As the dust settles on another NFL draft, I’ve crept behind enemy lines of the Bears NFC North foes to see what they did last weekend. If you missed my review of the Bears’ draft, check it out here. On with the rest of the NFC North…
Nowhere to go but up, coming off an 0-16 mark. Grab a potential franchise QB with Matthew Stafford at #1 and pay a ridonkulous amount of money to a rookie who has never taken an NFL snap. Somebody’s got to step in and do something about a rookie wage scale, but that’s a LOWER THE BOOM post in the making. With their second pick, #20 overall, the Lions grabbed tight end Brandon Pettigrew, the consensus #1 TE in the draft. Add safety Louis Delmas from Western Michigan to the mix at the top of the third round and you expect at least the first three picks to contribute right away.
To be honest, I am surprised the Lions didn’t go defense with their second pick of the first round. You’ve hired a defensive oriented coach and are in the process of changing to a 3-4 defense, yet you don’t take a front-7 player until the 12th pick of the 3rd round? And it’s great that you took a QB with your first pick, but you need to protect him, don’t you? No O-linemen until the 7th round?
Make no mistake about it, this draft class is all about Stafford for the Lions. If he is successful, this will be looked on as a good draft. Generally speaking, rookie QB’s don’t make an immediate positive impact, but as Matt Ryan showed last season with the Falcons, that is not always the case. Somehow I think Urlacher, Briggs, Tommie Harris and company will be looking forward to making the acquaintance of young Mr. Stafford and giving him a warm Chicago Bear welcome to the NFL.
The Packers loaded up their re-vamping defense with a pair of 1st round picks of their own. Defensive Tackle BJ Raji will prove to be a challenge for Olin Kreutz and the Bears offensive line while Clay Matthews should add some versatility to an already solid front-7 for the Pack. It will be interesting to see how they make the change to the 3-4, but unlike the Lions, they actually drafted players in an effort to make this change.
The Vikes took the biggest gamble among NFC North foes in the 1st round, selecting Florida wideout Percy Harvin. Harvin has freakish speed and his raw talent that combined with Purple Jesus Adrian Peterson could cause the Bears and other defenses around the league many headaches. Harvin slid down some draft boards due some character concerns and a positive marijuana test at the NFL Combine. The Vikings are not shy taking high risk/high reward receivers, like one Randy Moss back in the late 90’s.
Too bad they don’t have anyone to get him the ball. Frankly, I’m surprised the Vikes didn’t take a QB somewhere in this draft to try to find a hidden gem or at least get a developmental project. Leave it to Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson to duke it out for the primary hander-offer to Adrian Peterson, I mean, quarterback.
Minnesota looked to bolster their running game by taking a ‘Wide Load,’ 330 lb. Philip Loadholt to anchor the right tackle spot and open some running lanes for AP. They added some depth to there defense with picks in the 3rd, 5th and 7th round selections.
Regardless of their draft, the key to the Vikings’ success is still Adrian Peterson. If AP is good and the Vikes D is what is has been in recent years, Minnesota will be competitive. It will be interesting to see what happens with the pending suspensions of the Williams boys. If they get a couple of games off, that would go a long way to helping stall the Vikes right out of the gate.