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NFC North Draft Primer

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Chicago Bears

Picks: 3rd R-11th, 4th R-11th, 5th R-10th, 6th R-12th, 7th R-11th

Needs: OL, WR, CB

The 2009 arrival of Jay Cutler was supposed to signal a new era in Chicago as the Bears finally landed a franchise quarterback.  But Cutler did not live up to the hype.  Part of the problem was that Cutler was surrounded by young but unestablished wide receivers and the Bears had trouble generating a rhythm.  Another part of the problem was a weak offensive line that did not allow Matt Forte to be a dominant running back.

Chicago made the most noise in free agency by signing defensive end Julius Peppers.  It was a necessary move as the Bears got thin at defensive end in the offseason.  However, Chicago needs an upgrade in the secondary as numerous times the Bears were shredded by strong-armed QBs.  Even rookie Matthew Stafford of Detroit had success against the Bears.

Due to a few trades the Bears don't have a pick until the third round so it will be a quiet opening night for the Bears.

 

Detroit Lions

Picks: 1st R-2nd, 2nd R-2nd, 3th R-2nd, 4th R-2nd, 7th R-6th, 7th, 13th & 48th

Needs: CB, OL, DT, LB

Can Detroit finally turn the corner in 2010?  Detroit has a franchise quarterback, workhorse running back and playmaking wide receiver in place.  But the Lions are weak along the offensive line and Matthew Stafford will never have a chance at succeeding if he can't be protected.  Detroit gave up 43 sacks in '09 and running back Kevin Smith could only rip off 3.4 yards per carry.

Detroit is in need of upgrades all over the defensive side of the ball.  The numbers don't lie: Detroit was last in points allowed, passing yards and rushing yards.  The Lions made a number of personnel moves, including the signing of defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.  Now the Lions must address the other areas.

With the second pick there's no doubt the Lions should take defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.  The big tackle's presence should be immediately felt.  The Lions can address the offensive line the second round perhaps with Bruce Campbell.

 

Green Bay Packers

Picks: 1st R-23rd, 2nd R-24th, 3rd R-22nd, 4th R-24th, 5th R-23rd & 38th, 6th R-24th, 7th R-23rd

Needs: OT, CB, OLB

The Packers returned to playoff form in 2009 despite a couple of glaring problems that were masked by a dynamic offense and an opportunistic defense.  We all know the Packers gave up 51 sacks but once the offensive line jelled Aaron Rodgers had ample time to put up big numbers.  Even with the porous o line the Packers averaged almost 29 points per game, third highest in the league.

From a statistical standpoint the Packers were dominant defensively.  Green Bay finished seventh in scoring and second in total defense and had an off-the-charts turnover margin of +24.  But late in the season as injuries piled up the Packers were picked apart by Pittsburgh and then Arizona in the playoffs, suggesting the Packers aren't nearly as deep as they need to be.

Plenty of people want to see the Packers take an offensive tackle with that first pick but go back to those last two losses.  The inability to get to the quarterback combined with a thin secondary led to a scorching by Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner.  On the defensive side the Packers could look at OLB Jerry Hughes, safety Taylor Mays or cornerback Kyle Wilson.  Offensive tackle Charles Brown would fit nicely into the zone blocking scheme.

 

Minnesota Vikings

Picks: 1st R-30th, 2nd R-30th, 3rd R-29th, 4th R-30th, 5th R-30th & 36th, 6th R-30th, 7th R-30th

Needs: S, CB, OL

Minnesota's offense was nothing short of dynamic last year with Adrian Peterson in the backfield and weapons up and down the wide receiver depth chart.  However, the key component was quarterback Brett Favre.  It's late April, so naturally nobody knows if Favre will return.  If he doesn't the Vikings will need to go back to grinding teams down with Peterson but don't expect a repeat of the second best scoring offense in the NFL.

Secondary has been a problem for the Vikings over the last few years but just recently the Vikings addressed that with the signing of Lito Sheppard.  Despite that the Vikings need more depth in the defensive secondary.  Once again Minnesota's front four was rock solid, finishing second against the run while racking up 48 sacks.

Safety Taylor Mays might be unavailable by the time the Vikings get their pick.  The best cornerbacks will be off the board though a player like Kareem Jackson or Devin McCourty might be available.  Perhaps the Vikings will surprise by taking the best available player, which arguable could be quarterback Colt McCoy.

 

Don't forget to check out the other NFC divisional primers: East, South and West

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