The NFC North flipped about half way through the season. The Vikings got off to a hot, undefeated, start and the Packers looked like they were heading toward a losing record. At the end of the day the better team finished in first and the Vikings missed the playoffs. While the Packers had a nice run in the playoffs and the Lions were able to make the playoffs even after the loss of Megatron all of these teams have major flaws. Every team seems to have major holes on both sides of the ball. This draft is going to be intricate in deciding where they will stand in the NFC as hole. Ultimately this draft could decide the division winner…except for the Bears, they have a long way to go.
Biggest Addition: Mike Glennon
Biggest Loss: Alshon Jeffrey
The Bears were abysmal last season. They were not a very inspired team to watch on either side of the ball outside of Howard running the ball. With the addition of Mike Glennon it seems as though they are trying to do something different to build this team back up. They did lose Alshon Jeffrey who was their most proven player overall. Where I believe they should start is the safety position. While they did sign the veteran Quintin Demps with a top end strong safety. The Bears defense forced an NFL record worst of eleven turnovers according to CBS Sports. They also had a team record worst eight interceptions according to CBS Sports. This team needs play makers in the secondary. While they made some additions to the corner position, they need to add a play maker to the back end of their defense to compliment those moves and start to build up this defense.
The Bears second biggest need in my opinion is the 5 technique defensive end position. The Bears ranked 27th in rush defense last season giving up 121.9 yards per game according to UPI.com. With Jonathan Bullard having a tough season and Mitch Unrein not being the play maker they need, adding 5 technique would really help this front seven. Pairing a guy like Jonathan Allen with their nose tackle Eddie Goldman, the fortunes of this defensive line would change drastically. It would also help a guy like Leonard Floyd at the next level make more plays.
The final position of need for the Bears is wide receiver. While this team has many holes, if you add a new quarterback you need to provide him with legitimate weapons in order to succeed. Although they added Markus Wheaton and Kendall Wright they did lose Alshon Jeffrey. Those two along with Cameron Meredith and Eddy Royal isn’t exactly the most dangerous receiving corps in the league. With a new young quarterback the Bears need to give him as many legitimate weapons as possible in order to be successful. Adding a young receiver to this corps of decent veterans would be a good start to helping out Glennon.
Biggest Addition: Rick Wagner
Biggest Loss: Riley Reiff
Even though the Lions sputtered out at the end of the season it was a big step in the right direction. They were a lot better than many people thought they would be. With that being said they are still a very flawed team and need to add talent in a lot of different areas. One of their biggest areas of need is linebacker. With DeAndre Levy out the Lions don’t really have much depth at this position. They signed Paul Worrilow and they also have Tahir Whitehead and Atwione Williams, but ultimately none of these guys really jump off the page at you. With the 18th ranked defense last season they need to have a play maker in the middle of it.
The second position of need for the Lions is wide receiver. Even if Boldin were to return the Lions do not have much depth if any. Outside of Golden Tate and Marvin Jones the Lions are weak at the position. TJ Jones and Jace Billingsley aren’t exactly exciting young receivers. On top of that Tate and Jones are in their late twenties and aren’t getting any younger. Tate and Jones are also a better fit as number two receivers, if they could grab a young play maker into the mix this offense can really become something dangerous.
The third position of need is running back. Although not many people are talking about it the Lions are desperate for a running back. They ranked 30th in rush offense only averaging 81.9 yards on the ground per game. Even though Abdullah was hurt he isn’t necessarily proven to be a top end back. Riddick is a good receiving back, but outside of him they need a bell cow at the position. Dwayne Washington and Zack Zenner just couldn’t get it done. Even with Abdullah coming back I feel as though adding a back who can carry the ball more than twenty times per game. This would also help open up the offense even more for Matt Stafford.
Green Bay Packers
Biggest Addition: Martellus Bennett
Biggest Loss: Micah Hyde
The Packers had one heck of a finish to the season. Even though they got blown out by the Falcons in the NFC Championship game, they had a fun run to that point. Even though they were fun to watch they have a lot of holes to fill. With the way they went out last season I think it is no surprise that their biggest need is corner back. While not having Shields hurt them I do not believe he would have solved all of their problems. The Packers were 31st in pass defense last season according to UPI.com. With Davon House, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, and LaDarius Gunter being their top corners I believe it would be wise for the Packers to add another young play maker to the mix. This would be wise to do this draft because of the amount of depth in this year’s class.
The Packers second biggest position of need is running back. With the loss of Eddie Lacy and James Starks there is a major lack of depth at this position for the Packers. While Montgomerey is a nice back, the Packers won’t be able to run consistently with him being their every down back for 16 games. The only way for this passing game to stay as affective as it is now they need to at least have the threat of a run game. They ranked 20th in rush offense last season according to UPI.com. In order to protect Rodgers and make this offense even more explosive the Packers should add a play maker at running back.
The final position of need for the Packers is right guard. With T.J. Lang leaving town for more money in Detroit there is a gaping hole on the offensive line for the first time in a few seasons. McCarthy continues to say he won’t move Bulaga over from his tackle position. The only viable options to fill that position at this point are back up Don Barclay, first year player Justin McCray, and a tackle named Kyle Murphy. Adding a guard in this draft to fill that hole would be wise. With Rogers getting older their best bet is to protect him at all costs. If they can fill this hole the offense should be more explosive than last season.
Biggest Addition: Riley Reiff
Biggest Loss: Adrian Peterson
The Minnesota Vikings started off the season flying high at 5-0 even with the loss of Teddy Bridgewater. That eventually came to a screeching halt. They went on to lose eight out of their last eleven games and missed out on the playoffs. With the additions of tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers this offense should be a lot better. Latavius Murray changes the dynamic at running back now with the loss of AP. Even with the additions to the offensive line I believe their biggest need is still on the line. Right guard is the Vikings biggest position of need. Mike Zimmer said himself he only feels comfortable with four of their offensive linemen at this point. The Vikings recently released Brandon Fusco and Mike Harris who have most recently started at the position. The team was ranked 28th in total offense last season according to UPI.com. Bradford needs time in order to be successful. If he can breathe in the pocket this offense should be able to click.
Even with the addition of Latavius Murray in the wake of cutting Peterson, the Vikings still need a running back. Murray only rushed for 788 yards last season. He is definitely good, but the Vikings need to add a play maker to have a solid running back tandem. The Vikings were ranked last in rush offense last season only tallying 75.3 yards per game according to UPI.com, so clearly the running back depth is not there. If they can get another running back in the draft it will only make Bradford and this offense better.
The final position of need for the Vikings is defensive tackle. While defense for the Vikings was a bright spot for most of the season I believe they need to make additions along their front line. The Vikings ranked 20th in rush defense last season so adding a player to the trenches would be a big help. Sharrif Floyd is also dealing with nerve damage and may not be able to return to the field. The Vikings also only have one defensive lineman signed past 2017. That is Linval Joseph according to CBS Sports. With all of that being taken into account a defensive lineman is a no brainer for the Vikings,
This division was pretty lack luster of the Packers last season. With the additions I have laid out in front of you this division can be as good as any. The Vikings and Lions can take major steps forward next season and the Packers can get even better. The Bears are still a few years away, but this draft could be a stepping stone for their future. This draft seems like it will be extremely unexpected. I can’t wait to see if these teams took any of my advice.