All seven rounds of the NFL draft occurred last weekend at the famous Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look at who the teams from the NFC North acquired in the draft, and how they stack up against each other.
The Bears’ next pick was in the third round when they selected Brandon Hardin, a safety from Oregon State. Hardin is relatively unknown right now; he missed his whole senior season because of injury. He is a big athletic safety that fits the system in Chicago, but it was still a reach.
In the fourth round, the Bears took the first fullback in the draft, when they chose Evan Rodriguez, out of Temple. It was a reach, but he will fill a role on offense and special teams.
The Bears ended the draft by taking defensive backs in rounds six and seven. Isaiah Frey, out of Nevada, and Greg McCoy, from Texas Christian, were not very hyped prospects before the draft and seemed to possibly be undrafted free agents. The Bears drafted them for a reason, but they’ll have to monitor their progression. The Bears made two very good selections at the top, and then had some head scratcher picks. Overall they get a draft grade of B-.
The Lions finished their draft with a strong pick when they took another player out of Oklahoma, Travis Lewis. At linebacker, Lewis is a great pick based on value. He could have gone as early as the third round, but fell all the way to the seventh.
This was another strong draft by the Lions who filled needs and added some great depth. They get a grade of B+.
With their first pick, the Vikings addressed their biggest need by selecting Matt Kalil, tackle from USC. Kalil is a stud on the offensive line and will be a force for the Vikings for years to come. The Vikings then traded back up at the end of the first, and got Harrison Smith, safety from Notre Dame. Smith will come in right away and start for the Vikings to improve the NFL’s worst pass defense.
The Vikings’ next selection was in the third round where they again addressed their secondary by getting Josh Robinson, a cornerback from Central Florida. Robinson ran the fastest time at the NFL combine and is a player that will battle for playing time this year. He could be a solid starter in a couple of years. The Vikings had three picks in the fourth round, and with two of them they took Arkansas wide receivers.
Jarius Wright is a burner that has great leaping ability. He will also be a good return-man option. Greg Childs is a tall athletic receiver that would have been taken in the third, had he not been injured during the season last year. Childs has the potential to start this year for the Vikings. In an interesting side note, Childs and Wright will have now played high school, college and professional football together on the same team.
With their other pick in the fourth, the Vikings took fullback/tight end hybrid, Rhett Ellison. Ellison is a reach, but has a very good chance to come in and play a big role for the Vikings, taking over for former fan favorite Jim Kleinsasser. In the fifth, the Vikings took another member of the Notre Dame secondary with Robert Blanton. Blanton is a great pick, as he can play both safety and corner and could start this year at either position.
With their sixth round pick, Minnesota added Blair Walsh, a kicker from Georgia. It may come as a surprise, but Walsh could develop into one of the better kickers in the NFL. He already has the ability to make 60-yard field goals. With their two seventh round picks, the Vikings added depth at two positions with Audie Cole, a linebacker from North Carolina State, and Trevor Guyton, a defensive tackle from California. Both picks are very good values, as either player could have been taken in the fifth. The Vikings added some talent and traded two picks from this year for future picks. Overall, it was a very smart draft for the Vikings. They get a grade of A-.
The Packers finished the draft with two great value picks in the seventh round. First they selected Andrew Datko, offensive lineman from Florida State. Datko was looked at as a possible first round pick, but was injured his senior year. With their next pick the Pack grabbed Aaron Rodgers’ future back up with B.J. Coleman from Tennessee- Chattanooga. Coleman is raw, but could be a very good quarterback in the league. Overall, the Packers addressed all their needs and got great value. They get an A+.