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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

First Round Pick Analysis By Division: NFC North

Chicago Bears:

Expected to make the switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme, this team is further riddled with holes, as if it weren't already. Free agents Jarvis Jenkins, Ray McDonald, and Mason Foster should do fine in part-time roles while Pernell McPhee looks primed for the starting gig, but beyond that this defense is filled with a bunch of misfits. Nose tackle, inside linebacker, and cornerback are all primary holes on defense, while a speed receiver and right tackle are needed on offense. This is a deep receiver class, so they can wait on one of those, but it gets tricky after that. Linebacker and corner can be filled in the second round, but there is not much in the third or later, while they cannot wait until Day 3 for a tackle. To make matters worse, it is almost certain that they will not get a starting-quality nose if they pass on Danny Shelton in the first and do not trade up back into the first for either Jordan Phillips or Eddie Goldman. There are not enough picks for them to fill all of their needs, but that has to be expected when you make a scheme change like this. One thing is for sure though, nose tackle is their best bet in the first round.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Danny Shelton - NT   Washington

2.) Trae Waynes - CB   Michigan St.

3.) Kevin White - WR   West Virginia

Detroit Lions:

The Lions have gaping holes at left guard and defensive tackle after losing their two previous incumbents and are still in need of an receiver, end, and corner. Defensive tackle is the biggest need, with guys like Tyrunn Walker and Caraun Reid set to split time if the position is not addressed by the season's start. Jordan Phillips and Eddie Goldman are first-round possibilities, but Grady Jarrett out of Clemson is a perfect fit for them, who they can pick up in the second, or third if they are lucky. Guard is not a position they should address in the first round, with talent like A.J. Cann in the second and Josue Matias in the third. Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate create one of the better pass-catching tandems in the league and with Eric Ebron expected to emerge as a top-tier tight end, depth is the only issue there. Ezekiel Ansah has shown plenty of promise and has had solid production, but opposite of him there is an uninspiring group of guys like Jason Jones and Devin Taylor. They will not trade up to get one of the highly coveted edge rushers, but if one falls to them, do not be surprised if they pick him up. Darius Slay had a breakout year while they resigned nickel corner Rashean Mathis, but they need another guy to play outside. Bill Bently and Don Carey have not shown the ability to do so adequately so it is one that must be addressed early one.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Shane Ray - DE   Missouri

2.) Jalen Collins - CB   LSU

3.) Marcus Peters - CB   Washington

Green Bay Packers:

Despite drafting Richard Rodgers in last year's draft, tight end is still a need, while they must shore up the middle of their defense. The better tight end prospects still project as Day 2 picks while they resigned B.J. Raji and Letroy Guinn, which may indicate that they will not address the position early in the draft. That leaves inside linebacker, and risers Eric Kendricks and Stephone Anthony seen as possible first-round picks. Teams ahead of them like the Cardinals and Colts have a need inside too, so they might pick up the two prospects, so one option for the Packers is to trade up, preferrably ahead of the Cardinals. If they do not trade up and both players are gone by 30, then either Bernardrick McKinney in the first or Denzel Perryman in the second will have to suffice.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Eric Kendricks - ILB   UCLA

2.) Stephone Anthony - ILB   Clemson

3.) Bernardrick McKinney - ILB   Mississippi St.

Minnesota Vikings:

The Vikings can become playoff contenders next year, especially if they are able to keep Adrian Peterson, but they still have their fair share of positional needs. At receiver they have speedster Mike Wallace and slot specialist Jarius Wright, but beyond they have Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson, neither of which have proven that they have what it takes to be full-time starters. The best fit at receiver would be a big-bodied possession receiver, with DeVante Parker, Jaelen Strong, and Dorial Green-Beckham being early draft options. Guard is also a need, but Joe Berger works as a makeshift starter, at least one better than what they have some of the other positions. Everson Griffen developed into a quality end last year, recording 12 sacks, but they need someone better than Brian Robison to play on the other side. Former third-round pick Scott Crichton though, deserves some time to develop, so they will likely not pick a defensive end until Day 3, unless a player of immense talent falls right into their laps. As for corner, Xavier Rhodes has developed into a great player along the perimeter while Captain Munnerlyn plays the slot well, but Josh Robinson has been exploited too often for them to pass on one early in the draft.

Top Three Prospects:

1.) Trae Waynes - CB   Michigan St.

2.) DeVante Parker - WR   Louisville

3.) Marcus Peters - CB   Washington


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