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NFC North Draft Grades: Minnesota's First Round, Detroit Hits Late, and Green Bay Grabs RBs

by Photo of Quentin Haynes

Draft Grades For The Lions, Bears, Vikings, And Packers.

NFC North Draft Grades: Minnesota's First Round, Detroit Hits Late, and Green Bay Grabs RBs

I'm biased. As a Green Bay Packers fan, I wanted them to have a great draft, while the other teams just struggled. The result? Green Bay had a great draft, but every other team in this division had a great draft as well. The Vikings made sure their draft was top heavy with three first round picks. The Lions made sure to go and add more depth at positions they didn't upgrade on the offensive end, and the Bears continued to solidify their offensive line. Let's look at the picks and the grades each team received.

Detroit Lions- Grade: B+

1. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

2. Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi St.

3. Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky

4. Devin Taylor, DE, South Carolina

5. Sam Martin, P, Appalachian St.

6. Corey Fuller, WR, Virginia Tech

6. Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame

7. Michael Williams, TE, Alabama

7. Brandon Hepburn, ILB, Florida A&M

Let me ignore the fact Ziggy Ansah was wearing 3D glasses without lenses in them at the draft. Ansah is a nice prospect, but I don’t know if the was the fifth best prospect in the draft. However, the Lions needed help at defensive end after losing three, including Cliff Avril, in free agency. Getting Ansah and South Carolina’s Devin Taylor in round four should help them in that area. I love the two picks Detroit made in Darius Slay and Larry Watford. Slay seems like an instant starter for a Lions team hungry to fix their secondary. Watford? Detroit now has a strong blocker to help open holes for their backfield. Overall, a good draft for a team that needed it. Still a bit confused who plays tackle for them come the regular season, though.  

Chicago Bears- Grade: C

1. Kyle Long, OT, Oregon

2. Jon Bostic, ILB, Florida

4. Khaseem Greene, OLB, Rutgers

5. Jordan Mills, OT, Louisiana Tech

6. Cornelius Washington, OLB, Georgia

7. Marquess Wilson, WR, Washington St.

The first round selection of Kyle Long was interesting for a number of reasons. One, you paid big bucks on offensive tackle talent this offseason. Two, I didn’t think Long was the best at his position on the board. It seems like a pick that will help, but we’ll watch five guys at his position be better. Other than that pick, I think the Bears did well at addressing the linebacker position. Jon Bostic in round two replaces Urlacher, and Khaseem Greene could eventually replace Lance Briggs. Watch out for Cornelius Washington and Marquess Wilson. Washington was raw at Georgia, and Wilson got kicked off the team at Washington State, but both could surprise.  

Minnesota Vikings- Grade: A

1.23 Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida

1.25 Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida St.

1.29 Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

4.23 Gerald Hodges, OLB, Penn St.

5.22 Jeff Locke, P, UCLA

6.28 Jeff Baca, OG, UCLA

7.07 Michael Mauti, ILB, Penn St.

7.08 Travis Bond, OG, North Carolina

7.23 Everett Dawkins, DT, Florida St.

Minnesota couldn’t have done a better job. With three first round picks, the Vikings found themselves replacing talent with talent. Sharrif Floyd should be a nice starter in their 4-3 defense. Xavier Rhodes replaces Antoine Winfield as the team’s number one corner. Cordarrelle Patterson is still a work-in-progress, but could replace Percy Harvin’s production on kick and punts returns. The later rounds don’t affect this draft grade, but Everett Dawkins in round seven? Michael Mauti in the seventh round? Love it. Both seem like solid reserve players who could give Minnesota depth at two lackluster positions.

Green Bay Packers- Grade: A

1. Datone Jones, DE, UCLA

2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

4. David Bakhtiari, OT, Colorado

4. J.C. Tretter, OG, Cornell

4. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA

5. Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa

5. Josh Boyd, DT, Mississippi St.

6. Nate Palmer, LB, Illinois St.

7. Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley St.

7. Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland

7. Sam Barrington, LB, South Florida

I’m not trying to be a fanboy, but the Packers did a great job in this draft. Datone Jones fits everything the Packers are trying to do with their 3-4/4-3-hybrid defense. Here’s where I fell in love: The Packers are attempting to do work in the running game. Eddie Lacy in round two was solid value, but Jonathan Franklin in round four? I’m in love. Not only are both good runners, but it gives Green Bay some legitimacy in their play actions. Along with those two picks, the Packers added two offensive linemen, David Bakhtari and J.C. Trettor, to rotate into Green Bay’s offensive line group. Even with the lack of a safety/Tramon Williams’s replacement, the Packers added another dimension to their offense, and added a couple pieces to an already young defense.

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