NFL Network Analyzes NFC North Drafts

NFL Network analyzed the top draft choices of the teams in the NFC North, giving the Vikings credit for the Jared Allen trade when discussing their draft success. See what analyst Solomon Wilcots had to say about the Vikings and the other teams in the division.

The Vikings tied for the fewest amount of picks in the NFL draft this year, but they received equal time on NFL Network's assessment of draft picks in the NFC North.

The league-owned network dedicated to football coverage had analyst Solomon Wilcots give his opinions on the top selections of each of the teams in the NFC North earlier this week. Like many, Wilcots evaluates the Vikings' draft with veteran acquisition Jared Allen thrown into the mix because the Vikings traded away a first-round and two third-round picks, along with trading spots in the sixth round, to acquire Allen.

"That's the key I think when you look at the draft class for the Minnesota Vikings," Wilcots said. "You've got to say that's the No. 1 pick, Jared Allen – by far better than any of the pass rushers that were on the draft board because of 15½ sacks one year ago (in the NFL). He comes with the experience already in an NFL sack leader. An instant impact on your defensive line with Pat and Kevin Williams."

While the Vikings like to consider Allen their first-round pick, they also felt they got first-round value in their second-round pick, safety Tyrell Johnson of Arkansas State. The Vikings had Johnson rated as the top safety in the draft, just ahead of Kenny Phillips, and the 17th overall player on their board.

"This guy from Arkansas State is a playmaker. Remember, Madieu Williams, Darren Sharper, they're ballhawks, but this is a guy that is an in-the-box defender," Wilcots said. "Thirteen interceptions during his career at Arkansas State, but an excellent tackler in the box and in the open field with really good range running a 4.4. So he's going to give them that enforcer in the secondary that I don't think they had until they drafted Tyrell Johnson."

While the station didn't give out draft grades, NFL Network analyzed the top picks of other teams in the NFC North.


The Packers selected WR Jordy Nelson, QB Brian Brohm, CB Patrick Lee, and TE Jermichael Finley with their top picks.

"Brian Brohm is a guy that they can develop. He can grow in this offense. I think he's a perfect fit for the West Coast system," Wilcots said. "Matt Flynn is the other quarterback from LSU. You have two young quarterback that you can grow and groom. You hope that Aaron Rodgers works out for you in Green Bay, but if for some reason he falters, now you have Brian Brohm waiting in the wings who should be able to step in and learn that offense fairly quickly."

Wilcots said he doesn't think the Packers need to bring in a veteran quarterback to back up Rodgers.


The Bears' top picks were OT Chris Williams, RB Matt Forte and WR Earl Bennett.

"I loved Chris Williams from Vanderbilt. He's an athletic player. He's got excellent footwork, good balance and really quick hands," said Wilcots, whose most surprising statement of the segment might have been his opinion on Forte and how soon and at what level the running back can contribute.

"Not only will he be able to beat out Ced Benson, Benson is going to be fortunate to even play because I think Matt Forte will become the starting running back for the Chicago Bears," Wilcots said.

While many expected Chicago to draft a quarterback in the early rounds, Wilcots didn't have a problem with the Bears passing on that position.

"I wouldn't worry about the quarterback position just yet. I know it's a concern with Chicago, but a bigger concern with this draft was on the offensive line, where they needed to add more talent, more depth," he said. "They also needed to add a running back, even before Cedric Benson got into trouble."


The Lions draft OT Gosder Cherilus, LB Jordon Dizon and RB Kevin Smith in the early rounds.

Wilcots had a similar analysis for the Lions that he gave regarding the Bears.

"They gave up over 50 sacks a year ago, so they certainly needed help on the offensive line," he said of the Lions. "They moved down from 15 to 17 to take Cherilus, but I think it's a little bit of a reach. He was the best guy on the board at the time."

His biggest praise with the Lions came at the running back position, just like it did with the Bears.

"They need a running game in Detroit. Kevin Smith has to have a breakout year during his rookie season if he's going to give Detroit the balance we were talking about," Wilcots said. "Jon Kitna needs a running game if they're going to go out and win 10 games."

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