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2015 NFL Draft Grades: NFC North

May 5, 2015

Chicago Bears

Pre-draft analysis: The Bears are a team with a lot of talent but are hampered by their mediocre QB and their lack of an identity. The offense appears set though a QB to push Jay Cutler or a WR to help replace Brandon Marshall would make sense. The defense is a mess and is converting from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 scheme. You can make the case that every position could use either a starter or improved depth with 3-4 OLB being possibly the lone exception.

Best Impact Pick: Kevin White-He is one of 5 players I designated as an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate and should immediately replace Brandon Marshall who was starting to show signs of decline.

Best Value Pick: Hroniss Granu-He was my #2 center and a 2nd round pick on my board so to get him as the #4 center and in the 3rd round was a steal. I also think that he and Kyle Long, former teammates, could be an elite duo as you won’t find a more athletic interior combo in the league.

Worst Value Pick: Eddie Goldman-Some people actually saw this pick as a steal as there were some 1st round grades on Goldman. I am not one of those people as I saw a mediocre 3-4 NT that lacks the athleticism to ever be more than a run stuffer. I know they needed some size at the position since they are converting to a 3-4 scheme but Jordan Phillips was still on the board and I think will have a much better career.

Overall: I love two of the Bears picks with Kevin White and Hroniss Granu. Jeremy Langford and Adrian Amos are solid middle round picks and Eddie Goldman at least makes sense in terms of the 3-4 scheme switch so overall it was a very solid draft but I downgraded it due to the Goldman reach and the fact that Langord seems to be replacing Ka’Deem Carey which to me is too early to give up on that young talent. B

 

Detroit Lions

Pre-draft analysis: Their skill positions are about as set as any team in the NFL with Stafford, Johnson, Tate and newly added Eric Ebron but their OL is mediocre at all five spots and their running backs are serviceable but not explosive. On defense they lost two of their three best players in Ndamakung Suh and Nick Fairley and only replaced them with an aging Haloti Ngata who is a two down player at this stage of his career. The LB corp is a strength and there is talent on the back end but they have a starting CB and S that probably should be the #3 CB and #3 S.

Best Impact Pick: Ameer Abdullah-For the second time in 12 write ups I am not going with the 1st pick as Abdullah to me looks like a potential Day 1 starter for them. Joique Bell should still get the short yardage and goal line duties but if Abdullah can hang onto the ball he could be a 1,000 yard rusher in this offense.

Best Value Pick: Quandre Diggs-I know he had an up and down career but Diggs at one time had a 2nd round grade on my board, settled into an early 4th round grade, so to get him in the 6th round is a steal.

Worst Value Pick: Laken Tomlinson-First off I hate taking guards in the 1st round, second off I didn’t see Tomlinson as that rare 1st round talent at guard and third off I didn’t even see Tomlinson as the best guard still available, La’el Collins and AJ Cann had higher grades to me. This was a reach in so many ways as I don’t see Tomlinson as any more talented than the guy he’ll be starting opposite from, Larry Warford, whom they took in the 3rd round a few years ago.

Overall: This is a tough draft to grade as I love the Abdullah, Gabe Wright and Quandre Diggs picks but thought the Tomlinson pick was arguably the worst pick in the 1st round and didn’t see a ton of talent in S Alex Carter (3rd round) or RB Michael Burton (5th round). C+

 

Green Bay Packers

Pre-draft analysis: On offense they appear to be loaded except at TE and OT where they are comfortably set but only with mediocre starters. On defense there are obvious holes at both inside linebacker spots and they have no depth at CB.

Best Impact Pick: Damarious Randall-He’s a quality slot CB or FS depending on how they play him and should be another ball hawk on their back end. I fully agree with Ted Thompson’s belief that you draft guys with ball skills as Casey Heyward, Sam Shields and Morgan Burnett all are guys who’ve had 5 INTs or more in a season. Randall will fit in nicely.

Best Value Pick: Brett Hundley-Rodgers isn’t going anywhere but I still love the pick as Hundley has the tools to be a Top 15 QB and that is rare to find, let alone in the 5th round. I honestly can’t believe teams that had an aging starting QB like the Cowboys, Chargers, Broncos, Patriots and Steelers passed on Hundley so many times. He seems like the perfect guy to let sit for 2 years and then determine what you have after he’s been in an NFL offense and given time to develop.

Worst Value Pick: Quinten Rollins-I love the kid’s story as a 4 year starter at point guard who decided to take up football his final year in college to become the conference defensive player of the year. Unfortunately he’s more of a nice story than an elite prospect in my opinion as he doesn’t have great speed and was pretty poor at the Senior Bowl. CB PJ Williams was still on the board when they took Rollins and I suspect Williams will be a vastly better player in 3 years.

Overall: I liked a lot of the picks but I still question why ILB wasn’t addressed except for a 4th round pick as to me it was their most obvious need. The Packers didn’t have a lot of holes so the case can be made that they should have moved up in the 2nd round for Benardrick McKinney who could be an impact 3-4 ILB from Day 1. Randall, Ty Montgomery and Hundley were all picks I liked though so not a horrible draft by any means. B-

 

Minnesota Vikings

Pre-draft analysis: On offense the team looks pretty set at every position though their guards aren’t impressive and Matt Kalil has struggled at times the past 3 years so the team could be open to replacing him. Their DL is solid, though a DT could be added, they have two great linebackers but have a hole in the middle and they have two former 1st rounders at CB and S but could use starters next to them.

Best Impact Pick: Trae Waynes-I thought Waynes was the #3 CB in this draft so taking him #1 wasn’t value in my eyes. That being said I do like the fit of Waynes with Xavier Rhodes as Rhodes is a behemoth CB with poor quickness but elite length and Waynes ran a 4.31 40 so it’d make sense to have Waynes paired against the smaller, faster wideouts and Xavier against the bigger, stronger types. I still think Waynes projects as just a good cornerback and you don’t draft a CB #11 to be good, you draft him there to be great.

Best Value Pick: TJ Clemmings-I thought Clemmings was one of the 3 best value picks in the entire draft. What is even more impressive than getting a 1st round talent in the 4th round is that he couldn’t be a better fit as he can be the swing tackle as a rookie and if he develops the Vikings could cut Kalil and save themselves $11 million in 2016.

Worst Value Pick: Mycole Pruitt-I scouted the tight end class and never heard of Mr. Pruitt. It was an odd pick in the 5th round especially since they have a borderline Pro Bowler in Kyle Rudolph already at the position.

Overall: The Vikings had a good draft overall with solid picks early in Waynes and Eric Kendricks and then took two shots at greatness in DE Danielle Hunter and OT TJ Clemmings. Both of those guys have Pro Bowl potential and can be backups as rookies while the team works to develop them. WR Stefon Diggs in the 5th and OT Tyrus Thompson in the 6th rounded out what was overall a good mix of reliability and potential. The Vikings had one of the most underrated drafts this year. A

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