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2013 NFL Draft Preview: NFC North
By Matt Horkman

Chicago Bears

Recent Selections: OT Gabe Carimi, WR Alshon Jeffery, DE Shea McClellin, DT Stephen Paea, OT J’Marcus Webb, & S Major Wright

Recap: It’s hard to call a seventh-round pick a disappointment, but Webb’s a reflection of Chicago’s inability to address their offensive line. He’d make a great backup at multiple positions, but as a starter, he’s overmatched. Carimi has disappointed significantly and will have to fight for his starting job. Wright and Paea are coming off their strongest seasons yet, but Chicago didn’t get much impact from their 2012 rookies (McClellin & Jeffery).

Best Scenario: OG Chance Warmack & LB Jon Bostic

Draft Preview: Signing Jermon Bushrod helps but doesn’t solidify Chicago’s offensive line. They’ll need to address the unit via the draft. Warmack is the best possible solution at guard. Many consider him a top 10 prospect, but history shows guards fall in the draft, so perhaps there’s hope Chicago can land him. Drafting an offensive lineman in round one allows the Bears to focus on finding middle linebacker Brian Urlacher’s successor in round two. Bostic’s best football is ahead of him. He’s a thumper inside with impressive athleticism.

Detroit Lions

Recent Selections: RB Jahvid Best, WR Ryan Broyles, DT Nick Fairley, RB Mikel Leshoure, OT Riley Reiff, & DT Ndamukong Suh

Recap: Injuries and inconsistencies have plagued Detroit’s last three drafts. Best, Leshoure and Broyles have all missed significant time. Best’s concussion issues are actually career threatening. Fairley is coming off a strong second year and could develop into a solid pass rushing force along with Suh. The jury remains out on Reiff, who I think will play right tackle moving forward. While you can’t classify Detroit’s recent drafts as busts, you can’t exactly put them into the elite echelon, either.

Best Scenario: OT Eric Fisher, CB Jordan Poyer, & DE Michael Buchanan

Draft Preview: Many view cornerback and pass rush as Detroit’s biggest needs, but the Lions must protect quarterback Matthew Stafford. They throw the ball more than any team in the football and Stafford must stay upright to get the ball to wide receiver Calvin Johnson. If Fisher is available at No. 5, then he’s the ideal choice. They can always address their secondary in round two. Poyer’s physical style could give Green Bay’s receivers problems. While Buchanan's production is somewhat underwhelming, his skill set is intriguing. He could develop into a solid pass rusher with proper coaching and patience.

Green Bay Packers

Recent Selections: OT Bryan Bulaga, S Morgan Burnett, WR Randall Cobb, CB Casey Heyward, DE Mike Neal, OT Marshall Newhouse, LB Nick Perry, OT Derek Sherrod, & DT Jerel Worthy

Recap: Building through the draft is both hard and rewarding. The teams that do it right, reap the rewards. Those that fail tend to find themselves without jobs. The Packers do it right. Cobb and Heyward are second-round homeruns with both expecting to contribute for many seasons to come. Bulaga is a solid starting right tackle, though a season-ending injury last year slowed his growth. Sherrod, Perry, and Worthy are the question marks. All three are coming off injuries with Worthy possibly missing most of next season. Nevertheless, Sherrod and Perry expect to return and compete for starting jobs. Perry is especially crucial to Green Bay’s defensive efforts. His development could make or break Dom Capers’ defense.

Best Scenario: S Eric Reid, C Barrett Jones, & RB Johnathan franklinJohnathan franklin

Draft Preview: Losing cornerback Charles Woodson stings, but Green Bay’s desire to add a safety doesn’t stem from his absence. Woodson was a roamer and played better the closer he got to the line of scrimmage. The Packers need a playmaker in the backend in the mold of Nick Collins. Reid's a logical fit. His combination of size and speed is the best among safeties. He disappointed a little in 2012, but his 2011 tape suggests the potential is there for him to develop into a major player. I continue to comeback to Jones in round two. If you need an interior offensive lineman, then Jones is your guy. He’s tough, smart, and plays with a nasty streak. Finally, the Packers need a bell cow and Franklin is a great choice. He can pass protect, run between the tackles, and kick it outside. He’s an undervalued every-down running back.

Minnesota Vikings

Recent Selections: CB Chris Cook, RB Toby Gerhart, DE Everson Griffen, OT Matt Kalil, QB Christian Ponder, TE Kyle Rudolph, & S Harrison Smith

Recap: The 2010 draft isn’t a banner one for Minnesota. However, they did a good job in '11 and '12. Kalil (last year’s first rounder) is a franchise left tackle and did an outstanding job in pass protecting and run blocking his first season. Smith displays the ability to develop into an all-pro safety, and Rudolph is a fine starting tight end. The franchise’s most important pick, however, is Ponder. He hasn’t impressed all that much, though an efficient performance in week 17 against the Packers certainly brings hope for the future.

Best Scenario: WR Robert Woods, DT Jesse Williams, LB Jon Bostic, & S Shawn Williams

Draft Preview: Plucking receiver Greg Jennings from Green Bay was a major coup for Minnesota. He’ll give the Vikings veteran’s presence at the position and the public underrates his ability as a route runner. Still, the Vikings need to inject youth into their offense and Woods is an ideal player. He’s an amazing talent, capable of running after the catch and making the tough grab. Williams also expects to hear his name called in late round one or early round two. He’s a brick wall versus the run and would be an ideal two-down starter. Another Bostic sighting, as the Florida linebacker represents better value in round two than Te’o or Kevin Minter in round one. Smith needs a running mate in the secondary and Williams (the draft’s best tackling safety) compliments him well.

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