Fanspeak now has tools for more sports!
The Sports Fan’s Interactive Toolbox | On the Clock Premium

NFL Draft Preview: NFC North

Gabe Salgado

Part Six of our 2015 NFL Draft preview brings us to the NFL’s “Black and Blue Division”, commonly known as the NFC North. The story in this division is simple. The Packers were on top once again, and everyone else –the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings- want to take them down.

How the latter three teams build their rosters through the draft will play a pivotal role in whether or not that happens in 2015.

 

Green Bay Packers: Own picks 30, 62, 94, 129, 166, 206, 210, 213 and 247 overall.

All of the Cheeseheads needs are on defense. After losing A.J. Hawk and Jamari Lattimore the linebacker position is a little thin. The need an extra player or two on the defensive line and they need help at cornerback.

Here are some players that general manager Ted Thompson may have his eye on…

Linebacker:

The Packers have some of the lowest picks in this year’s draft. So they’ll need to draft project players and coach them up. Some of those players could be Northwestern’s Chi Chi Ariguzo (6’3”, 230), Louisiana Tech’s Houston Bates (6’3”, 250), or Virginia’s Henry Coley (6’2”, 245).

Defensive Line:

The “Pack” could find some diamonds in the rough in the later rounds at this position starting with an in-state product in Wisconsin’s Warren Herring (6’3”, 294). Herring has the size to play on the line in the Packers 3-4 base defense.

A couple of nose tackles that could also catch Ted Thompson’s eye are Maryland’s Darius Kilgo (6’3”, 319), and Northwestern State’s Deon Simon (6’4”, 321).

Cornerback:

Perhaps the Big 12 Conference could lend a hand to Green Bay in the forms of Oklahoma’s Julian Wilson (6’2”, 205), Kansas State’s Randall Evans (6’0”, 190), and Kansas Jayhawk Dexter McDonald (6’1”, 200).

 

Detroit Lions: Own picks 23, 54, 88, 200, 231 and 240 overall.

They already replaced Ndamukong Suh but they need to find someone to fill in for Nick Fairley along the defensive front. They also need more bodies at halfback, they need a fullback, and an extra cornerback.

Defensive Tackle:

Haloti Ngata could make a great combination with either Iowa’s Carl Davis (6’5”, 320) or Indiana’s Bobby Richardson (6’3”, 283).

Halfback:

I’m sure Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford (6’0”, 208) wouldn’t mind staying close to home. Purdue’s Akeem Hunt (5’10”, 183) could also give the Lions a change of pace at the position.

Fullback:

Any one of the seven fullbacks available this year could be the proper fit with the right coaching.

Cornerback:

Southern California’s Josh Shaw (6’0”, 201), or Memphis’ Bobby McCain (5’9”, 195) would be capable of covering the dangerous slot receivers in this division.

 

Minnesota Vikings: Own picks 11, 45, 76, 110, 137, 228 and 232 overall.

Offensive line, linebacker and defensive line were the weakest positions for the Vikings in 2014. Here are some players who can help turn that around.

Offensive Line:

Oklahoma tackle Tyrus Thompson (6’5, 324), Florida guard Trenton Brown (6’8, 355), and Kansas State center B.J. Finney (6’4”, 318) would look pretty good opening holes for Adrian Peterson (if he stays) and providing protection for Teddy Bridgewater. They also know how to play in pro-style offenses.

Defensive Line:

UCLA end Owamagbe Odighizuwa (6’3”, 267), Mississippi State end Preston Smith (6’5”, 271), Louisiana State end Danielle Hunter (6’5”, 252), and Fresno State tackle Tyeler Davison (6’2”, 316) could all breathe new life into the Vikings pass rush.

Linebacker:

The Vikings should take a strong look at Minnesota’s Damien Wilson (6’0”, 245) as they already share a stadium with him. Utah State’s Zach Vigil (6’2”, 240) would make an interesting fit, as would Baylor’s Bryce Hager (6’1”, 234).

 

Chicago Bears: Own picks 7, 39, 71, 106, 142 and 183 overall.

The Bears are the most complicated team in this division right now. New head coach John Fox is bringing in an entirely new system. A new run-oriented offense with offensive coordinator Adam Gase, a new 3-4 defense with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, and a complete system overhaul.

The Bears have said they are looking to re-evaluate the following positions: Quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line, defensive line, outside linebacker and safety. The Bears first three picks put them in some very unique positions this year.

Here are the players who have been associated with the Bears through various mock drafts, trade rumors, and pre-draft workouts…

Quarterback:

In my AFC South draft article, I talked about the Bears possibly trading Jay Cutler to the Tennessee Titans for the number two overall pick. This would allow them to take either Florida State’s Jameis Winston (if Tampa Bay doesn’t draft him) or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. The Bears have also expressed interest in UCLA’s Brett Hundley (6’3”, 226) and Alabama’s Blake Sims (5’11”, 218).

Wide Receiver:

With the number seven pick the Bears could still land Alabama’s Amari Cooper or West Virginia’s Kevin White provided they aren’t snatched up in the top six. If neither man is available, they could get solid consolation prizes in Central Florida’s Breshad Perriman (6’2”, 212), Louisville’s DeVante Parker (6’3”, 209), or Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong (6’2”, 217).

Offensive Line:

Roberto Garza is gone, Jermon Bushrod struggled with injuries last year, Jordan Mills hasn’t been the same since foot surgery ended his rookie season in 2013, Matt Slauson is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle, and Kyle Long can’t block everyone by himself. So here is some new blood that could be roaming the halls of Halas Hall this year…..

A couple of Kyle Long’s Oregon teammates in tackle Jake Fisher (6’6”, 306) and center Hroniss Grasu (6’3”, 297) are worth looks as is Duke guard Laken Tomlinson (6’3”, 323).

Defensive Line:

Missouri end Shane Ray –although he would be converted to outside linebacker- (6’3”, 245), Washington nose tackle Danny Shelton (6’2”, 339), and Arkansas tackle Darius Philon (6’1” 298) have been mentioned in Bears circles recently.

Outside Linebacker:

Florida’s Dante Fowler Jr. (6’3”, 261), Clemson’s Vic Beasley (6’3”, 246), Nebraska’s Randy Gregory (6’5”, 235), and Virginia’s Eli Harold (6’3”, 247) have all been featured prominently in Bears mock drafts.

Safety:

With this group being so thin on talent this year, the Bears have shown a great deal of interest in one local product. Northwestern’s Ibraheim Campbell (5’11, 208) has been on their radar for quite some time. But some other teams are interested as well. The Bears are hoping he’s still available in the later rounds.

 

Here’s to another blood thirsty year in the NFC’s Northern Division.

 

 



comments powered by Disqus