North Drafts: Worst to First

After digesting the big picture for the last week,'s team publishers and NFL Scouting's Michael DiJulio provide their insight on the NFC North drafts. Which team got all four possible first-place votes and what picks got us talking? publishers Nate Caminata (Detroit), Bill Huber (Green Bay), Jeremy Stoltz (Chicago) and Tim Yotter (Minnesota), along with NFL Scouting's Michael DiJulio, break down the drafts of the four teams in the NFC North.

We ranked the teams, from worst to first, with each publisher not allowed to vote for his own team. Green Bay got all four possible first-place votes to be the clear winner of the division's best draft. Here is what our experts had to say about the Packers' 10-player class.

Michael DiJulio, NFL Scouting

1 (32) Derek Sherrod, ot, Mississippi State.

2 (64) Randall Cobb, wr, Kentucky.

3 (96) Alex Green, rb, Hawaii.

4 (131) Davon House, db, New Mexico State.

5 (141) D.J. Williams, te, Arkansas.

6 (179) Caleb Schlauderaff, g, Utah.

6 (186) D.J. Smith, lb, Appalachian State.

6 (197) Ricky Elmore, lb, Arizona.

7 (218) Ryan Taylor, te, North Carolina.

7 (233) Lawrence Guy, dt, Arizona State.

The Packers did such an excellent job of filling needs with quality players while maintaining value. In the first two rounds, Derek Sherrod and Randall Cobb were downright steals. Sherrod could wind up being the team's left tackle of the future and Cobb can contribute next season out of the slot and on special teams. Alex Green and Davon House are both prospects that fill needs and fit what the Packers are looking for at their respective positions.

But it didn't stop in the first four rounds, as Green Bay continued to add quality talent in the later part of the draft. Fifth-round pick D.J. Williams is a talented yet undersized tight end that gives Rodgers another weapon. The Packers added two prospects who fit the 3-4 scheme in Ricky Elmore and Lawrence Guy, as well as a couple more players who could help on special teams in D.J. Smith and Ryan Taylor.

Tim Yotter, Viking Update

The Packers sprinkled in a combination of need and value with their picks, and in a number of cases got both.

Sherrod was a natural pick to be the eventual – which could even mean 2011 – successor to Chad Clifton. In the last two years, the Packers have drafted bookend tackles for the future, a very wise move given the talent they need to protect in quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

But the Packers also gave Rodgers more weapons on offense. Third-round running back Green could give Rodgers more of a pass-catching threat out of the backfield rather than an elusive runner, but the Packers were sorely in need of an upgrade in their backfield.

They might not need much immediate help at receiver, but they clearly got an infusion of youth for the future, and that's actually why going after the elusive and versatile Cobb made sense. Defenses have a hard enough time stopping the Packers when they are straightforward in their approach – if they get some deception with Cobb, they could be even trickier to defense.

That's another reason to like the very solid selection of Williams in the fifth round. He can be used in a variety of roles in their offense, which would appear to be getting even more dynamic in 2011 and beyond. The Packers found tremendous value with Williams, as they did in the seventh round with another tight end, Taylor.

Despite picking at the end of the first round, the Packers got both quantity and quality out of the 2011 draft.

Jeremy Stoltz, Bear Report

The rich get richer. With teams taking big risks in the first round, the Packers sat back and watched one of the best left-tackle prospects fall right into their lap. Sherrod can play either tackle position right away and looks to be the long-term successor on the blind side once Clifton hangs them up. Green Bay knows where their bread is buttered, and they made sure Aaron Rodgers has the protection he needs against the likes of Julius Peppers, Jared Allen and an upgraded Detroit defensive front.

Cobb will add a new dimension to the offense. The Packers could use him in a role similar to that of Percy Harvin in Minnesota. He'll also fill a team need as a kick returner. Green is a between-the-tackles runner that should provide an immediate boost to an anemic rushing attack. House was one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the draft. His size and speed will make him a perfect fit in Dom Capers' 3-4. Williams could be a matchup nightmare at H-back or tight end, and will give Rodgers another option down the seam. Guy, drafted 233rd overall, was a steal. He's raw but has the size and tireless motor to develop into a quality 3-4 defensive end.

Nate Caminata, Roar Report

Green Bay did with its first-round pick something Lions fans pleaded from their own organization: protect your investment under center. Sherrod is a mammoth offensive tackle that solidifies Rodgers' blindside for the next decade, addressing a successor to Clifton and a potential wall for divisional opponents.

The team's pick of Cobb screams of headache. Although he'll contribute as a receiver, it's likely that Green Bay will take advantage of Cobb's multifaceted approach. His role in Kentucky's offense was often described as the "WildCobb," which is enough to make an aggressive defense honest.

Beyond Cobb, at least two other selections — Green and draft-theft Williams — can contribute immediately. Considering the Packers won a Super Bowl last season, that should speak volumes about the team's resolve and continued success on draft day.


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