins for the Bears. I like Eddie Jackson from Alabama but there are injury concerns, and Tarik Cohen is a twitchy athlete but the Bears better have a good plan for using him.
Overall, the secondary remains a big question mark going into the season despite an all-time great DB draft class. The Adam Shaheen bandwagon was rolling going into the draft, but it takes more than height/weight/speed to be a productive NFL player. Lots of careers in Chicago depend on the ability of Mitchell Trubisky. Try not to blow it kid.
Green Bay Packers:
Unlike the Monsters of the Midway, the Packers recognized their biggest hole and addressed it immediately with their first two selections in the draft. The cheeseheads got two of the best secondary athletes from the college ranks in corner Kevin King from Washington and safety Josh Jones from NC State. Back-end players tend to have a bit of an adjustment period in their first season, but if Jones and King become what scouts project them to be, the Packers could quickly turn what was their biggest weakness in 2016 to a strength in 2017. The Pack drafted three running backs which is a bit curious, but with Lacy and Starks out along with the versatility of Ty Montgomery, it’s possible all three will make the team come September.
Overall, the Packers went defensive heavy which is a luxury they have when their QB can make up for a lot of holes on offense. They could’ve used another weapon on ‘O’, but there should be no reason the Packers aren’t a Super Bowl contender next season.
The time of reprieve for Lions fans when Adrian Peterson left the division was short lived when the Vikings picked up Dalvin Cook with the 46th pick in the draft. Despite trading away their first-round pick, the Vikings still made a whopping 11 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Vikings also added center Pat Eiflein in the 3rd to continue their o-line rebuild. Jaleel Johnson was also a nice addition for the d-line as a Sharrif Floyd lite.
Overall, the Vikings are in good position to bounce back in 2017. After being the darling of the NFL offseason last year, it may be good for them to fly under the radar this season. They will continue to hold out hope that Teddy Bridgewater can be back in 2018.
None of the NFC North teams had stellar drafts, but I think all except the Bears got better. With Trubisky, we will wait and see to whether he was the right pick or not. With free agency and the draft over, there will likely be no major roster additions until next off-season. Who you got now is who you got week one, it’s time to get to work.