Marino's Report Card: NFC North

Former pro scout Tom Marino takes a look at the draft classes of the Bears, Vikings, Lions and Packers and hands out his grades. Get the details inside...

Detroit Lions                                           A-

Rnd Overall Name Pos School
1 2 Calvin Johnson WR Georgia Tech
2 43 Drew Stanton QB Michigan State
2 58 Ikaika Alama-Francis DE Hawaii
2 61 Gerald Alexander DS Boise St.
4 105 A.J. Davis CB North Carolina St.
4 117 Manuel Ramirez OG Texas Tech
5 158 Johnny Baldwin OB Alabama A&M
7 255 Ramzee Robinson CB Alabama

Calvin Johnson is in my opinion the best college prospect since Bo Jackson to enter the professional ranks. 

I probably would have opted for Stanford's Trent Edwards with the second choice, but understand the pick of in-state signal caller Stanton, a player who will learn more about being a quarterback in the next six months under Mike Martz than he has in his entire life.  

Alama-Francis is the son of a former professional quarterback Joe Francis and went to the University of Hawaii on a basketball grant. But over the last three years has quickly developed into one of the top pass rushing ends in the country. For the record, he was initially unranked by either scouting combine (BLESTO or NATIONAL) last spring. 

Alexander fits at a safety position as a Cover 2 corner, or in any of the team's sub-packages. 

Manny Ramirez is one of the top hitters in the game of baseball today - oops, the wrong Manny!  Well, this Manny via Texas Tech is quite possibly the strongest offensive lineman to enter the professional ranks this season. With pro coaching and time he should develop into a very solid professional player. 

Ramzee Robinson--"Mr. Irrelevant"-- will become more then a footnote in this year's draft and will make the club as a backup special teams player. Looks like the worst franchise over the past half decade may have finally turned the corner.

Green Bay Packers                                B+

Rnd Overall Name Pos School
1 16 Justin Harrell DT Tennessee
2 63 Brandon Jackson RB Nebraska
3 78 James Jones WR San Jose State
3 89 Aaron Rouse DS Virginia Tech
4 119 Allen Barbre OT Missouri Southern St.
5 157 David Clowney WR Virginia Tech
6 191 Korey Hall MB Boise State
6 192 Desmond Bishop MB California
6 193 Mason Crosby KS Colorado
7 228 Deshawn Wynn RB Florida
7 243 Clark Harris TE Rutgers

The Packers got a very impressive athlete in round one who missed most of the 2006 season due to injury. 

Brandon Jackson (Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
In round two, they selected a back (Brandon Jackson) who will be counted on to play a major role in Green Bay's running offense. 

Wide receiver James Jones is a talented athlete, but lacks the true speed necessary to pose a vertical threat (a reach in my opinion). 

Fellow third-round selection, Aaron Rouse, is a big safety who had an up-and-down senior season. 

Many coaches and scouts believe the Packers made an outstanding choice when they selected small-college star Allen Barbre with their fourth-round selection. Many line coaches throughout the league believe he will one day become a star. 

David Clowney is another solid second-day pick who should compete for a backup spot with the Pack. 

Korey Hall is an undersized player with limited athletetic skills who does nothing but make plays all over the field. He's a football player in every sense of the word. 

Mason Crosby is a somewhat erratic placekicking prospect with a big-time kicking leg. 

Deshawn Wynn is a big back with talent, but didn't run the hole or make tough yards between the tackles. 

Special recognition to college scout Alonzo Highsmith and pro director Reggie McKenzie, two very classy and talented people.

Chicago Bears                                     B- 

 Rnd Overall Name Pos School
1 31 Greg Olsen TE Miami
2 62 Dan Bazuin DE Central Michigan
3 93 Garrett Wolfe RS Northern Illinois
3 94 Michael Okwo MB Stanford
4 130 Josh Beekman OG Boston College
5 167 Kevin Payne DS Louisianna-Monroe
5 168 Corey Graham CB New Hampshire
7 221 Trumaine McBride CB Mississippi
7 241 Aaron Brant OT Iowa State

First-round selection Greg Olsen was a major get for the Bears at the 31st slot. An outstanding athlete, he brings a new dimension to the Bears' passing game. In terms of blocking, I believe Greg has a very long way to go, but while developing these skills I think he gives the defending NFC champions a very real up-the-seam receiving threat. 

Dan Bazuin (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Second-round selection Dan Bazuin will pay quick dividends to the Bears at the defensive end position. I really like his playing intensity and overall game. 

Garrett Wolfe is an impressive, undersized running back from nearby Northern Illinois University who will attempt to make the club as a returner and special situation back like Dave Meggett did in New York for the Giants. 

Michael Okwo was a productive, instinctive undersized Mike backer who should contribute early on as special-teams player and backup linebacker. 

Josh Beekman from Boston College is a powerful, short, four-year starter at offensive guard that I believe is better suited to play the center position at the professional level. 

Kevin Payne gives the Bears a young special-teams player who could well develop into a solid starter in time. 

Corey Graham is another talented corner and kick-return man who lost much of the 2006 season due to injury. 

Seventh-round selections Trumaine McBride and Aaron Brant both have some positive qualities and will try and make the club in a backup role. 

I really like Chicago's first two selections, but felt they reached in too many subsequent rounds. 

Under Jerry Angelo the Bears have quietly put together one of football's top scouting staffs. Special recognition goes out to Mark Sadowski, Jeff Shiver, Ted "Teddy Love" Monago, and one of my dearest friends in the business, Marty Barrett.

Minnesota Vikings                             C-

Rnd Overall Name Pos School
1 7 Adrian Peterson RB Oklahoma
2 44 Sidney Rice WR South Carolina
3 72 Marcus McCauley CB Fresno State
4 102 Brian Robison DE Texas
5 146 Aundrae Allison WR East Carolina
6 176 Rufus Alexander OB Oklahoma
7 217 Tyler Thigpen QB Coastal Carolina
7 233 Chandler Williams WR Florida International

Adrian Peterson is a multi-talented back with unlimited playing potential who should impact quickly and positively from the get-go. 

Sidney Rice (Scott Schneider/Getty Images)
Second-round selection Sidney Rice, one of three receivers selected by the Vikings in the 2007 draft, has size and outstanding receiving skills, but does not have the top-end speed to develop into a No. 1 receiver in my opinion. 

Third-round selection Marcus McCauley has everything you look for at the corner position, but played poorly as a senior and actually was relegated to the second unit by years' end. 

Brian Robison is another underachieving yet talented athlete. 

The Vikings in round five took a flyer on Aundrae Allison, another player with enormous talent and speed to burn, but who also lacks toughness and consistency catching the football. Let's hope for his sake the Vikings don't run too many routes inside the numbers. 

Oklahoma's undersized backer Alexander is not a take-on guy but is an excellent sixth-round value pick. 

Seventh-round selection Tyler Thigpen is a talented, undersized, small-college signal-caller and in my opinion, a million miles away from playing in the National Football League. 

I really didn't much care for this years' Vikings draft beyond the first two selections.  But if one were to look at the big picture over the past decade, I think the scouting staff has done a very good job of making good, sound personnel decisions. College director Scott Studwell and scouts Conrad Cardano, Kevin McCabe, Jamaal Stephensen, Frank Gillam, and Jerry Reichow (the latter two have spent their entire football careers with the Vikings - over 50 seasons in total) are not only great guys to be around but are also what scouting is all about.

Tom Marino is a veteran of 35 years in the player personnel field, most recently with the St. Louis Rams. He has worked in three professional leagues (NFL, USFL, and WFL), and among his many accomplishments, is credited with the discovery of Eric Swann, the first non-collegiate player since 1946 to be selected in the 1st round of the NFL college draft.

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