Tag Archives: Chicago Bears

2017 NFC North Draft Grades

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Green Bay Packers

First-Round Pick: (N/A)

Best Pick: Round Seven-Malachi Dupre-Wide Receiver-LSU

Grade: B

The Green Bay Packers are hardly ever in contention when it comes to signing the top-tier free agents which means that their focus is always on the National Football League Draft in regards to making roster upgrades. That was once again the case this year as Packers general manager Ted Thompson sought to make things happen for his team at the NFL Draft and maintain their status as the team to beat in the NFC North.

After making a deal with the Cleveland Browns, the Packers traded out of the first round, but they would obtain the first selection of the second round which is where Thompson began to go to work.

After the Packers secondary was torched in their NFC Championship Game loss to the Atlanta Falcons, upgrading the unit became a top priority here in the off-season. The Packers used their first choice of the draft on Washington Huskies cornerback Kevin King which was followed by using their second pick of the round on North Carolina State Wolfpack safety Josh Jones. The Packers would keep the defensive theme going in the third round when they selected Auburn Tigers defensive tackle Montravius Adams, but they may have found a steal in the fourth round when they selected Wisconsin Badgers outside linebacker Vince Biegel.

Vince Biegel

At Wisconsin, Biegel played opposite of outside linebacker T.J. Watt who went on to be a first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But Biegel has a motor like no other, and that determination should see him crack the Packers linebacker rotation rather quickly.

Later in the fourth round the Packers selected BYU Cougars running back Jamaal Williams who won’t completely solve Green Bay’s issues at running back, but he can provide them with a player who will be good in short yardage situations as he continues to familiarize himself with the nuances of the team.

The Packers got themselves a steal in the seventh round when they selected LSU Tigers wide receiver Malachi Dupre. Dupre entered college as one of the nation’s top prep players, but a stagnant passing game at LSU didn’t allow him to shine. And now it will be interesting to see if Dupre will be able to take his game to the next level in the National Football League in the same fashion that former LSU Tigers wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants and Jarvis Landry of the Miami Dolphins are currently doing.

If you want to question how and why the Packers have made the playoffs in each of the last eight years, just look at what Thompson has been able to consistently do at the draft as he goes in with a plan of attack, and more importantly he sticks with it.

Detroit Lions

First-Round Pick: Jarrad Davis-Linebacker-Florida

Best Pick: Jarrad Davis

Grade: C

It was going to be interesting to see what the Detroit Lions would do to build off of their surprising trip to the postseason last season as all signs pointed to them attempting to fix the defense. But the Lions main issue on defense in 2016 were a lack of sacks as they were only able to tally 26. And when the Lions were ready to make their first choice of the 2017 National Football League Draft, they had both Missouri Tigers defensive end Charles Harris and Michigan Wolverines defensive end Taco Charlton sitting there for the taking. However Lions general manager Bob Quinn decided to taking Florida Gators inside linebacker Jarrad Davis. Davis does fill a need for the Lions at middle linebacker, but if Davis was their guy they probably could have gotten him in the second round, while still being able to pick up a pass rusher in the first.

Teez Tabor

Three of the Lions first four picks in the draft were used on defense which included taking Davis’ college teammate in cornerback Teez Tabor in the second round. Tabor had first-round potential, but he slipped to the second and only time will tell if the Lions got themselves a steal.

The Lions didn’t take a pass rusher until the sixth round when they selected Arkansas Razorbacks defensive end Jeremiah Ledbetter which is not going to help their issues as far as getting to the quarterback. And until the Lions find a way to consistently put pressure on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, they will continue to play second fiddle to them in the NFC North.

Minnesota Vikings

First-Round Pick: (N/A)

Best Pick: Round Two-Dalvin Cook-Running Back-Florida State

Grade: B

After the Minnesota Vikings acquired quarterback Sam Bradford from the Philadelphia Eagles last year, they knew that they wouldn’t be picking in the first round of this year’s National Football League Draft. But that didn’t prevent Vikings general manager Rick Spielman from coming out of the draft smelling like a rose. The Vikings watched the first round train pass them by, but they struck it rich in the second round with their selection of Florida State Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook.

Dalvin Cook

Cook enters the National Football League as a two-time All-American, while also being one of the most decorated ball carriers in the history of the Florida State program. The Vikings needed to replace running back Adrian Peterson who joined the New Orleans Saints and their rushing attack shouldn’t skip a beat with Cook as the feature ball carrier.

This draft was all about getting better in the trenches for the Vikings which saw them make a run through Big Ten country as in the third round they would select Ohio State Buckeyes center Pat Elflein, while taking Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson and Michigan Wolverines inside linebacker Ben Gedeon in the fourth round.

In all the Vikies made 11 selections in the draft as they added depth. And whereas that Cook will rightfully grab the headlines of this draft class, there will be other impact players who’ll emerge from this group.

Chicago Bears

First-Round Pick: Mitchell Trubisky-Quarterback-North Carolina

Best Pick: Round Four-Eddie Jackson-Safety-Alabama

Grade: F

The last three years have seen the Chicago Bears combine to lose 34 games and after their performance at the National Football League Draft, they aren’t any closer to turning things around. This off-season has already seen the Bears sign former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon to a three-year deal that is worth $45 million with $19 million guaranteed. The Bears entered the draft with the third overall pick with all signs pointing to them improving their defense. However Bears general manager Ryan Pace got trigger happy when he made a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to move up one slot to select North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Mitch Trubisky

In making the deal the Bears sent three additional picks to San Francisco this year, while also parting with their third-round pick next year for a player in Trubisky who some people feel might be a one-year wonder. The Bears bet against themselves since there wasn’t going to be another team that was seeking to move up to select Trubisky and have now mortgaged their future in the process.

The Bears failed to address their issues in the secondary until the fourth round when they selected Alabama Crimson Tide free safety Eddie Jackson who missed the majority of the 2016 college football season due to an injury.

In all the Bears only had five picks as they failed to properly address their needs on the offensive and defensive line, as well as in the secondary. And thus it could be another long season in Chicago for the Bears and their fan base.

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Not The Monsters Of The Midway

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From 2005-2012, the Chicago Bears were one of the best teams in the National Football League. Over that stretch the Bears posted five winning seasons, along with three NFC North Championships, and a Super Bowl appearance. But the Bears might be kicking themselves when they fired head coach Lovie Smith at the conclusion of the 2012 season after he over saw this span of success in Chicago. Since then the Bears have not posted a winning season, and here in 2016, they are spiraling out of control.

The Bears began this season by losing their first three games and it has not gotten any better for them since. Chicago has a trio of three-game losing streaks to their credit this season, and with only three games remaining, they are on pace for their worst season since 2002 when they went 4-12. General manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox are both in their second year with the Bears, but neither man could have imagined the misfortune that they would be forced to deal with here in 2016.

Wide receiver Kevin White was the Bears first-round pick in 2015. And after White missed his entire rookie season with a leg injury, he has only appeared in four games here in 2016. The Bears traded up in the first round this year to select outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. But after Floyd had amassed 5 sacks in eight games, he would be placed in the National Football League’s concussion protocol after a scary head and neck injury that he suffered during the Bears Week 11 loss to the New York Giants. Floyd has since returned to the Bears and has gone on to tally 2 more sacks. Veteran wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has just finished serving a four-game suspension that was handed down by the NFL after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. From 2011-2014, Fox was the head coach of the Denver Broncos, and during his timed there he drafted inside linebacker Danny Trevathan. After Trevathan helped the Broncos win the Super Bowl last season, he struck it big in free agency when he agreed to a four-year deal with the Bears that is worth $24.5 million. But after the Bears lost to the Tennessee Titans in Week 12, Trevathan was placed on injured reserve when he suffered a ruptured patellar tendon.

Jay Cutler

As of right now the Bears have 16 players who are on injured reserve with the biggest name being quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler was placed on injured reserve last month by the Bears after it was revealed that he would need surgery to repair a torn labrum. Cutler’s time with the Bears has been inconsistent as his record as a starter is 51-51, while Chicago is no closer to being a Super Bowl contender with him now than when they acquired him from the Broncos in 2009. And as the Bears are going nowhere fast, this might be the perfect time to evaluate all 53 roster spots heading into 2017.

Cutler is still under contract with the Bears through 2020. But since Cutler is 33-years of age, and his only claim to fame is having a strong arm, this is great opportunity for the Bears to move on from him either by trading him, or releasing him. The Bears appear to be a lock as far as obtaining a top-five choice in the 2017 National Football League Draft and Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson could be on Chicago’s roster; especially since there won’t be that many quarterbacks selected in the first round.

The Bears have not lucked out on White who was supposed to give their receiving corps some depth as he is flirting with being a draft bust. The Bears did allow running back Matt Forte to leave last off-season and sign with the New York Jets as running back Jeremy Langford was expected to his heir apparent. But is has been rookie running back Jordan Howard who has been the one to emerge as the Bears top runner. Howard is the Bears leading rusher with 969 yards and he appears to have a bright future with them.

Matt Barkley

Cutler’s injury has paved the way for Matt Barkley to get some reps as the Bears starting quarterback. Barkley has been the Bears starting quarterback in each of the team’s last three games. And although that the Bears record in Barkley’s three starts is 1-2, they’ve had an opportunity to win each contest. One thing that has helped Barkley is that he gets the football out of his hands much quicker than Cutler along with having better footwork as the offense appears to have more cohesion under him. Barkley appears to be the Bears starting quarterback for the final three games as Fox and Pace have to decide who is going to be their signal caller in 2017.

But overall, the Bears must get more athletic on both sides of the football; especially in the trenches. The Bears are currently lacking a game changer on their defensive line, while they need players on their offensive line that can take control of the unit and provide stability as Chicago currently has three offensive lineman that are on injured reserve.

However as grim as it currently is for the Bears, they can take solace in knowing that the National Football League is known for quick turnarounds. Eight teams that finished 2015 with a losing record currently find themselves in contention for the postseason with three weeks remaining in the regular season with one in the Dallas Cowboys having already clinched a playoff berth. And if the Bears are able take care of their business in the off-season which means upgrading the talent, a quick turnaround in 2017 might not be that far-fetched.

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2016 Week 14 NFL Picks

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Quarterback Dak Prescott has the Dallas Cowboys on the verge of an NFC East Title?

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2016 Week 8 NFL Picks

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Will Derek Carr and the Oakland Raiders be able to make it consecutive wins in the State of Florida?

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2016 Week 4 NFL Picks

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The New York Jets need quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to get back on track.

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2016 NFC North Projections

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X-Green Bay Packers 11-5

The Green Bay Packers have been the model of consistency in the National Football League as their seven consecutive trips to the postseason are tied with the New England Patriots for the longest current streak in the league. For Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, the last two Januarys have ended in heartbreaking losses on the road against teams from the NFC West. In January 2015, the NFC Championship Game saw the Packers in control for the majority of the game until the very end when they lost to the Seattle Seahawks. And this past January saw the Packers scrap and claw to force overtime against the Arizona Cardinals before coming apart at the seams during the extra frame. Now the Packers are looking to put all of the playoff disappointment of the recent years behind them and get back to the Super Bowl.

Aaron Rodgers

Luckily for the Packers, they still have Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. Rodgers is a two-time National Football League MVP that is one of the best signal callers in the business. But recently Rodgers ability has masked some of the Packers flaws on offense which can no longer be the case if Green Bay wants to get back to the Super Bowl.

Last year weight issues plagued running back Eddie Lacy as he is an important part of the Packers offense. Lacy only gained 758 rushing yards as he drew the ire of Packers head coach Mike McCarthy due to his conditioning. This off-season has seen Lacy dedicate himself to getting in better shape, and the slimmed down running back should become a bigger contributor in Green Bay’s offense.

 

Rodgers had to go all of 2015 without the services of wide receiver Jordy Nelson who has been his most reliable pass catcher. Nelson tore his ACL last summer, and although that he is back on the Packers roster, it is going to take him some time to regain the form that he had in 2014 when he tallied 1,519 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. In the Packers receiving corps, they also have Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery, and Davante Adams, but somebody needs to step up from this trio and become more consistent.

The Packers offensive line isn’t full of Pro Bowlers or household names, but they have been together for awhile. However Rodgers was sacked 46 times last year which isn’t going to cut it in 2016 if Green Bay wants to win the NFC North.

For Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers, he must find a way to get more usage of outside linebacker Clay Matthews as a pass rusher. In 2014, injuries to the Packers defense forced Matthews to play inside linebacker. Matthews tends to line up at different spots defensively for Green Bay, but he is a better player as an outside linebacker. The Packers used a fourth-round draft pick on inside linebacker Blake Martinez this past April, and if he is ready to fill Green Bay’s void at that position, Matthews should be able to see more time as a pass rusher. Outside linebacker Julius Peppers is 36-years of age, but he still can put plenty of fear into opposing quarterbacks. Peppers is a freak of nature and there is a strong possibility that when this season is over, he will be in the top-five on the National Football League’s all-time list for sacks.

There is plenty of potential for the Packers in their secondary, but it is just a matter of whether or not that cornerbacks Sam Shields and Damarious Randall, along with free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and strong safety Morgan Burnett will come to play on a weekly basis.

Kicker Mason Crosby can be shaky at times on field goals, but he is still a player that McCarthy relies on, while punter Tim Masthay has the strong leg needed for when the temperature drops during the Wisconsin winter.

The Packers have a chance to set the tone for themselves early as three of their first six games will come against the foes from the NFC North as they know that they must scrap and claw to win this division.

Y-Minnesota Vikings 11-5

 

Last year saw everything beginning to come together for the Minnesota Vikings as they won the NFC North for the first time since 2009, but they suffered a heart breaking loss in the NFC Wild Card Game to the Seattle Seahawks. The Vikings are hopeful that they can learn from that experience as they look to make it consecutive postseason appearances for the first time since 2009 as they are set to begin life in their new home of U.S. Bank Stadium in Downtown Minneapolis.

Mike Zimmer

For Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer it has not taken him that long to make Minnesota a contender once again as he has two years under his belt. Zimmer has always preached having a strong defense, while he also has an offense that can take care of the football.

Running back Adrian Peterson is set to begin his tenth season in the National Football League. But unlike most 31-year old running backs, Peterson isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Peterson gained 1,485 yards last year, however he led the league in carries with 327 as it marked the fourth time in his career that toted the rock at least 300 times in a campaign. Peterson is still extremely vital to the Vikings offense as his running ability sets up the pass. And as Peterson will look to keep his legs churning, another 1,000-yard campaign on the ground will put him in the top 10 on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.

But as Peterson is still important to the Vikings offense, is quarterback Teddy Bridgewater ready to take the next step? From the early stages of Bridgewater’s National Football League career, he doesn’t appear to be a quarterback that is going to be hot commodity in fantasy football, but he has been accurate to the tune of completing 65.3% of his passes last season. However Minnesota’s passing offense was 31st in the NFL in 2015 as they have been know to shy away from taking chances down the field which is something that must change if the Vikings want to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. And that will come down to whether or not that Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turnver is ready to take the kid gloves off of his young quarterback.

Stefon Diggs

Last year as a rookie, wide receiver Stefon Diggs showed promise as he averaged 13.8 yards per catch, but he will need to develop more consistency with Bridgewater. Tight end Kyle Rudolph is still a very dependable pass catcher at his position while the Vikings have high hopes for rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.

But make no mistake about it that Minnesota’s team has a blue-collar feel to it which starts with their defense. Defensively the Vikings were 13th in total defense as they have a unit that can get after opponents.

The Vikings defensive line might not be “The Purple People Eaters” of the 1970’s, but they can still bring the noise. The combination of defensive ends Everson Griffen and Brian Robison, along with defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd have the potential to combine for 25 sacks, while at least one member of the quartet could end up in the Pro Bowl.

Chad Greenway

Minnesota has solid corner linebackers in Anthony Barr and Chad Greenway, but their secondary is littered with play makers such as free safety Harrison Smith which is important in a division such as the NFC North that has Pro Bowl caliber quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.

Since joining the Vikings in 2012, kicker Blair Walsh has been one of the more accurate kickers in the National Football League, but he must put last year’s meltdown in the playoffs behind him. Last year Walsh had a field goal percentage of 87.2 which included making six kicks from beyond 50 yards and his strong right leg will have an impact on the upcoming season for the Vikings.

It won’t take us long to see if the Vikings are for real as in Week 2 they will host the Packers which will be followed by a trip to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers who are the defending NFC Champions. But comes Christmas, Minnesota should still have plenty to play for.

Chicago Bears 9-7

2015 was an up and down year for the Chicago Bears as they finished with a record of 6-10. It marked the fifth consecutive season in which the Bears failed to qualify for the postseason which is their longest stretch since 1995-2000. And during the Bears current streak, they have employed three different head coaches over that stretch. But however the Bears appear to be committed to their current head coach in John Fox. Fox is coming off of his first year in Chicago and he knows a thing or two about turning around struggling franchises from his previous work as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos respectively.

Jay Cutler

After leading the National Football League in interceptions in 2014 with 18, quarterback Jay Cutler threw just 11 in 2015. Cutler improved under offensive coordinator Adam Gase last year. But Gase is now the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Dowell Loggains was the Bears quarterbacks coach last year and he will now take over the play calling duties with Gase being in Miami and he must continue to build off of what Chicago’s former offensive coordinator was able to accomplish with Cutler last season.

What helped Cutler improve as a quarterback in 2015 was the fact that he began to trust throwing the football to his running backs as opposed to simply trying to force his passes down the field. Last year Bears running backs accounted for nearly 70 receptions and Jeremy Langford could once have a big impact in Chicago.

Jeremy Langford

After the Bears parted with longtime running back Matt Forte this off-season, Langford should take a bigger role in Chicago’s offense this year. Langford only averaged 3.6 yards per carry as a rookie in 2015, but I expect him to be a guy that gets at least 20 carries per game, and he can also be a solid contributor on swing and screen passes.

Kevin White

Last year saw the Bears use a first-round pick on wide receiver Kevin White, but a shin injury prevented him from taking the field. Now 2016 will be White’s de facto rookie season as he theoretically gives the Bears another first-round pick this season. White’s presence should take some of the pressure off of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery as the Bears look to open up the passing game some more.

As Fox and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio are in their second year with the Bears, they’ve gone about putting more play makers on that side of the football. The Bears have high hopes for outside linebacker Leonard Floyd who was their first-round pick this past spring. At 6’6″, 240 lbs., Floyd has a slender build, but the Bears are optimistic that he will have a smooth transition to the National Football League. The Bears also have outside linebackers that can rush the passer in Willie Young and Lamarr Houston as this is a part of their arsenal that will be needed as they look to compete with the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.

The Bears first six opponents this season did not make the playoffs last year, and a quick start could be just what the doctor ordered as they look to sneak up on the Packers and Vikings in the NFC North.

Detroit Lions 6-10

Last year was an up and down one for the Detroit Lions as they began the season with a record of 0-5 only to rebound and finish 7-9. Assistant coaches were dropping like flies while general manager Martin Mayhew was also relieved of his duties and replaced by Bob Quinn. But somehow Jim Caldwell was able to maintain his post as the Lions head coach. And although that Caldwell was able to avoid the chopping block this past January, he is still on the hot seat and he’ll be fighting an uphill battle to get the Lions back to the postseason after missing out on it in 2015.

It is going to be difficult for the Lions to replace the contributions of wide receiver Calvin Johnson who decided to retire after nine seasons in the National Football League as his presence alone caused matchup issues for opposing defenses. And in Johnson’s final season with the Lions, he led the team in receptions (88), receiving yards (1,214), and touchdowns (9) as quarterback Matthew Stafford is going to now have to rely on committee of wide receivers where nobody stands out.

One of the Lions biggest issues in 2015 was their inability to run the football. The Lions were last in the National Football League in rushing with rookie running back Ameer Abdullah being their leading rusher with just 597 yards. Abdullah’s struggles summed up the Lions issues on offense which began with their offensive line. The Lions were never able to get the right combination on their offensive line which made their offense one dimensional, while Stafford was running for his life in the pocket.

Ezekiel Ansah

Defensively the Lions do have a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in defensive end Ziggy Ansah who had 14.5 sacks last year, but overall this is a unit that lacks play makers as they could once again be fighting an uphill battle in the NFC North.

Three of the Lions first four games here in 2016 will be on the road, with two of those contests coming against NFC North foes in the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears as another slow start will get the folks in Motown gearing up to run Caldwell out of town.

X-Division Winner

Y-Clinched Wild Card

Source: Pro-football-reference.com

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2016 NFC North Draft Grades

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Minnesota Vikings

Grade: B

First Round Pick: Laquon Treadwell-Wide Receiver-Ole Miss

Best Pick: Laquon Treadwell

For the first time since 2010, the Minnesota Vikings entered the National Football League Draft as NFC North Champions. And this time around the Vikings are looking to build off of last year’s success in the hopes of winning the franchise’s first Super Bowl Championship. Teddy Bridgewater is entrenched as the Vikings starting quarterback, but Minnesota has not had a signal caller pass for at least 4,000 yards in a season since Brett Favre in 2009.

Laquon Treadwell

The Vikings were 31st in the National Football League last year in passing offense, and first step to remedying that was using their first-round pick on Mississippi Rebels wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. Treadwell gives the Vikings a solid option at wide receiver, but he will have to work on his consistency as far as route running, and catches.

Minnesota knows that they’ll once again have to go through the Green Bay Packers in order to win the NFC North which means that they are going to have to find a way to neutralize quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In the second round, the Vikings looked to add another play maker in their secondary when they drafted Clemson Tigers cornerback Mackensie Alexander. In two years at Clemson, Alexander showed solid coverage skills, and he should be able to continue honing those skills as he can learn from veterans in the Vikings secondary such as Terrance Newman and Captain Munnerlyn.

The rest of the National Football League Draft was pretty pedestrian for the Vikings, but they are hopeful that the additions of Treadwell and Alexander can make them a legitimate Super Bowl contender this year.

Green Bay Packers

Grade: B+

First Round Pick: Kenny Clark-Defensive Tackle-UCLA

Best Pick: Round Four-Blake Martinez-Inside Linebacker-Stanford

Under general manager Ted Thompson, the Green Bay Packers haven’t been known for drafting players that were superstars in college, but more of the variety that fit into their system and this year was no different. The Packers came into the 2016 National Football League Draft knowing that they had a hole to fill on their defensive line after the sudden retirement of nose tackle B.J. Raji.

The Packers would use the 27th overall pick on UCLA Bruins defensive tackle Kenny Clark. At 6’3″, 310 lbs., Clark has solid size to be a nose tackle in the National Football League and the big fella is athletic as he was second on UCLA’s team last season in tackles with 75.

Blake Martinez

But in the fourth round of the National Football League Draft, the Packers found themselves a bargain in Stanford Cardinal inside linebacker Blake Martinez. The last two years have seen Martinez lead the Stanford defense in tackles which included 140 in 2015. Martinez is a very instinctive football player who’s presence should allow Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers to shift Clay Mattews back to outside linebacker where he’ll able to rush the quarterback more frequently.

Detroit Lions

Grade: B

First Round Pick: Taylor Decker-Offensive Tackle-Ohio State

Best Pick: A’Shawn Robinson-Defensive Tackle-Alabama

If you followed the Detroit Lions during the 2015 National Football League season you know that this was a team that struggled in the trenches on both sides of the football which was the area that the team’s new general manager Bob Quinn concentrated on the most during the NFL Draft last month. The Lions used their first-round pick on Ohio State Buckeyes offensive tackle Taylor Decker. Coming into the draft process I viewed Decker as going later in the first round, but there was a run on left tackles that forced the Lions to use the 16th overall pick on him. Decker does come to the Lions as an All-American along with being the Big Ten Conference’s Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2015. At 6’7″, 310 lbs., Decker has great size to be a left tackle in the NFL which could be a welcoming sight to Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford who has been sacked 89 times over the last two years.

A’Shawn Robinson

Like the offensive line for the Lions, their defensive line was in need of help, and in the second round, Detroit would select Alabama Crimson Tide defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson. During his time at Alabama, Robinson was a menace to opposing offenses in the Southeastern Conference as all he did was eat up space. Now the Lions are hopeful that Robinson can bring that same production to Motown along with his winning persona.

The third round round would see the Lions keep the trend of the trenches going when they selected Michigan Wolverines center Graham Glasgow, while Washington State Cougars guard Joe Dahl was selected in the fifth round, and Penn State Nittany Lions defensive tackle Anthony Zettel was their selection as Detroit is hopeful that this is dawn of a new brand of physical football for them.

Chicago Bears

Grade: B

First Round Pick: Leonard Floyd-Outside Linebacker-Georgia

Best Pick: Leonard Floyd

Leonard Floyd

For the first time since 2000, the Chicago Bears are coming off of consecutive last place finished. And like the Detroit Lions in the NFC North, the Bears have to get back to playing a physical brand of football. The Bears were aggressive in the early stages of the National Football League Draft when they made a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move ahead of the New York Giants in order to select Georgia Bulldogs outside linebacker Leonard Floyd with the ninth overall selection. The Bears now find themselves running a 3-4 defensive scheme, and they need that prototypical outside linebacker/defensive end that can rush the passer. At 6’6″, 244 lbs., Floyd has that size along with speed as he is expected to become an impact player for them in 2016.

The Bears used their second round pick on Kansas State Wildcats guard Cody Whitehair as they are looking to sure up their protection of quarterback Jay Cutler. In the third round the Bears picked Florida Gators defensive end Jonathan Bullard. At 6’4″, 283 lbs., Bullard could be a hybrid player, but I see the Bears using him more as a defensive end in their 3-4 system where he could still have a very solid impact for them.

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