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Ted Sundquist's NFC North Draft Needs

Funny what two No. 1’s, a 3rd, and a 21st rated QB can do to change a division, but that appears to be what has happened to the NFC North.
Chicago has now thrust themselves as leading to the top as contenders with the addition of a 5th rated QB to a 7th-rated defense and 5th-rated special teams.  Not because I helped draft the guy, but this is as big and bold a move as has been made in the League this offseason.  The Bears, who finished 18th in ’08 and 20th the year before, our now rated 4th (taking into the account the various additions made to the roster) going into ’09.  With the exception of Detroit, this was about as balanced a division (from a performance aspect) as there was in football.
But it’s not like the haves and have nots.  Green Bay has the Aaron Rodgers, a top 10 in his own right.  Minnesota has the explosive Adrian Peterson on offense, Jared Allen on defense.  The Lions have, well, nowhere to go but up.  It’s just now they all appear to be chasing the Monsters of the Midway.
Chicago Bears
Primary need:  Wide Receiver
Even before trading for Jay Cutler the Bears were in dire need of help in the receiving corps.  The loss of Bernard Berrian and the thought of Devin Hester emerging as a No. 1 just didn’t get it done.  Part of Orton’s inconsistency was a result of the lack of reliable targets.  Hester finished 64th among WR’s with 50 or more passes thrown to them.  His catch rate was at 57% (that’s low).  The next was Rashied Davis at 72nd and a 52% catch rate.  Doesn’t make much sense to have a franchise QB and no one to throw to.  Look for the Bears to focus on upgrading the position with their first opportunity in the 2nd round (#49).  Hester gives the team some explosive in-line speed, but the Bears need a big, featured-style receiver that can go up and take the ball away from defenders.  Chicago rated 27th on 2nd down and 22nd on 3rd down in the passing game.
Possible targets:  Receiver Brandon Tate (North Carolina), receiver Austin Collie (BYU).
Detroit Lions
Primary need:  Defensive Line
The Lions already have taken Matthew Stafford with the first overall pick.  And many thought they should.  After all, the Lions went 0-16 and need a fresh face to rebuild around.  But the chance of making a turnaround of “historic” proportions is minimal and Detroit would be best served going with Daunte Culpepper or Drew Stanton while placing an infrastructure of talent around the position.  Taking a tackle would have made more sense.  The second selection at #20 should go to the defensive line.  Detroit was between 28th and 32nd in every measurable category of run/pass on 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th down.  Help anywhere along the front would be a positive addition.
Possible targets:  defensive end Michael Johnson (Georgia Tech); defensive end Robert Ayers (Tennessee), defensive tackle Fili Moala (USC), defensive tackle Peria Jerry (Mississippi)
Green Bay Packers
Primary need:  Defensive End
Despite going 6-10 the Packers were the only team that played above and beyond their record in 2008.  Alas, you are what you are and Green Bay fired defensive coordinator Bob Sanders and four additional defensive assistants.  The move has shifted the scheme to a 3-4 and unlike many in the League wanting to make that jump, the Packers seem to have the pieces in place to do it.  Opponents found the power run game to their advantage in ’08 and did so at a 74% success rate.  The flip side saw the Packers ability to stuff short yardage ranked 31st.  Size and power up front will free the linebackers to flow and go, but these players at a premium with the number of teams making the identical transition.  At #9 the Packers sit in prime position to add an anchor to their inside three and most likely at DE.  Most of the top prospects appear to be projected to OLB’s in the 3-4 but there’s one prototype that should be available at the pick.
Possible needs:  defensive end Tyson Jackson (LSU); defensive end Brian Orakpo (Texas).
Minnesota Vikings
Primary need:  Quarterback
Minnesota had hoped to get in on the Jay Cutler sweepstakes but the trade never panned out.  After pursuing Brett Favre last season the Vikings eventually settled on Tarvaris Jackson, and then Gus Frerotte, and then again Tarvaris Jackson.  The duo finished ranked 25th and 31st respectively, neither surpassing the 60% completion threshold.  The Vikings need to find a dynamic player at the position.  With Rodgers and now Cutler in the division, Minnesota must find a way to keep up or languish in the realization they’re chasing the North division title from the #3 poll position.  The Sage Rosenfels acquisition, though a noble iattempt for a 4th rounder, doesn’t appear to be the long-term answer.  The Vikings were 23rd in all down scenarios when attacking with the pass.
Rosenfels was rated 27th among his peers.  You’d be hard pressed at the moment to find a mock draft that has any one of the top two QB’s slipping to #22, but another QB has come charging forward over the course of what can only be respectfully described as the “evaluation” period (“mayhem” fits a bit better).  Question is will he be there?   The “60% completion” rule looms as well.
Possible targets:  quarterback Josh Freeman (Kansas State).

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5 Responses to “Ted Sundquist's NFC North Draft Needs”
  1. esclade says: Apr 25, 2009 12:00 PM

    The Vikings need a right tackle and a cornerback before a quarterback.

  2. SamIAm says: Apr 25, 2009 12:13 PM

    “addition of a 5th rated QB to a 7th-rated defense”
    In what bizarro world did the Bears have the 7th-rated defense? According to NFL.com, they were the 21st ranked D. With no significant free agent additions (I’m looking at you Josh Bullocks) and the departure of Mike Brown, I’m not sure how this aging unit doesn’t continue to slip. Regardless of their reputation, the performance of the Bear’s defense was certainly lacking in 2007 (28th) and 2008 (21st).

  3. Bob_Nelson says: Apr 25, 2009 1:52 PM

    This just a bunch of crap thrown together at the last second and just as worthless.

  4. leatherneck says: Apr 26, 2009 11:57 AM

    Aaron Rodgers is in the top-10 of NFL quarterbacks?
    OK, that’s all you need to know about this web site. What a waste.

  5. Ditka89 says: Apr 29, 2009 1:42 PM

    Ok leatherneck, name 10 QB’s in the league right now better than how Aaron Rodgers played last season

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