Grading the Draft- NFC North

Possibly the biggest surprises of the draft were pulled by the NFC Northern Division. From the third pick of the draft to the Packers trading up you came to expect the unexpected from all four teams by Sunday afternoon.


The Bears draft strategy changed significantly the weeks leading up to the event as Blake Brockermeyer was released in a cost cutting move and the focus quickly switched to the offensive line.  Marc Colombo was selected first round and to our minds was a reach.  Colombo will have a very difficult time if placed at left tackle and though he has some potential down the road, may not be able to immediately answer the Bears chiefs concerns.  Chicago rebounded nicely with their next three selections.  Roosevelt Williams is a solid cornerback prospect that should see significant action as a rookie.  Co-third round pick, Terrance Metcalf, could be a steal if asked to play inside at guard, his original position in college, rather than the tackle spot he's manned the past two seasons.  Alex Brown, who many thought the Bears would take in the second round, was also a bargain being drafted in round four and could provide Chicago with the pass rusher desperately needed. DE/OLB Bryan Knight, wide out Jamin Elliott and tight end Bryan Fletcher could all surprise at the next level and have a good deal of talent that must be harnessed.  Our main criticism is Mike Pearson was a better fit and player for the Bears, both in the long and short term as compared to Colombo.  Add in the fact that Chicago has a big need at tight end and only came away with only a developmental prospect in what was a rich year at the position. 


The Lions pulled the first surprise of the draft selecting Joey Harrington with the third pick but in the end it was the right move as he is best suited to run the Lion offense and the team was going nowhere with the signal callers on the roster.  Defensive end Kalimba Edwards had been tumbling the weeks prior to the draft but was an absolute steal at the top of round two.  Though a knee injury set him back in November, he is still an impacting defender with a large amount of upside potential.  Third round choice Andre Goodman is a speedy corner that has gradually progressed since sustaining a major knee injury in college as a sophomore.  Not many have an opinion on John Taylor of Montana State as few have seen him play but we've watched him closely the past two seasons.  An explosive athlete that played on the nose in college, we feel he is better off at end, possibly even outside linebacker, which is where we've ranked him all year long.  Taylor may need some time to develop but could surprise in the end.  Tight end John Owens is another that needs time as a football player but a prospect with a large upside.  If he stays healthy, and that is a big "if", Luke Staley was a bargain.  Matt Murphy may quickly slide into the spot vacated by David Sloan while Victor Rogers was red-flagged by many teams because of his injury history but was well worth the risk of a seventh round choice.  The underlying theme of this draft is the word "potential," which means in the end it could be special, or just ordinary. 

Green Bay 

The Pack made a strange move in round one giving away a second round choice to slide up and draft wide receiver Jevon Walker.  Walker fits a need as he is big, fast and can catch the ball, something he better do quickly as a rookie to justify the pick Green Bay gave away to guarantee acquiring his services.  Marques Anderson, taken in round three, is a hard-hitting strong safety that was can play some corner while Najeh Davenport, selected a frame later, is a triple threat fullback that was good value.  Aaron Kampmann could make a team hungry for defensive linemen and Mike Houghton, their final selection, could fit in as the power blocking guard they originally hoped to get during the first day.  


The Vikings may have committed the biggest faux pas of the draft letting the player ranked highest on their board get away but in the end may have grabbed the golden ring in Bryant McKinnie.  Once considered a top three pick, McKinnie's slide on draft day may have been a result of "paralysis by over analysis" as he is a talented lineman that could be a dominant blind side protector for years to come.  Raonall Smith is an athletic linebacker with range and a good bet to be starting on the weak-side by opening day.  Willie Offord is a behemoth sized safety with the hitting ability to match, but is a little slow to react and was a reach in round three.  Fourth round pick Brian Williams is a solid defensive back that could be a settling force in the Minnesota secondary while Ed Ta'amu is a dominant run blocker that adds youth to the line.  Chad Beasley has a lot of upside potential and at the very least, offers additional intensity to compliment Chris Hovan.  Solid group but overall not strong for a team selecting early in the rounds.

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