NFC North Draft Needs
NFC North Biggest Draft Needs
The Lions have an early pick in this year’s draft at number 7. The team also has a number of different problems to address, the big one is obviously the defensive interior which was abysmal last season allowing other teams to rack up yardage and points against the Lions defense. This would mean taking either a defensive tackle or inside linebacker at the 7th spot. However, the Lions also have issues on the offensive side of the ball as well. The most glaringly obvious issue is at wide receiver with Kenny Golladay off to the Giants and Marvin Jones Jr. with the Jaguars, the Lions wide receiver room has lost a lot and Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Quintez Cephus, Kalif Raymond (who is that???), and Geronimo Allison are just not worthy replacements for the talent that has left Detroit in free agency. Another issue for the Lions is the quarterback position, although Jared Goff has shown plenty of competency at the position the depth behind him is lacking, although theoretically the Lions have several years to make upgrades at this position before it becomes a serious issue.
Now the fantasy football player in me is really hoping the Lions pick a talented wide receiver in the first round. The football fan in me though recognizes that will not happen, that is not how this actually works in the real world. The reality is the Lions needs on the defensive interior far outweigh the contributions a new receiver might bring and so a speedy linebacker like Micah Parsons or Zaven Collins or a fast edge rusher like Kwity Paye or Azeez Ojulari would help address their defensive needs and wait on a receiver until the third or fourth round to learn under Tyrell Williams.
The Vikings are in somewhat of a tough spot mainly because of the high price tag their current quarterback is causing but picking at 14th in the upcoming draft should help a lot. The Vikings have already addressed some of their offseason needs, such as getting Patrick Peterson to help at the cornerback position. There are some major needs that need to be filled on both the offensive line and defensive line, which both suffered last year, partially due to injury, (Danielle Hunter), trading away Yannick Ngakoue, and partially due to opt-outs by some players, like Michael Pierce, hurt the pass rushing ability. On the offensive line, the play was well below what Viking fans would have expected and helped lead to Cousins getting pressured often and sacked 39 times last season. In addition the Vikings released Riley Reiff, who was the left tackle, meaning unless the Vikings want Cousins taking blindside hits they obviously need to strengthen their offensive line and sooner rather than later. Fortunately the upcoming draft provides several promising options that the Vikings will be able to obtain and fortunately their current right guard, Ezra Cleveland, was a left tackle, so it simplifies things regardless of who the Vikings draft. Among the best options are Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, Alijah Vera-Tucker, or Christian Darrisaw who have all shown to be reliable offensive lineman in college, Slater for example had similar pro-day test results to that of 8 time Pro Bowler Trent Williams and Darrisaw being a blindside blocker at Virginia Tech.
How do I put this nicely? It’s the QUARTERBACK, stupid. The Bears have some needs on defense and the offensive line could use some improvement as well but really it’s the abysmal quarterback play that has been hurting this team for several years. The best passers in Bears history include; Sid Luckman, Jim McMahon, Erik Kramer, and Jay Cutler, that is not a list to be proud of and the current quarterbacks are no exception. Nick Foles and Andy Dalton are clearly not the future for the Bears, one is a perennial back-up and the other was ranked 23rd among qualified starting quarterbacks in Dallas while filling in for Dak in a team loaded with talent at the wide receiver position and he was even worse when throwing the ball deep, ranking 30th. He might have been the ‘Red Rifle’ back with the Bengals but currently he seems less like a rifle and more like a broken airsoft gun. The Bears definitely need to recognize this and find a team like the Giants, Eagles, or Chargers to trade up above the 20th pick to get one of the top ranked quarterbacks that theoretically should still be available. It’s hard to guess which one will be available at that point in the draft but most likely either Trey Lance or Mac Jones might be available unless they trade up even higher to try to get Zach Wilson or Trevor Lawrence but they would basically have to trade the farm to get one of them. So it’s pretty clear what the Bears biggest need is and will be regardless of anything else that happens this offseason.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers have several different needs that all need to be addressed and I know this all too well as a Packer fan. The linebacker position, cornerback position, offensive line, and another talented wide receiver are all important positions that the Packers must address this year. Last year the team loaded up to prepare for the next 4 or 5 years, this year they need to address immediate needs meaning depth on the offensive line, improvements on defense, or a wide receiver that fans and most of the NFL world expect the Packers to care about for their Hall of Fame level, MVP winning quarterback. A lot of this decision of which to address first will depend largely upon what is available in the draft since it’s unlikely the Packers make a big splash with a free agency signing and they don’t exactly have the cap space to do that even if they wanted to do so. This all comes down to whether they can possibly trade up in the draft and get a linebacker like Zaven Collins, a defensive lineman like Christian Barmore, a cornerback like Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II, Caleb Farley or Greg Newsome, an o-lineman like Samuel Cosmi or Teven Jenkins, or a receiver if someone like Rashod Bateman or Jaylen Waddle happens to still be available. My feeling as a football fan is that they are going to probably focus on a linebacker or a cornerback because of how abysmal the play on defense continues to be on the biggest stage at the NFC Championship games. The fantasy footballer in me wants them to trade up and get Bateman for the slot receiver, keep Adams and MVS on the outside and Lazard in the mix and just watch Rodgers, Bateman, and Adams carve up opposing defenses. That probably won’t happen though so I expect to see either an o-lineman being taken if the Packers don’t trade up or a cornerback or linebacker if they do. Either way it will address a need although it most likely won’t make the starting quarterback especially happy and doubt many Packer fans will feel all that excited either.
Those are my thoughts for each NFC North Team as free agency continues and with the NFL draft right around the corner. Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts below and as always STAY TRUE.
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