NFC North Notes: Draft Review

In a draft filled with controversy, surprise picks and head scratchers, the NFC North fared relatively well. The Sports Xchange looks back at the draft results for each of Chicago's division foes.

Detroit Lions

The Lions might not have accomplished what their fan base expected them to, but they exceeded their own hopes.

"I think we had the discipline to stick with what we intended to do, which was stay with the talent on the board," coach Jim Schwartz said. "We combined talent on the board with a plan for those players and fit in our scheme.

"We didn't end up with a lot of players but I like the quality with what we came away with. We came away with players that can make an impact on our team."

The Lions believe they got a gift when Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, considered a top-five talent, fell to them at No. 13 Thursday. They added two young skill players in the second round Friday - Boise State wide receiver Titus Young and Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure, whom they traded up to get.

On Saturday they selected two developmental players - Syracuse linebacker Doug Hogue in the fifth round and South Carolina State offensive lineman Johnny Culbreath in the seventh.

"You start on Thursday feeling one way about your team and to be here now feeling even better, that's really exciting," said general manager Martin Mayhew. "I feel really great about our draft this year."

Mayhew reiterated that he had no regrets about not filling two of the team's primary needs - cornerback and outside linebacker.

"It wasn't hard for me at all," he said. "Our plan was to stick to the board and look for value. The draft is about value. I didn't feel any pressure to do anything else."

Martin said he believed the Lions would be able to upgrade the cornerback and linebacker positions either through trades or free agency, once the league settles the labor dispute.

A closer look at the Lions' picks:


WR Titus Young
Chuck Cook/US Presswire

Round 1/13 -- Nick Fairley, DT, 6-4, 298, Auburn
The Lions added a mean, physical presence to an already mean, physical defensive line. The Lombardi Trophy winner had 60 tackles and 11.5 sacks last season at Auburn. He was the best player on the field in the national championship game.

Round 2/44 - Titus Young, WR, 5-11, 174, Boise State
A stick of dynamite," Mayhew called him. He averaged over 15 yards a catch over three years at Boise State and amassed more than 4,938 all-purpose yards.

Round 2/57 - Mikel Leshoure, RB, 5-11, 233, Illinois
The Lions hope he's the power runner to complement the quick Jahvid Best. He amassed an Illinois record 1,697 yards last season. He is a very versatile and complete back.

Round 5/157 - Doug Hogue, OLB, 6-2, 235, Syracuse
He played linebacker only two years at Syracuse, but the Lions love his speed (4.6) and athleticism. He will contribute on special teams next season.

Round 7/209 - Johnny Culbreath, OL, 6-5, 322, South Carolina State
They aren't sure if he will end up a guard or a tackle, they just know that with his size and speed, they have something to work with.


Green Bay Packers

This is what happens when a team is built to stay together after winning the Super Bowl: General manager Ted Thompson can't say his top draft picks this year will make a sudden impact.

"These guys have to come in and prove they can stand along with the men we have on this team," Thompson said.

The Packers had the luxury of beefing up the roster with no glaring needs to address. The cream of Thompson's 10-player crop - offensive tackle Derek Sherrod, receiver Randall Cobb and halfback Alex Green - are more likely starters of the future but talented enough to push the old guard.

"We've added depth and competition to our football team," head coach Mike McCarthy said.

A closer look at the Packers' picks:


RB Alex Green
Kirby Lee/US Presswire

Round 1/32 -- Derek Sherrod, OT, 6-5, 321, Mississippi State
Another heir apparent for left tackle Chad Clifton after the Packers used last year's first-round choice on Bryan Bulaga, now at right tackle. Sherrod is athletically sound but will need to shore up pass sets after playing in a run-oriented system.

Round 2/64 -- Randall Cobb, WR, 5-10, 191, Kentucky
He can catch, he can run, he can return kicks, he can even throw. The possibilities are endless for Mike McCarthy in how to utilize the speedy and durable Cobb.

Round 3/96 -- Alex Green, RB, 6-0, 225, Hawaii
The powerful Green still rushed for nearly 1,200 yards in the country's No. 1-ranked pass offense last season. His pass-catching talents could make Brandon Jackson expendable as the third-down back.

Round 4/131 -- Davon House, CB, 6-0, 195, New Mexico State
A good match for Dom Capers' opportunistic secondary. The four-year starter flourished in press coverage with 11 interceptions, including three for touchdowns.

Round 5/141-- D.J. Williams, TE, 6-2, 245, Arkansas
Ryan Mallett's top target with the Razorbacks last season (54 catches, 627 yards) gives Aaron Rodgers another receiving threat.

Round 6/179 -- Caleb Schlauderaff, OG, 6-4, 302, Utah
Left guard Daryn Colledge could leave as a free agent. The feisty Schlauderaff started all four years at the position.

Round 6/186 -- D.J. Smith, LB, 5-11, 239, Appalachian State
Smallish outside linebacker performed big for FCS powerhouse with 525 career tackles. Projected to move inside in 3-4 scheme.

Round 6/197 -- Ricky Elmore, LB, 6-4, 256, Arizona
Pass-rushing standout -- led Pac-10 with 11 sacks in 2010 - makes move from defensive end.

Round 7/218 -- Ryan Taylor, TE, 6-3, 254, North Carolina
Productive receiver (school-record 36 catches for a tight end in 2010) ticketed for H-back role.

Round 7/233 -- Lawrence Guy, DT, 6-4, 304, Arizona State
Five-technique lineman started all three years before turning pro early.


Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings did not get rave reviews from all when they used the 12th overall pick on Christian Ponder but the team was in desperate need of a young quarterback to build around and the Florida State product provides some hope that now will be possible.

After having only one pick on Friday, the Vikings used the remainder of the draft to attempt to fill a wide variety of needs and appeared to get some value picks as they had eight choices on Saturday.

Vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman sent a fifth-round selection to Cleveland for two sixth-rounders, giving the Vikings four picks in that round. Minnesota finished with 10 picks, its most since 2000.

The Vikings' approach to this draft served as a clear indication that Spielman and coach Leslie Frazier knew their roster had to get younger and that competition had to be created.

A closer look at the Vikings picks:


TE Kyle Rudolph
Matt Cashore/US Presswire

Round 1/12 - Christian Ponder, QB, 6-1, 227, Florida State
Ponder's intelligence and experience in a pro-style offense were two big selling points. Could have chance to start in 2011.

Round 2/43 - Kyle Rudolph, TE, 6-6, 266, Notre Dame
Rudolph fell in the draft in part because of a severe hamstring injury that required season-ending surgery in October. Says he is 100 percent now.

Round 4/106 - Christian Ballard, DT, 6-4, 290, Iowa
Has the ability to play both end and tackle but is expected to be used inside. Refused to address reports that he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Round 5/139 - Brandon Burton, CB, 5-11, 190,Utah
Will provide much-needed depth at the corner position and likely will compete with backup Asher Allen. The Vikings needed insurance with starting right corner Cedric Griffin having torn the ACL in both knees over the past two years. His presence means that veterans Lito Sheppard and Frank Walker likely won't be brought back.

Round 6/168 - DeMarcus Love, G/T, 6-4, 315, Arkansas
Versatile lineman started 26 games for Arkansas at left tackle and could be seen as the eventual replacement for Bryant McKinnie.

Round 6/170 - Mistral Raymond, CB, 6-2, 192, South Florida
Projected as a cornerback but also has the ability to play safety.

Round 6/172 - Brandon Fusco, C/G, 6-4, 306, Slippery Rock
Played in college and could push starter John Sullivan and backup Jon Cooper.

Round 6/200 - Ross Homan, LB, 6-0, 229, Ohio State
Will be expected to make his mark initially on special teams.

Round 7/215 - D'Aundre Reed, DE, 6-4, 258, Arizona
A backup for much of his time in college, this appears to be a project pick.

Round 7/236 - Stephen Burton, WR, 6-1, 221, West Texas A&M
Ability to return kickoffs and punts increased his role and helped to get him drafted.


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