Training camp is right around the bend, and before it begins, I’ll be finishing up my NFL off-season coverage and this draft report card series, continuing today with the NFC North. Check out the links below for previous articles in the series:
NFL Draft Report Cards 2020
Now let’s dive right in:
Minnesota Vikings: B+
Overall, I liked this draft class, and most of the early picks made a lot of sense, but there were a few later picks that confused me. That convinced me to keep Minnesota’s overall grade out of the A range. Jefferson and Gladney both fill big needs. I’m not in love with the fit for Jefferson, as he’ll force WR Adam Thielen to the outside, which could cause Thielen to struggle. But the Gladney pick was very good.
The Vikings continued to fill needs throughout the draft, and on Day 2 they got some good value in the process. But a lot of their Day 3 need fillers were reaches or dart throws. It’s sometimes good to take some risk in the late rounds, but some of Minnesota’s picks just reached a bit too far. One great value pick they did make came in Round 7 when they selected DE Kenny Willekes. I had hoped the Patriots would consider him in Round 3. Using a Round 7 selection for a guy who will fill a need and was expected to go on Day 2 is an excellent choice.
Overall, I really liked this draft class. But there were better players available at the positions they wanted to fill, especially in the late rounds, so that’s a bit of a downgrade in my book.
Detroit Lions: B
The Lions did alright in this draft, but there weren’t many picks that are going to significantly impact the current state or future of this franchise. Jeff Okudah was the right move with the 3rd overall pick, and that will be a big help in replacing traded star CB Darius Slay. RB D’Andre Swift might be the Lions RB of the future with RB Kerryon Johnson unable to stay healthy. But the Lions didn’t make many eye-popping picks after that, and they also failed to fill some of their front seven needs.
Their biggest need was arguably defensive tackle, a position the Lions didn’t address until they reached for John Penisini in Round 6. I feel they should’ve gone DT in Round 2 or 3 as opposed to taking Swift or edge rusher Julian Okwara (though Okwara was hard to pass on in Round 3). I also didn’t understand their selection of a second running back, Jason Huntley, after they already drafted Swift.
However, Huntley was the only Lions selection I really disliked, and they did end up filling a good amount of needs in the end. So I think they did alright.
Chicago Bears: B-
The Bears didn’t make any picks that stood out as bad, but they also failed to make up for their defensive losses at safety and on the d-line. They did add to their offensive line, WR corps, and secondary, but failed to address a couple of their biggest needs. The Bears still have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and that will allow for them to improve in 2020 now that they have a little more stability at QB. But this team still has some significant flaws that could hold them back from serious contention. Failing to fill these draft needs has only added to the problem.
Green Bay Packers: C+
I’m not alone in disliking this draft class. Unlike most people, I do see the point in the Jordan Love selection. QB Aaron Rodgers is past his prime, and Love was good value where the Packers selected him. I expected the Pack to take a QB at some point even though it wasn’t an ideal pick in Round 1.
What I didn’t understand is why the Packers not only passed on good WR options in Round 1, but also opted to avoid drafting any WRs. The Packers don’t have much behind Davante Adams at WR, so they clearly have faith in Allen Lazard and Devin Funchess. But will it pay off? I don’t think so.
Instead of filling their need at WR, they drafted a RB, some linebackers, and some offensive linemen. They didn’t really need that much help at RB or LB, and they could’ve used o-linemen, but their hole at WR is more significant. I liked a couple of these Packers selections, but that was mixed in with a lot of iffy picks as they continued to pass on filling their biggest need.
That’s all for this portion of my NFL draft reviews. Stay tuned for the rest of this series soon, as well as return predictions for both baseball and hockey. You can check out my NBA return predictions here.