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Around the NFC North: 2018 NFL Draft Edition

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Around the NFC North: 2018 NFL Draft Edition

With the 2018 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, teams around the league now begin turning their attention to how their respective rosters will turn out as the offseason progresses. As it relates to the Packers’ division rivals, the NFC North will feature two first-year head coaches in 2018, with Matt Nagy in Chicago and Matt Patricia in Detroit. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Vikings will attempt to rebound from their blowout loss to the Eagles in the NFC title game. What did each team add in the draft? Let’s take a look.

Chicago Bears

1 (8) – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

2 (39) – James Daniels, C, Iowa

2 (51) – Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis

4 (115) – Joel Iyiegbuniwe, LB, Western Kentucky

5 (145) – Bilal Nichols, DT, Delaware

6 (181) – Kylie Fitts, DE, Utah

7 (224) – Javon Wims, WR, Georgia

The biggest question facing Chicago this season is whether or not second-year quarterback and former second-overall pick Mitch Trubisky can take a big enough step to turn the ship around. Nagy will no doubt aid in Trubisky’s development, but the expectations facing the young signal caller will be lofty. The Bears had a top-10 defense in 2017, including the seventh-ranked pass defense in the league, and their only improved that side of the ball.

Best pick: Roquan Smith. He’ll make an instant impact in the middle of a defense that wasn’t too bad to begin with. Smith has drawn praise as “the next Brian Urlacher.” Those are big shoes to fill, but Smith has the tools to anchor the Chicago defense for years to come.

Potential sleeper: Kylie Fitts. He’s dealt with a multitude of injuries, so it’s no guarantee that he can stay healthy. If he can, however, he’s an athletic and determined defender who could help make a difference in the pass rush. For what it’s worth, I don’t think a second-rounder really qualifies as a sleeper, otherwise Anthony Miller would get the title. A popular name among Packers mockers leading up to the draft, the twitchy receiver should find the field pretty quickly in Chicago.

Detroit Lions

1 (20) – Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

2 (43) – Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn

3 (82) – Tracy Walker, S, Louisiana-Lafayette

4 (114) – Da’Shawn Hand, DE, Alabama

5 (153) – Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon

7 (237) – Nick Bawden, RB, Sand Diego State

Detroit took five offensive players out of six selections despite having the only defense in the NFC North worse than the Packers in 2017. Rookie head coach Matt Patricia must feel confident that the unit will rise under his tutelage, given his fairly sturdy track record as the defensive coordinator in New England. The one defensive selection the Lions made did address a need, however, and their additions to the offensive line could pay big dividends.

Best pick: Frank Ragnow. He should slot into the center spot immediately, and the Lions will expect him to be effective in both the run and pass games. His size and stature was a necessary addition to the interior of the offensive line, especially when you consider the defensive fronts of teams like the Vikings and Packers.

Potential sleeper: Da’Shawn Hand. His college stats won’t exactly wow anyone, and he has some development in front of him if he wants to become a pass rusher, but he should be able to function as a classic run-stopper for now. He’s the type of player that will eat up blocks and cause disruptions in run schemes, which means he’ll likely be a situational player until he develops a more dynamic game.

Minnesota Vikings

1 (30) – Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida

2 (62) – Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh

4 (102) – Jalyn Holmes, DE, Ohio State

5 (157) – Tyler Conklin, TE, Central Michigan

5 (167) – Daniel Carlson, K, Auburn

6 (213) – Colby Gossett, G, Appalachian State

6 (218) – Ade Aruna, DE, Tulane

7 (225) – Devante Downs, LB, California

The Vikings’ biggest need coming into the draft was on the offensive line, and it seemed the 30th overall pick would be a perfect spot for them to address that need. Instead, they opted for a corner. Granted, Mike Hughes looks to be a worthy addition to the secondary, but Minnesota was fortunate that they were still able to grab a decent offensive lineman at pick 62.

Best pick: Brian O’Neill. He’s a massive body who will slot in at right tackle to help protect Minnesota’s new $84 million investment, Kirk Cousins. While he clearly wasn’t the first offensive line option on the Vikings’ board, they got a very nice value at 62nd overall, especially when you consider what they passed on with their first selection and the number of offensive lineman that went before their pick in the second round.

Potential sleeper: Ade Aruna. This one is a true sleeper. Aruna isn’t likely to crack the Vikings’ vicious pass rushing unit as an impact player, and his first year of football was his senior year of high school. But his athleticism and relative rawness make him exactly the type of project a coach like Mike Zimmer will welcome with open arms.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (11) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Handsback's picture

I liked the Vikings, and Bears draft. The Lions didn't have a lot of picks and didn't seem to make the most of what they had. BTW...Walker isn't an WR, but a FS that may be moved to CB. I'm not a big fan of Brian O'Neill at least after his performance in the Senior Bowl. He reminds me a lot of Springs from Green Bay.

Chris Wanless's picture

Thanks for pointing out my error! Agreed on Detroit, with only six selections they'd better hope there's a home run in there.

Bearmeat's picture

I hated the Vikings draft. And the Lions. I did like the Bears.

dobber's picture

The Vikings have gone minimalist on offense in recent years in the draft, and seem to have decided that they're just going to sign what they need.

Bearmeat's picture

Good. That will catch up with them sooner rather than later. And they're finally seeing what picking at the bottom of each round does to your draft board.

Can't wait for them to choke again this year.

Nick Perry's picture

I just HATE the Vikings so I guess I'm right there with you and hate their draft too. I hope that O-Linemen they took is the next Spriggs!!!

Colin_C's picture

Bears first three picks were all very solid in my book. Rest of the division's picks seemed kinda meh to me (like I really care), but at this stage who knows. Kerryon Johnson seems pretty good, but he doesn't scare me the way Dalvin Cook does.

EdsLaces's picture

Freakin Roquan still salty...

Community Guy's picture

i think the Bears could have a 7th round sleeper in Javon Wims, the WR from Georgia. he is a high character guy who may make the 53 or the practice squad. i thought he started to show some next level upside in his senior year. i would predict Wims to make the Bears 53 if it weren't for all of the free agent receivers the Bears brought in during the offseason.

John Kirk's picture

Vikes went BPA with Hughes. I thought he might be our guy and I wouldn't have hated it.

If Hughes lives up to his billing he and Rhodes are going to be quite the formidable pair and Smith is back at S with their front 7? Will be interesting to see Hughes vs. Alexander and even Jackson as the year goes on. It's going to be killer if Hughes is a stud and Alexander and Jackson aren't. Hard not to think this team should win the division.

Bears got Charley Casserly's boldly proclaimed D. Rookie of the Year...said "write that down" for Roquan Smith. I'm not that high on him. Gut feel tells me he'll not be anywhere near the player expected.

Chicago's OL will be tough and their D was already pretty good minus Smith . Trubisky has Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel, and Kevin White who is likely a bust but he's been nothing but hurt. Throw in Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, Adam Shaheen at TE and Matt Nagy at HC and some of their excellent position coaches and coordinators. If Trubisky is a player, they're a very scary team. Rivalry looks to be tighter than it has been since the SB winning year for us.

Lions... Matt Patricia coordinated a lowly ranked Patriots D. That guy got the job off Belichick's rep not what he did. I see him as a total disaster even worse than Caldwell and that's hard to do. Their draft is pretty sizzle free. Ours looks a lot better than theirs.

Arthur Jackson's picture

I thought the Bears did pretty well. Smith could live up to the hype or not, but he is a top ten talent so you pick him. I really liked that receiver and the center could start right away and be good. That 4th round LB I believe is way to slow for being so small. But I liked Nichols and Fitts for the Packers going into the draft.

The Lions just didn't have the picks and then reached when they did it feels like. The Vikings did really well at the top. I liked Hughes about as much as Alexander. The tackle was a good pick for that spot.

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