The NFL Draft is officially over so it is time to hand out NFL Draft Grades! These NFL Draft Grades will cover all 32 teams who will be graded based on who they picked, team needs, and their overall draft process. Here are the NFL Draft Grades for the NFC North.
Chicago Bears: D
The Bears were one of my biggest losers from this draft. Last year they moved up to take a franchise quarterback in Justin Fields. With some obvious deficiencies to the offensive line and wide receivers he struggled in his rookie year. In free agency they lost their starting left tackle, right guard, and number one wide receiver. They made some minor additions to the positions with Lucas Patrick, Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown, but nothing substantial. They came into this draft with three Day 2 selections and spent two of them on the defense. Their final pick of Day 2, was for a wide receiver who is older than Fields, and regarded more for his return ability than offensive prowess.
They threw mud on the wall with four offensive line selections on Day 3, but again nothing that will make Justin Fields feel any more protected. Compared to the New York Jets (again SO much praise for the Jets???) who have done everything to support their young QB, the Bears are throwing Fields to wolves for a second straight season.
The only reason this is not an “F”, is because those two defensive players they took in the second round I do like a lot. They’ll be good players. They’ll just end up keeping Fields on the field more running for his life and throwing to players who can’t make a play.
Detroit Lions: A-
Now for some positivity! I LOVE what the Lions did in this draft. They didn’t overthink the second overall pick. They also double-dipped at edge with Josh Paschal in the second round. Paschal and Aidan Hutchinson will finally give the Lions a pass rush to go with their young defensive backfield. Which always has some talent, but is put in a position year after year where they have to defend for eight or nine seconds at a time. Now the Lions can pair rush and coverage, which should greatly improve their defense.
I also loved their aggressiveness to trade back into the first round and take Jameson Williams. Arguably the top receiver in this class, Williams gives the Lions a true WR1 which they haven’t had since 2019 Kenny Golladay. Williams rounds out a nice WR unit and gives Detroit now a complete offense. They’re well positioned to add a QB to this group next year for a good offense.
The rest of their draft was fine. I like Chase Lucas in the seventh round a lot, and they hit positions of need in the middle of the draft. But it was the first two rounds for me that knocked it out of the park.
Green Bay Packers: B+
It’s not being talked about much, but the Packers actually had a really nice draft. Obviously the jokes are being made that they not only didn’t take a receiver in the first round, but they went defense with both Day 1 picks! That said they got two good players in Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt from that stellar Georgia unit.
They did cover their WR needs however through the rest of the draft. Christian Watson (R2), Romeo Doubs (R4) and Samouri Toure (R7) are all good receivers in various parts of the draft. They also added to their offensive line depth after Lucas Patrick and Billy Turner left in free agency. Their third offensive line selection might’ve been their best. They took Rasheed Walker, who many considered a Day 2 talent, in the seventh round.
Minnesota Vikings: B
The Vikings made a lot of moves over the course of the draft. And I don’t have a high enough degree in mathematics to go through it all for you. I charted the trades at home, and ended up doing the Charlie meme from “It’s Always Sunny”. To boil it down to the nuts and bolts, they went from having three picks in the first four rounds, to four. They also added two more picks to the last three rounds of the draft. A lot of movement for a couple more bites at the apple, but not much.
Now most importantly – who they got. I actually liked what they did. Defensive Back was their biggest position of need. And when they lost out on the top two corners, they traded back and got two first round talents in Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth Jr. Now the risk of that is Booth has an injury history, and they could’ve just taken Kyle Hamilton at 12 and called it a day. So they come out just OK from that. But they traded two for one, and got two players I like. Trading back from 12 to 32, gave them the ammo to move up to 42 to take Booth.
They went with Ed Ingram in the second round, who I like, it was just two rounds early for me. Brian Asamoah is a Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah type linebacker who will bring some needed speed to the position. Two Day 3 picks I like are Akayleb Evans who is another nice cornerback prospect in the fourth, and Jalen Nailor who is a deep threat receiver in the sixth.
Be sure to follow along as I give NFL Draft Grades for all 32 teams, right here on Fantom Sports! And for more draft content you can listen to my podcast, the Simon Shortt Podcast, on Apple and Spotify!
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