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Around the NFC North: 2017 NFL Draft Edition

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Around the NFC North: 2017 NFL Draft Edition

Sure, we're mostly content with the Packers' draft. It's hard not to be, right? Ted Thompson took a completely different approach to free agency that we're not exactly used to seeing as fans, he addressed every positional need on the roster and the Packers are rolling over a good portion of cap into 2018 - and it's barely May.

But what about all the other guys? What about those Lions who just can't seem to catch a break? What about those Bears who haven't just flirted with mediocrity - they've slept with and had three kids with it. And the Vikings? Sure, their loud, obnoxious horn and "SKOL VIKINGS!" chant sounds like someone on the toilet, but they may be one of the biggest challengers to Green Bay's NFC North crown. A crown they've won five of the last six years. How were those three teams' drafts? I'll dive in (yes, me, the furthest thing from a draft expert) and grade each one, just because I'm nice.

 

Minnesota Vikings

2 (41) — Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
3 (70) — Pat Elfein, C, Ohio State
4 (109) — Jaleel Johnson, DT, Iowa
4 (120) — Ben Gedeon, ILB, Michigan
5 (170) — Rodney Adams, WR, South Florida
5 (180) — Danny Isidora, OG, Miami
6 (201) — Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
7 (219) — Stacy Coley, WR, Miami

*exhale*

7 (220) — Ifeadi Odenigbo, DE, Northwestern

7 (232) — Elijah Lee, OLB, Kansas State

7 (245) — Jack Tocho, CB, NC State

Can the Vikings compete again?

Of course not. They're the Vikings.

Now that I have my biased answer out of the way...

A single draft isn't going to ensure the Vikings will be competing for the top spot in the NFC North again this upcoming season. You don't know what you're going to get out of Sam Bradford, but if 2016 is any indication, then Vikings fans have a lot to look forward to. Even more so now that it was reported on Monday that the Vikings won't pick up Teddy Bridgewater's fifth-year option.

Just like a year ago, they drafted a receiver in the fifth round - but this time, it wasn't some German spectacle. It is, however, someone who Bradford can make a weapon out of. As you can tell, the Vikings loaded up on the seventh round selections, hence my heavy exhale mid-way through. Can you blame me? Anyways, they also drafted two suitors for the offensive line, which is essential. They weren't very good last year. Like, at all.

Best pick:
I don't think there's any question that Dalvin Cook was the best pick of the Vikings' draft. You lose Adrian Peterson, you gain Latavius Murray and pair a rookie sensation with Murray and Jerrick McKinnon and you have a group that may become one of the best backfields in the NFL.

Possible late-round sleeper
Bucky Hodges was a steal for the Vikings. That's a big target that can get vertical and also serve as a very efficient run-blocker. A few Packer fans were even clamoring for him on Twitter, and it's not difficult to see why. The Packers don't cover tight ends very well - at least they didn't with Micah Hyde - so expect Hodges to make some plays against them come the regular season.

FINAL GRADE: B+

 

Detroit Lions

1 (21) — Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida
2 (53) — Teez Tabor, CB, Florida
3 (96) — Kenny Golladay, WR, Northern Illinois
4 (124) — Jaleen Reeves-Maybin, OLB, Tennessee
4 (127) — Michael Roberts, TE, University of Toledo
5 (165) — Jamal Agnew, CB, San Diego
6 (205) — Jeremiah Ledbetter, DE, Arkansas
6 (215) — Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
7 (250) — Pat O'Connor, DE, Eastern Michigan

Division champs or runner-ups?
Bob Quinn is a smart guy. Unfortunately for his Detroit Lions, not smart enough to draft a completely different attitude for his team and stockpile a hoard of talent in a single draft. Aside from the Packers, however, I personally feel like the Lions had the next-best draft in the NFC North. I absolutely fawned over their first two selections, and if Tabor can be something special - which, it may take some time according to scouts who deem Tabor not NFL-ready, he and Darius Slay are going to be a duo to be reckoned with.

The Lions still lack a true No. 1 receiver since the retirement of Calvin Johnson. Maybe, just maybe, drafting the 6'4" Golladay in the third round can help take that next step to giving Marvin Jones and Golden Tate some true weaponry ahead of them on the depth chart. Of course, that'll take some time as well.

Best pick
Despite the aforementioned praise for Tabor, my favorite in the Lions' draft was Davis. The Lions have lacked a true inside linebacker for quite some time, and Davis may be the guy that can finally fill the woes at the position. Someone who can cover the middle of the field. Tahir Whitehead played in 15 games in 2016 and Josh Bynes in just eight. Davis, who played a full season at Florida just once, may or may not be the remedy to heal the battle wounds at inside linebacker. Adding Davis could help the Lions' possibly become what it once was in 2014. Or, maybe he won't. Maybe it'll take a lot more than just one player's contributions. Reminder: it will.

Possible late-round sleeper
Is it just me, or does it seem like Matthew Stafford has some sort of injury every year that lingers and impacts his play? No? Just me? Oh... Well, anyways. I'm keeping an eye on Brad Kaaya. Sure, he might not play much in his first year. Maybe not even his second year. But if Stafford goes down, I think Kaaya is going to be groomed under Stafford well enough to take the reigns. Not successfully, obviously, but there's a lot of potential in Kaaya.

FINAL GRADE: B

 

Chicago Bears

1 (2) — Mitchell Trubisky, QB, UNC
2 (45) — Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland
4 (112) — Eddie Jackson, S, Alabama
4 (119) — Tarik Cohen, RB, North Carolina A&T
5 (147) — Jordan Morgan, G, Kutztown University

What do you make out of this?
Yep. There you have it. The absolute worst draft in the NFC North and possibly the NFL. The Bears addressed their secondary with one pick and a majority of their selections were traded away to the 49ers so they can jump a spot in the early stages of round one and take Trubisky.

Trubisky, someone who may or may not be the next Bears franchise quarterback (that's foreign) pretty much had the entire kitchen sink thrown at San Francisco for him. Many believe Trubisky wasn't even the best at his position in the draft, but Ryan Pace believes otherwise. You know, the guy who was the only one that knew the Bears were going to select Trubisky. That's right, not even John Fox knew.

The Bears still have a long way to go before they're challenging the front-runner of the NFC North, whoever it may be next season. They have a long way to go before they even make the Bears-Packers rivalry a gritty one to watch. I mean, there's nothing wrong with the Packers stomping mudholes in the Bears every season, but for the die-hard, old school football fan, those clashes definitely aren't what they used to be.

Best pick
Eddie. Jackson. The Bears got a fast free safety with phenomenal ball skills and even the ability to return kicks and punts. The only downside is the fact that they may have reached for Jackson, who tore his ACL in 2014 and broke his leg last season. However, he was an intricate part of what was the best defense in the nation last year in Alabama. So there's upside with Jackson, but there's also an injury risk.

He joins a front seven that should be very good next season, as it was in 2016 as well. That's one of the few bright spots of this team.

Possible late-round sleeper
Lol.

FINAL GRADE: D

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (19) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RCPackerFan's picture

'What about those Lions who just can't seem to catch a break? What about those Bears who haven't just flirted with mediocrity - they've slept with and had three kids with it. And the Vikings? Sure, their loud, obnoxious horn and "SKOL VIKINGS!" chant sounds like someone on the toilet, but they may be one of the biggest challengers to Green Bay's NFC North crown.'

Boom!!!

Love it!!!

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"That's right, not even John Fox knew."

I almost feel sorry for him. He's the whipping boy of NFL coaches.

L's picture

Yeah, the Bucky Hodges pick was someone I was disappointed the Packers didn't target in the 5th round. I don't hate really any of our selections, but I think I'd rather have TE Bucky over RB Williams and Williams was selected in the 4th.

MITM's picture

I like Hodges but a 4th tight end over a RB we desperately needed? Come on. I am a huge fan of Williams and am confident he will win over this fanbase with his angry style of running. Its like handing the ball off to Mike Daniels in RBs body. Hows that sound

Nick Perry's picture

I think you meant Jones from UTEP Lou... The Packers drafted both Yancy and Jones in the 5th round and could have had Hodges. I was right there with you, I really liked Hodges.

BUT Hodges can't block worth a damn. Matter of fact Hodges was lined up wide or in the slot every play and was never asked to block....at all. I think that's the reason Ted passed on Hodges and the biggest reason why he was still there in the 6th. Still, he ran a 4.57 40 at 6'6" 257 pounds. For comparison Davante Adams ran a 4.56 at the combine....Hmmm, I like Adams, not a hater but Hodges WOULD have been an interesting pick.

L's picture

It's the mismatch he would have caused that intrigued me so much and he could have worked at becoming a serviceable blocker -- maybe.

I like Jamaal Williams, but I didn't think the Packers needed to use a 4th round pick to land him. Trade back and pick up an upper 5th and 6th round pick. I feel like they probably could have been able to pick up Williams later and used an extra pick to nab Hodges.

Of course this is all hindsight speaking in that it would be unknown that Williams would be available later or that Hodges would fall as far as he did; plus, who knows if all the other players they grabbed would have been available where they were or later if things got shifted around a little.

Nick Perry's picture

Yup...Hindsight is always 20/20

zoellner25's picture

Chicago Bears. WTF.....

Turophile's picture

I actually rather liked Chicago's Tarik Cohen (RB/RS), and Jordan Morgan (OG) picks, even though the 5'6.5" Cohen went a couple of rounds earlier than I expected. I would have been happy if the Packers had ended up with them - though I wouldn't have spent the 12th pick in round 4 on Cohen, more like a comp 5th pick at the earliest ................... love the way "The Human Joystick" pinballs around, though.

PS. Ryan Pace's trade up with San Fran, reminds me of how Mike Sherman drafted.

MarkinMadison's picture

Even if Turbisky pans out the Bears' draft is an F in my book. For the 15 minutes of Chicago radio I caught in my car the Chicago radio guys were losing their $&!t over the pick because they don't like Turbisky. The National guys were all like, "well if he pans out it was worth it." Complete B.S. Trade away half your draft to move up one spot for a guy you knew the 49ers didn't want? Are you kidding me? Talk about beating yourself. Ryan Pace should be fired for lack of stones.

zoellner25's picture

when can we start calling him Turdisky? now? ok.

dobber's picture

Turdbiscuit.

hodge555's picture

Not that I agree with Chicago's trade but their worry probably wasn't that the 49er's would pick Turbisky but that Cleveland (most likely, but could have been someone else) would trade in and pick him before they could at 3.

PackEyedOptimist's picture

The Viking's Pat Elflein and the Bear's Jordan Morgan were two of my Packer-hopeful-picks. :( I also really wanted Bucky Hodges. I ALWAYS really want a tall TE. I still don't understand why no NFL team as a 6'11"+ TE/kick blocker on their roster. Some day a team will do it successfully, and then ALL of the teams will do it.

holmesmd's picture

Other than Shaq, who is 6'11 and can carry football weight? The answer is...very very few. Good thought though. Lol

dobber's picture

"I ALWAYS really want a tall TE."

I would love to have a Jordan Reed. Dude's only 6'2" but he's a helluva player, has great vision, and knows how to run routes. Kendricks tests as a better athlete, and I could see him filling that kind of role.

slit's picture

The Vikings best pick was Jaleel Johnson.
The Lions best pick was Teez Tabor.
The Bears best (only good) pick was Eddie J.
The Packers best pick was Vince Biegel.

vj_ostrowski's picture

The Bears really blew it. That draft had all the markings of a franchise in utter turmoil.

The Lions were pretty middle of the road.

But the Vikings, boy, if I were more of a Dalvin Cook fan I'd say they drafted better than we did, but I'm not, so they didn't.

Spielman is really good at this. I'm glad there's always something seeming to keep that team down, because it's not their drafting, for the most part.

dobber's picture

Spielman is going to pay for the Bradford mistake, though. With it starting to look like Teddy B might not play again, at least in Minnesota, they've got a QB crater that's going to be hard to overcome.

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