Thursday, May 02, 2013

2013 NFL Draft: The Rest of The NFC North

Do you think the rest of the NFC North teams helped themselves in the draft? I'm only going to look at the first four rounds for each team, anyone drafted in the last three rounds is a long shot to become a starter for any NFL team, though I found it interesting that both the Lions and Vikings drafted a punter in the 5th round. For what it's worth, according to the Fan Draft Grade at, the Vikings received an A, the Lions a B, and the Bears a C.

Bears. They started out with one of the biggest surprises in the 1st round, selecting Oregon G Kyle Long with the 20th overall selection. He's only played on offensive line the past couple years after converting from defense, so this pick is all about potential. With their 2nd round pick, they selected Florida ILB Jon Bostic, who fills a glaring hole in the middle of their defense after they parted ways with Brian Urlacher. They also lost starting LB Nick Roach in free agency to the Raiders, so they also added Rutgers LB Khaseem Greene in the 4th round and another linebacker in the 6th round.

They addressed their three biggest needs in the draft (linebacker, offensive line, and wide receiver) but they didn't add players at any other position. In the long-run, this draft might produce a couple solid starters but the lack of depth could be a problem.

Lions. BYU DE Ziggy Ansah became the 5th player selected even though he didn't start playing football until 2010, and he didn't become a college starter until 2012. He had a strong showing at the combine and dominated the Senior Bowl. He's replacing DE Cliff Avril, who signed with the Seahawks in free agency, so he's filing a need instead of improving something they didn't have last season. In the 2nd round they selected Mississippi St. CB Darius Slay who already has knee problems, and added a big guard, Kentucky OG Larry Warford, in the 3rd round after losing both starting tackles (LT Jeff Backus retired, RT Gosder Cherlius signed with the Colts). They also took another defensive end, South Carolina DE Devin Taylor, in the 4th round.

All four players have a lot of potential, though drafting a cornerback who already has knee problems is a concern, and they filled multiple needs on their roster. Overall a solid draft, though they're still lacking depth on the offensive line and at wide receiver, but you can't fix everything with one draft.

Vikings. It's hard not to receive an A grade when they had three 1st round draft picks. Florida DT Sharrif Floyd was long thought to be a Top 5 pick, so selecting him at No. 23 overall is a great value. He might only be a rotational player in 2013, but he could be the anchor on their 2014 line if they lose their top three defensive lineman (Jared Allen, Brian Robison, and Kevin Williams) to free agency after next season. Their secondary really needed another cornerback, especially after they released CB Antoine Winfield, so Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes was selected 25th overall. Finally they traded back into the 1st round to select WR Cordarrelle Patterson, who's got exceptional size and speed after playing only one season at Tennessee. They also added OLB Gerald Hodges from Penn State in the 4th round for depth.

The Vikings had the best draft when you look at the players, but I'd give the edge to the Lions because of the high price the Vikings paid to have those three Top 30 selections. Rhodes was chosen with the pick they received for WR Percy Harvin and the Patriots selected a linebacker, cornerback and wide receiver with three of the four picks they received for their 1st round selection. Ironically the Vikings got their 7th round pick back by trading down a few spots in the 6th round. The Vikings might have been better next season with Harvin and two additional rookies taken with mid-round draft picks instead of having two more 1st round selections.

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