NFC North rookie progress report

A look at the draft classes of the Packers' division rivals

Through two preseason games, it doesn't appear as if any of the NFC North's draft picks are going to have monster rookie seasons. That's not surprising, considering the Bears and Lions used their top picks on offensive linemen and the Packers and Vikings didn't have first-round selectons.

Here's a quick rundown of the NFC North rookie classes.

Chicago Bears

Running back Matt Forte struggled behind a shaky offensive line in preseason Game 2, picking up just 17 yards on seven carries with a long gain of 5 yards, but he had a 15-yard run wiped out by a holding call. He caught one pass for 7 yards.

— Receiver Earl Bennett did not catch a pass, but he had a 75-yard punt-return TD that gave the Bears a 19-9 lead vs. the Seahawks.

— Defensive tackle Marcus Harrison saw some playing time with the starters because Tommie Harris didn't play and was in on four tackles.

— Tight end Kellen Davis, who has been impressive as a special-teams wedge-buster, led all receivers Saturday night with 55 yards on three catches.

— Undrafted Caleb Hanie played the entire second half and completed 5 of 9 passes for 46 yards with a TD and an interception, posting a passer rating of 67.1.

— Offensive tackle Chris Williams, the Bears' No. 1 pick, is not expected back for several weeks after having surgery for a herniated disc.

Detroit Lions

Top pick Gosder Cherilus has taken snaps at right and left tackle over the past week, cross-training in case of emergency, not because the Lions want to move him to the left. He's battling George Foster to start on the right side.

— Linebacker Jordon Dizon, a second-round pick, shows speed and instincts. He's battling former Packer Paris Lenon for a starting job.

— Running back Kevin Smith continues to push Tatum Bell for the starting job, but he hasn't won it yet. He has 41 yards on 12 rushes in the preseason compared to 12 carries for 17 yards for Bell. Smith started Sunday's game against Cincinnati, as did fifth-round fullback Jerome Felton.

Minnesota Vikings

Second-round safety Tyrell Johnson is the leading candidate to replace injured starter Madieu Williams (neck), who could miss six weeks because of a neck injury.

— Fifth-round quarterback John David Booty is battling Brooks Bollinger for the No. 3 job. Booty doesn't appear to have a great arm but is a quick study.

— Fifth-round defensive tackle Letroy Guion is fighting for a roster spot. Guion is raw and might be a guy they try to sneak through to the practice squad.

— Sixth-round center John Sullivan is backing up veteran Matt Birk and serving as the right guard on the third team. That versatility is valuable and could win him a spot on the game-day roster this season.

— Free-agent linebacker Erin Henderson had a solid preseason debut against Seattle. He had five tackles, including one for a loss. Henderson is the brother of starting middle linebacker E.J. Henderson.

— Free-agent offensive lineman Drew Radovich had been working with the second team at left tackle before dislocating his left shoulder.

Green Bay Packers

Premium subscribers can click here to get Packer Report editor Bill Huber's take on the Packers' draft picks.


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