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Around the NFC North: 2016 NFL Draft Edition

A look inside the 2016 draft classes of the Packers' division oppenents.

The 2016 NFL Draft has come to a close, and with it a new season begins.  The Packers made the playoffs last year, but the Vikings overthrew their reign as NFC North Champions in Mike Zimmer's second year as head coach.  The Lion's started off the 2015 season 1-7 only to respond with a 5-2 record over the final 8 weeks, and the Bears showed improvement in John Fox's first season as head coach.  Let's take a look at how the draft classes of our rivals balance the power in the NFC North.

Minnesota Vikings

1 (23) — Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
2 (54) — Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson
4 (121) — Willie Beavers, G, Western Michigan
5 (160) — Kentrell Brothers, ILB, Missouri
6 (180) — Moritz Boehringer, WR, GFL
6 (188) — David Morgan, WR, Texas-San Antonio
7 (227) — Stephen Weatherly, OLB, Vanderbilt
7 (244) — Jayron Kearse, S, Clemson

Are the Vikings set to hold the North?
The key to defending their title as NFC North champions continues to rely on Adrian Peterson.  The Vikings' draft reflects the organization's commitment to Teddy Bridgewater as Rick Spielman selected 3 wide receivers to aid in the quarterback's development.  Laquon Treadwell was many analysts' top wideout, while Boehringer is an interesting storyline being the first German Football League player drafted in the NFL. 

The Vikings also found great value in the young defensive players they selected. Throughout the pre-draft process, Mackensie Alexander, Kentrell Brothers, and Jayron Kearse were all viewed in the top-5 of their respected positions.  The Vikings have at least two impact starters from their rookie class in Treadwell and Alexander, and many players to groom for their already young, impressive defense.

Best pick:
Treadwell.  Whereas I believe Mackensie Alexander to be one of the best corners in this class, Mike Zimmer can be stubborn about starting rookies in the secondary.  Thus, I believe Treadwell is the safest pick to be an immediate threat in his first year.  Bridgewater misses the days of throwing jump balls to Devante Parker at Louisville.  Treadwell has an impressive ability to highpoint the ball in traffic.  His speed won't dazzle and he has had problems with drops in the past, but he provides a large catch radius and redzone target for Bridgewater. 

Possible late-round sleeper
Jayron Kearse is intriguing to me both because of his measurables (6'4'', 4.48 40yd) and because Harrison Smith hasn't had a consistent partner at the strong safety position.  Kearse played for one of the best defenses in college football last season, and I had him ranked much higher than the 7th round.  He needs to be more consistent in coverage and Zimmer will have to motive him, but Kearse has the height, weight, speed combinations that could lead to a larger role early in his career. 

 

Detroit Lions

1 (16) — Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
2 (46) — A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
3 (72) — Graham Glasbow, C, Michigan
4 (111) — Miles Killebrew, S, Southern Utah
5 (151) — Joe Dahl, OT, Washington State
5 (169) — Antwione Williams, OLB, Georgia Southern
6 (191) — Jake Rudock, QB, Michigan
6 (202) — Anthony Zettel, DE, Penn State
6 (202) — Jimmy Landes, LS, Baylor
7 (236) — Dwayne Washington, RB, Washington

Which Lions Team Will Suit Up This Year?
New Lion's general manager Bob Quinn wanted to upgrade the trenches in his first draft.  He may have netted Week 1 starters with each of his first three picks.  Taylor Decker will most likely play on the right side and Glasbow will compete with Travis Swanson at center.  A'Shawn Robinson and Haloti Ngata will be huge forces on the interior of Detroit's line. 

The offensive line was a major issue for Detroit last season, but Quinn did little to address the sudden retirement of Calvin Johnson.  Even more pressure resides on Marvin Jones to live up to his huge contract.  The running game was inconsistent, at best, last year, so the Lion's better hope these linemen develop quickly and prove to be more important than the men catching the passes.  

Best pick
Robinson may prove to be one of the best picks in the entire draft.  He is a big, strong man with decent short-area quickness, but he lacks refinement.  Almost impossible to move, Robinson should at least provide stout run-stopping ability in year one. 

Possible late-round sleeper
Miles Killebrew has good size at 6'2'' and 217 lbs and is a physical in-the-box safety that could compete for a starting job in year one.  He looks to fill the hybrid linebacker-safety role that so many teams covet today.  He's not exceptionally fast but he hits hard and is strong for a defensive back. 

 

Chicago Bears

1 (9) — Leonard Floyd, OLB, Geogia
2 (56) — Cody Whitehair, G, Kansas State
3 (72) — Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
4 (113) — Nick Kwiatkoski, ILB, West Virginia
4 (124) — Deon Bush, S, Miami
4 (127) — Deiondre' Hall, CB, Northern Iowa
5 (150) — Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana
6 (185) — DeAndre Houston-Carson, S, William & Mary
7 (230) — Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan

Have the Bears Bridged the Gap?
Jay Cutler had a surprisingly strong year in Adam Gase's offense.  Well, Adam Gase is conducting background checks in Miami, so the Bears focused mainly on Vic Fangio's unit.  Leonard Floyd was one of the most polarizing players in the draft, never shocasing consistent ability as a sack artist but born with incredible length and explosion.  Jonathan Bullard could prove to be a disruptive 3-techniquqe in the Bears defense. 

On offense, Cody Whitehair instantly upgrades the entire offensive line, showcasing the versatility to play across the line.  Jordan Howard could be a steal and instantly competes with Jeremy Langford for carries. The Bears will also be showcasing last year's 1st round pick Kevin White on offense. The Bears are building this team in John Fox's image: a tough, pressure defense with a strong ground game.  Their offense should be tougher and their defense will be faster in 2015. 

Best pick
The Bears traded up to grab Floyd, knowing he was a boom or bust pick.  For now, I'll take boom.  I think Fangio is the perfect coordinator to utilize Floyd's athletic ability off the edge.  Playing opposite Pernell McPhee, Floyd shouldn't garner many double teams. Floyd and McPhee, along with free agent signees Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman, give Fangio a linebacking core that rivals any in the league. 

Possible late-round sleeper
Jordan Howard in the 5th round was an absolute steal.  I expect him to have an immediate impact in the running back rotation.  He trudges through defenders like a bowling ball and is a true north-south runner.  He reminds me of C. J. Anderson or Michael Turner. 

 

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Comments (47)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
ray nichkee's picture

May 04, 2016 at 12:45 pm

There is no way the pack goes 3-3 in the division this year. It's time to take back the title.

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4thand1's picture

May 04, 2016 at 03:57 pm

You're trying to hard.

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al bundy's picture

May 04, 2016 at 03:58 pm

the quality of play we got our of some of these guys last year, I see some staters here for sure. Davante Adams is a prime example of someone who should be on the bubble. However, the tendency is to play high level draft picks so Ted doesnt look to stupid.

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Lphill's picture

May 04, 2016 at 01:29 pm

Vikings have an aging running back and a QB who can't read the defense or throw downfield, good defense but it ends there.

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WKUPackFan's picture

May 04, 2016 at 02:16 pm

Unfortunately for the Packers Teddy is actually quite excellent with reading defenses. His intelligence and film room work ethic in college was well known. There's nothing wrong with his arm either. His deep balls are not as pretty as most NFL QBs, but his accuracy was amazing at U of L.

As long as AP and his mouth are around, the Vikings offense will be poor. Also, their OLine is substandard, and their only trench pick is suspect. While this appears to be one of Speileman's (sp?) better drafts, not taking more Olinemen was not a good move.

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4thand1's picture

May 04, 2016 at 03:56 pm

I thought the knock on TB was he didn't throw a good deep ball.

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Bearmeat's picture

May 04, 2016 at 04:11 pm

His deep ball was...average. It was the mid level throws that were really really bad last year. Actually for almost all of his entire NFL career. Unfortunately for them, that is the area of the field that moves a passing game consistently.

TB is in a make or break year. When I watch him, I think "That's Mark Sanchez without the butt fumble."

As AP ages, their already pathetic offense will get worse. The Vikings will regress this year.

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Nick Perry's picture

May 05, 2016 at 06:24 am

Actually the Vikings signed 2 Free Agent O-Linemen this past March, Alex Boone of the 49ers and Andre Smith. I know Smith had a down year in 2015, don't know about Boone but both are HUGE Road Graders in the running game. With that said a team like the 49ers with all the Cap Space they had make me wonder why they would let Boone walk. Smith I believe is on the downside of his career.
I also read an interesting piece on Beavers, the guy basically sucked. He was one of the worst rated LT in College Football last year. I agree WKU, should have addressed the trenchs. I'm sick of hearing what a "Steal" Alexander was too, he's on the small side and didn't have an Interceptions. Can't wait to see him on Cobb and Monty in the slot!

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Community Guy's picture

May 04, 2016 at 01:31 pm

it seems every team in the north got some upgrades. i feel the Bears have had an impressive off-season, including landing some great UDFAs. not sure how Cutler will perform this year under new management. Bears might be only one or two DBs away from being a mighty defense again.

with Stafford not fully into the game, it looks like the Lions need their QB of the future.

Treadwell would be dangerous in a more capable passing attack.. Vikings too AP centered to capitalize on Treadwell.

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dobber's picture

May 04, 2016 at 01:54 pm

Adam Gase leaving Chicago might unravel the progress Cutler made last season. They're going to miss him...

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mrtundra's picture

May 04, 2016 at 02:01 pm

Da Bears did not draft a QB. As a Packer fan, I have to like that.

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EdsLaces's picture

May 04, 2016 at 03:28 pm

You can take boom all you want with Floyd ...I'm still taking bust.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

May 04, 2016 at 04:07 pm

I'm taking boom. I don't think it will be in his 1st or 2nd year due to his lack of strength. What can't Floyd do that Jaylon or Darron Lee can? I didn't mention Jack, because he doesn't have to run around blocks to get to the runner like the other 3.

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holmesmd's picture

May 04, 2016 at 05:10 pm

Clowney is much bigger and stronger as he was coming out of college. He can't hold up. How the heck is some tall, skinny guy like Floyd going to?! He's going to be absolutely smashed by NFL OL players and no, he's not a cover guy who can play in space. He's a slight of frame one trick speed pony who I predict, is going to get clobbered on the NFL. If he can manage to not get hurt, he will have little impact. Now McPhee, Houston, Trevathan, and McClellan will be much more likely to present a challenge IMO.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

May 04, 2016 at 06:07 pm

1) Why are you comparing him to Clowney?
2) I already acknowledged that he lacks strength and that it probably won't be until his 3rd season or so until he blossoms.
3) I know he's not a cover guy. He's a pass rusher that can also cover. Watch some film.

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holmesmd's picture

May 04, 2016 at 09:22 pm

You sound salty dude? I guess we are numbering things for effect? SMH
1. If you don't know why I might compare him to Clowney, I'm not sure what to tell you. Think about it for a bit.
2. So the Bears blowing their load on this guy in the middle of r1 is a good deal if he develops in year #3? Seriously? Where was all this "patience" with Perry & Jones? Lol, I'll wait. If top half r1 guys don't contribute in their first year, most would consider that disappointing at least.
3. Your comment about "watching film" is dismissive and impolite. Do you know how much film I watch? Are you the YouTube video clip arbiter? Really? Just because you fawn over certain players and copy and paste links excessively doesn't mean that I need to watch more film. We all have access to YouTube and Draft Insider bro.;) Lol

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Flow49's picture

May 05, 2016 at 07:26 am

McClellan is a Patriot I'm pretty sure

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dobber's picture

May 05, 2016 at 08:01 am

And, somehow, they'll get value out of him (aside from breaking HOF-caliber QBs collarbones). Wait and see...

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EdsLaces's picture

May 04, 2016 at 05:36 pm

He's a string bean bro. He is that Dion or whatever his name was that was drafted outta Oregon a couple years back....WR body playing DE.

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al bundy's picture

May 04, 2016 at 03:54 pm

First, and I am not a viking fan but a Spielman Fan, again his draft rated out an A, and he stole another draft by not only getting good players but he obtained a 2nd and third round pick from Miami for 2017 besides. Thus he is loaded up for next year already.
I see the Vikings again taking the division. They have quality players at all levels, skills players and most important, speed.
The coach knows the team well and Teddy will really mature this year. He is no dope.
The Bears needed defense and they got it but weather that translates into wins this year, who knows.
The Lions are a mystery. They may be better but I can say the same for the pack, you just don't know yet.
All I know is I expect a cat fight in the NFC north this year. If the pack lose 4 or six I would not be shocked.

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WKUPackFan's picture

May 04, 2016 at 04:03 pm

We are talking about the same guy who in previous years repeatedly traded up, including for Cordell Patterson? Who has for years destroyed any chance for depth? Who signed the always great Josh Freeman?

Someone infused Spieleman with part of a brain for this draft. What's amazing is that he was still around to conduct it.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

May 04, 2016 at 04:11 pm

I wanted to agree with you @Al on some of those statements, but at some point in your comment I couldn't tell if you were just a Vikings fan and trolling or a Packers fan and legitimately concerned about an up and coming Vikings team.

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holmesmd's picture

May 04, 2016 at 05:21 pm

Lol. Really? You and COW must smoke from the same bong. It's a QB driven league and no one else in the Division has anywhere near the talent Rodgers does. You profoundly overestimate the Vikings. I'm actually more concerned about the Bears. The Lions are sort of a dumpster fire. No Megatron and no one who can play clutch when it counts. GB wins the division this year. For all the TB fans, I'm a 48 y/o physician and I can throw with more velocity and accuracy than the duck balls he delivers. I'm sorry but he has BY FAR the weakest arm in the division. Stop the run against the Vikings with our healthy offense and they are toast. Cutler at least has the biggest arm in the league and can make all of the throws. If he gets some O line help, he can be very lethal. Stafford has a big arm as well but other than Tate and Ebron, not enough weapons.

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Lphill's picture

May 04, 2016 at 04:57 pm

Amazing how many Viking supporters on here, they won the division because of the injuries the Packers could not overcome, how would Bridgewater have performed if his receivers were injured ? Does not matter what he did in college it matters what he does in the NFL , so far not much . I guess when you throw 15 times a game and hit on 10 that raises your QB rating ,let's see him throw 35 plus passes a game when AP 's legs give up which will be soon.

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barutanseijin's picture

May 04, 2016 at 07:29 pm

The Vikes won the division because they beat the Packers at home in week 17. Rodgers had better stats than Bridgewater but at the end of the game the Vikes had 20 points and Rodgers' Packers had 13.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 04, 2016 at 08:32 pm

It might be that GB´s injured WRs were better than MN´s healthy ones. I do not think Bridgewater has had much in the way of targets. I am not a fan of treadwell at all, but he is a nice complement to what Bridgewater does well. No point in giving Bridgewater a bunch of Mike Wallaces.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

May 04, 2016 at 06:06 pm

I'm not a homer, so I guess that makes me a Vikings supporter.

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holmesmd's picture

May 04, 2016 at 09:37 pm

No, you just not might make sense to some people? It happens on occasion. Chill, it's all good.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

May 04, 2016 at 09:48 pm

Are you speaking for others or are you that somebody that's confused on what I said about the Vikings? Chill.

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holmesmd's picture

May 04, 2016 at 10:05 pm

I'm observing an interaction and trying to point something out to you. I speak only for myself. You seem defensive and smug so I'll just not say anything. Carry on....

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DrealynWilliams's picture

May 04, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Thank you

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lucky953's picture

May 04, 2016 at 09:12 pm

Clark has never had surgery. I don't think he missed a game in three years. If Clark is the center anchor of our 3-4 for the next four years, it will be nigh impossible to look back and think "Robinson". Floyd "should" be the more impactful player, but we all know the serious limitations of "should". Can Fackrell play with his hair on fire? I'd be happy with that. For me, Spriggs is a prayer answered. He's going to be one helluva LT. WAY TO GO TED!
And I can't believe we're talking about Rodgers and Bridgewater in the same sentence. Our offense sucked last year for well-discussed reasons. It won't suck this year.

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Tundraboy's picture

May 04, 2016 at 10:20 pm

I'm with Lucky.

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4thand1's picture

May 05, 2016 at 06:37 pm

Top 5 , maybe 1

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holmesmd's picture

May 04, 2016 at 10:09 pm

Fackrell and Floyd may have similar size but Fackrell is a much more physical player! He can also run and cover, unlike Floyd who will probably struggle. I want to see Floyd get mauled on his way around an OT, only to be met with a 240-250 FB or TE on a chippy!. Lol. The man is going to fold like a chair. Lol

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Clay Zombo's picture

May 05, 2016 at 12:29 am

I say good, iron sharpens iron. Part of the reason GB gets to the playoffs so often and then loses right away has something to do with playing inferior competition in their own division. Mike McCarthy is no Belichick, he doesnt have the coaching chops to outsmart or outcoach teams that are his equal or better consistantly.

So an improved division might make getting to the playoffs more difficult but they should be more prepared to face playoff teams when they get there.

As for the Vikings, well GB played them and whooped em good the first time they met and only lost by 7 in the finale in arguably Rodgers worst season since his first as a starter. They are a good ascending team with a legit defense, if they improve on offense in Teddys 3rd year they will be tough to beat. GB has the horses to do it though but the gap is closing if it hasnt closed completely already.

Lions and Bears...meh. We'll see.

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ray nichkee's picture

May 05, 2016 at 06:22 am

Belicheat at his HOF induction:

Walks up to podium.
Says "thank you tom brady!"
Walks away with a gold hoodie.

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holmesmd's picture

May 05, 2016 at 03:26 pm

BB was effusive in his praise of MM & the Packers after the Patriots defeat in 2014. I have rarely if ever seen him do this. Don't sleep on the respect the league has for this coaching staff. It's one of the best, no question.

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Lphill's picture

May 05, 2016 at 06:07 am

You would think this is a Vikings site not a Packers site , Vikings fans are obsessed with the Packers just read the posts on other sites , even when the post has nothing to do with the Packers they still mention them , they are so jealous of Rodgers it's scary, seems it's spilling over here.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

May 05, 2016 at 10:05 am

Let's point out the Vikings fans.

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Evan's picture

May 05, 2016 at 07:44 am

Things sure are pissy in this thread...

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RCPackerFan's picture

May 05, 2016 at 08:05 am

yup.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

May 05, 2016 at 09:25 am

I'll take it.

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4thand1's picture

May 05, 2016 at 06:41 pm

its usually shitty

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Lphill's picture

May 05, 2016 at 11:42 am

No need to point fingers at Vikings fans I understand their frustration , but it's gonna continue for a long time to come , Bridgewater is not leading them to the promise land you can bet on that.

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abad467's picture

May 05, 2016 at 10:40 pm

Bears got a raw pass rusher in Floyd in the first. Wish da pack would have taken Kwiatkoski instead of the bears. Trading up to take Spriggs was genius by TT. Vikes got another good CB in Alexander, but I still think da pack have a better roster than the Queens.

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