It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... the NFL Draft has come and gone, leaving some in the NFC North more optimistic about the upcoming season, and others in various stages of fear and loathing for the season to come.
The Short Version...
Of how the NFC North did in this year’s draft is that the Packers and Vikings did well, the Lions did not, and the Bears.... took over management of the factory of sadness from the Cleveland Browns. Yes, it really was that bad.
The Long Version
I actually feel kinda bad for Bears fans. It was gonna be an uphill slog to begin with, what with Glennon at QB and defense still with holes to fill, but now the strife between Bears GM Ryan Pace and HC John Fox looks to be worse after Pace didn’t let Fox in on the Trubisky thing until around 5pm Thursday... that’s not good. Now there must be some kinda watch for how long Pace and Fox remain employed... while Trubisky may start to wonder who’s gonna train him in over the next year or so.
Then of course there were the picks. Pace way over-paid rookie GM John Lynch for moving up one to take Trubisky (Lynch pulled a Spielman and told him he had offers on the table...) and Pace bit big time, surrendering two 3rds and a 4th (over 100 points more than the trade value was worth) to move up one when Trubisky would have been there at #3...not that drafting a project QB at #3 is a good move to begin with, let alone over-paying to move up to do it.
And so the Bears got screwed. But Pace wasn’t done. He traded down with his second pick to try to get back some of what he lost the night before- and got screwed again. Once again he got notably less than trade value to move down from #36 to #45.
And who did he pick at #45? Adam Shaheen, TE from a D2 school called Ashland. PFF had him ranked #151 on their board. By contrast, Bucky Hodges, the TE the Vikings picked up in the 6th round, was ranked #88 overall by PFF.
Yep, and while the Bears did draft a guy from Alabama, the list of colleges of their draft picks looks like at UFA list... Ashland, North Carolina A&T, and Kutztown. They drafted a RB that’s 5’6” 178lbs.. Well, maybe it was just as well they only had five picks after all.
The Lions started off their draft by passing on LB Reuben Foster and his injury issues, in favor of Jarrad Davis, who had a #38 ranking by PFF, but whom the Lions took at #21. It satisfied a need for the Lions, but perhaps wasn’t the best available pick to meet it- something that seemed to be a trend with the Lions 9 picks this year.
One that wasn’t happened in the 2nd round, where the Lions picked up Teez Tabor, ranked #40 overall by PFF, and picked up by Detroit at #53. Aggressive CB comparable to Aqib Talib, he should pair up well with Darius Slay on the other side.
But then the Lions went with WR Kenny Golladay from N Illinois at #96, despite being ranked #201 overall by PFF, and 31st among WRs. Then at #124 picked another LB ranked #207 by PFF, then TE Michael Roberts at #127, despite being ranked #173 by PFF... then #188 overall ranked CB Jamal Agnew, whom they picked at #165 - not too bad by comparison... then finished up by drafting a couple late-round DE projects and a QB.
Overall, with the exception of Tabor, it looks like Detroit took a stab at addressing the weak spots in their roster, but the picks don’t look to be particularly compelling, leading many to give them rather underwhelming C grades overall.
Ted Thompson could draft a sack of dog chow each pick and most commentators will still hail what a great draft he had, so you knew before the draft began that the Packers would get a good grade. But this year the good grades were largely deserved, especially the first three picks.
The Packers got blown out of the water by Atlanta in the NFC Championship because their defensive secondary was decimated, so they focused their first two picks on addressing that need. Thompson moved back out of the first round to pick up a 4th round pick, but used their first pick on Day 2 to select Kevin King, a 6’3” 200lbs CB with a 40” vertical and 4.43” 40. PFF had him #51 on their board, but the Packers took him #33. Still, a solid pick at a position of need.
The Packers followed that up by taking S Josh Jones at the end of the 2nd round. I like him as a mid-round pick, but Thompson took him pretty high at #61 overall. PFF had him #174 overall, whereas Drafttek had him at #70. But there was a run on DBs in the 2nd round- starting and ending with Green Bay - that included 11 of the 32 picks.
The Packers and Vikings went in similar directions beginning late in the 3rd round, when the Packers drafted DT Montravious Adams and just a few picks later the Vikings picked DT Jaleel Johnson. Adams is a 3-4 scheme fit, while Johnson is a 4-3.
The Packers went on to over-draft an old-school, B1G LB in Vince Beigal from Wisconsin, while the Vikings did the same thing several picks later (although not as bad), drafting Ben Gedeon from Michigan.
The rest of the draft for the Packers was spent almost entirely on collecting late-round RBs and WRs. 3 of the former and 2 of the latter. RBs included a James Starks comparison, a scat back and a banger. WRs included a go-route guy and a project.
Overall the Packers had a similar draft as the Vikings, likely getting 3 quality starters and some depth at other positions.
I did a full evaluation of the Vikings draft, so I won’t repeat it here, but I would give the Vikings a better grade overall than the Packers for a couple reasons, although they had similar drafts. The first reason is that the Vikings didn’t have a first-round pick, and the Packers did. The second reason is I think the Vikings did slightly better than the Packers in the late rounds, particularly Bucky Hodges, but one or two others as well. We’ll see.
I don’t see that the Vikings lost ground to any team in the division, although the Packers did the best job of the Vikings’ NFC North rivals in filling their holes during this draft. The Bears look to have lost ground, and the Lions... are holding their own, but didn’t necessarily improve much either.
Which team had the best draft?
This poll is closed