NFC North Draft Review

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We've had ample time to assess and form opinions on the Packers' draft, but what about the rest of the division? We obviously can't judge the players yet, but we know who we liked/disliked in the class and we can assess moves even if we don't yet know who the players are that those moves resulted in.

Bears: The Bears' journey from #1 to #10 brought them a 2023 2nd, 2024 1st, 2025 2nd, 2024 4th, and D.J. Moore. So that move is a huge win. On top of that, I like every player they picked until the 7th round (don't know anything about Bell or Williams). Wright was the most pro ready tackle in this class, Dexter and Pickens were two of the most intriguing iDL's after round 1, Scott seemed worthy of going much higher, etc. Now I could obviously be wrong and these players could suck, or Chicago could fail to develop them, but overall I can't give them anything other than an A+.

1.10: D. Wright, OT, TEN
2.22: G. Dexter, iDL, FLA
2.25: T. Stevenson, CB, MIA
3.1: Z. Pickens, iDL, SC
4.13: R. Johnson, RB, UT
4.31: T. Scott, WR, CIN
5.13: N. Sewell, LB, OR
5.30: T. Smith, CB, MIN
7.1: T. Bell, iDL, KEN
7.41: K. Williams, DB, STAN

Lions: The Lions traded down and ended up with picks 12, 18, 34, 45, 68, and 96 in the top 100. With all of that high draft capital, they came away with: a slight upgrade on DeAndre Swift, an off-ball linebacker, a tight end, a slot corner, a 25 year old QB who needs a RS season, and a DT from Western Kentucky. That is an utter failure. This draft was Detroit's moment to move up and get a QB who can get them over the hump and past the point of QB purgatory where Goff consigns them. Failing that, they at least should have stocked up on game-breaking defensive talent. Instead they dumped all those picks into low value positions. They invested the 12th pick on whatever the difference might be between Swift and Gibbs. The QB they took will be 26 before he can play and is coming out of a fake offense. They used the 18th pick on an off-ball linebacker which was roundly considered to be maybe the worst position in this class. This grade is easy: F.

1.12: J. Gibbs, RB, UA
1.18: J. Campbell, LB, IA
2.3: S. LaPorta, TE, IA
2.14: B. Branch, DB, UA
3.5: H. Hooker, QB, TEN
3.33: B. Martin, iDL, WKU
5.17: C. Sorsdal, OL, WM
7.2: A. Green, WR, UNC

Vikings: Minnesota didn't have a lot of draft capital after trading their 2nd round pick for T.J. Hockenson. I don't love or hate that move-- Hock is a good player, but they acquired him just as he was getting expensive. My assessment of this class as a whole is largely dependent on my own view of the players they took. I firmly believe that success in the draft is about coupling talent evaluation with metrics that have proven to increase hit rate. The Vikings' first three picks were all spent on guys who are pretty small and not all that athletic. Addison is 170# and runs a 4.49. Blackmon is 5'11" 178#. Ward is 6'0" 188#. I didn't pay attention to those latter two, but they just don't profile like high success rate NFL players. Maybe Addison will surprise me like Devonta Smith did, but I just don't think betting on outliers is a good process. D.

1.23: J. Addison, WR, USC
3.39: M. Blackmon, CB, USC
4.32: J. Ward, CB, LSU
5.6: J. Roy, iDL, LSU
5.29: J. Hall, QB, BYU
7.5: D. McBride, RB, UAB

So if I was stacking up the classes in order, it would look like this:

1. Bears: A+
2. Packers: B+
3. Vikings: D
4. Lions: F
 
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We've had ample time to assess and form opinions on the Packers' draft, but what about the rest of the division? We obviously can't judge the players yet, but we know who we liked/disliked in the class and we can assess moves even if we don't yet know who the players are that those moves resulted in.

Bears: The Bears' journey from #1 to #10 brought them a 2023 2nd, 2024 1st, 2025 2nd, 2024 4th, and D.J. Moore. So that move is a huge win. On top of that, I like every player they picked until the 7th round (don't know anything about Bell or Williams). Wright was the most pro ready tackle in this class, Dexter and Pickens were two of the most intriguing iDL's after round 1, Scott seemed worthy of going much higher, etc. Now I could obviously be wrong and these players could suck, or Chicago could fail to develop them, but overall I can't give them anything other than an A+.

1.10: D. Wright, OT, TEN
2.22: G. Dexter, iDL, FLA
2.25: T. Stevenson, CB, MIA
3.1: Z. Pickens, iDL, SC
4.13: R. Johnson, RB, UT
4.31: T. Scott, WR, CIN
5.13: N. Sewell, LB, OR
5.30: T. Smith, CB, MIN
7.1: T. Bell, iDL, KEN
7.41: K. Williams, DB, STAN

Lions: The Lions traded down and ended up with picks 12, 18, 34, 45, 68, and 96 in the top 100. With all of that high draft capital, they came away with: a slight upgrade on DeAndre Swift, an off-ball linebacker, a tight end, a slot corner, a 25 year old QB who needs a RS season, and a DT from Western Kentucky. That is an utter failure. This draft was Detroit's moment to move up and get a QB who can get them over the hump and past the point of QB purgatory where Goff consigns them. Failing that, they at least should have stocked up on game-breaking defensive talent. Instead they dumped all those picks into low value positions. They invested the 12th pick on whatever the difference might be between Swift and Gibbs. The QB they took will be 26 before he can play and is coming out of a fake offense. They used the 18th pick on an off-ball linebacker which was roundly considered to be maybe the worst position in this class. This grade is easy: F.

1.12: J. Gibbs, RB, UA
1.18: J. Campbell, LB, IA
2.3: S. LaPorta, TE, IA
2.14: B. Branch, DB, UA
3.5: H. Hooker, QB, TEN
3.33: B. Martin, iDL, WKU
5.17: C. Sorsdal, OL, WM
7.2: A. Green, WR, UNC

Vikings: Minnesota didn't have a lot of draft capital after trading their 2nd round pick for T.J. Hockenson. I don't love or hate that move-- Hock is a good player, but they acquired him just as he was getting expensive. My assessment of this class as a whole is largely dependent on my own view of the players they took. I firmly believe that success in the draft is about coupling talent evaluation with metrics that have proven to increase hit rate. The Vikings' first three picks were all spent on guys who are pretty small and not all that athletic. Addison is 170# and runs a 4.49. Blackmon is 5'11" 178#. Ward is 6'0" 188#. I didn't pay attention to those latter two, but they just don't profile like high success rate NFL players. Maybe Addison will surprise me like Devonta Smith did, but I just don't think betting on outliers is a good process. D.

1.23: J. Addison, WR, USC
3.39: M. Blackmon, CB, USC
4.32: J. Ward, CB, LSU
5.6: J. Roy, iDL, LSU
5.29: J. Hall, QB, BYU
7.5: D. McBride, RB, UAB

So if I was stacking up the classes in order, it would look like this:

1. Bears: A+
2. Packers: B+
3. Vikings: D
4. Lions: F
That RB selection at #12 for the Lions was easily one of the top 10 Oddest things I saw In this draft.
 

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I will play. IMO.
1. Bears- A - The trade was a winner. I would not be unhappy at all if any of Wright, Stevenson or Pickens were Packers.
2. Packers- B -I just can't get past who and where the QB & K picks took place.
3. Lions - D - As bad as they used their draft capital I actually like their 1st 5 picks. Just not where they were chosen.
4. Vikings - D - It is never good when considering where chosen I like their last 3 picks more than the 1st 3.
 
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Dantés

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I believe they parted ways with Jamal Williams.

They drafted Gibbs to replace Swift, who they promptly traded.

So basically they used the 12th pick on whatever the positive difference might be between Swift and Gibbs.
 

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I remember when the Colts took Edgerrin James and everybody screamed. He turned out all right.
 

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They did not resign Jamaal. They did sign David Montgomery. They drafted Gibbs. There were reports out there that when that happened Swifts agent requested a trade. Take that for what it's worth.
 
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I remember when the Colts took Edgerrin James and everybody screamed. He turned out all right.
Not so much that he can’t be really good but where he was taken.

He averaged 7.0 per touch
Averaged 1,100 yards per season
Averaged 8 TD per season
Drafted at #12


Eddie Lacy out of Alabama
Averaged 7.0 per touch
averaged 900 All purpose
Averaged 11 TD’s per season
Drafted at #61

To me, anything into round 1 was a slight reach, but maybe acceptable
(if he’s an ideal scheme fit etc) in the back of Day1
Anything inside top #20 was a major reach.
Top #12 and he’d better be getting very Alvin Kamara impact and early. If he turns into another David Montgomery this is a total waste of selection
 
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The Lions’ ceiling is capped by Goff. He will only get them so far. And that’s underscored by the reality that the better he is, the more likely it is that their OC gets poached.

This was their opportunity to move up to #3, take Anthony Richardson, and set themselves up to take the jump up to the level of contender. That would have made them really scary.

Instead, they invested in low value positions and the only investment they made at QB was to take a 25 year old out of a gimmick offense. Hooker is almost a full year older than Jordan Love, who has been developing for three seasons.

They’re locking themselves into being a 7-11 win team without the upward mobility to threaten for a championship and without the low floor to get a high draft pick.

They blew it and I think they’ll look back on this draft as their shot to alter their fortunes. Which they missed.
 
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The Lions’ ceiling is capped by Goff. He will only get them so far. And that’s underscored by the reality that the better he is, the more likely it is that their OC gets poached.

This was their opportunity to move up to #3, take Anthony Richardson, and set themselves up to take the jump up to the level of contender. That would have made them really scary.

Instead, they invested in low value positions and the only investment they made at QB was to take a 25 year old out of a gimmick offense. Hooker is almost a full year older than Jordan Love, who has been developing for three seasons.

They’re locking themselves into being a 7-11 win team without the upward mobility to threaten for a championship and without the low floor to get a high draft pick.

They blew it and I think they’ll look back on this draft as their shot to alter their fortunes. Which they missed.
True that. Not to diminish a good RB at in Gibbs. Yet we now know they had an opportunity to resign Jamaal Williams at likely under $4M per. I’m guessing he would’ve stayed put in that 2-3 year $3.75m per. Pair Montgomery and Williams and you’re sitting just fine at RB. Now you got a #12 to use as you please.

If you don’t have Williams then trade back into the early 20’s and picked up another 2nd rounder. Detroit would very likely have DT Mazi Smith AND if Gibbs is there later Day1 (which 60% he is) then use #34 and move up a few spots. Otherwise wait at RB until #96 overall, where you had some really good options at RB still left.
Detroit was abysmal at stopping the Run last season. When a Packer fan says that watch out! :eek:To address that The Lions go out and draft Brodric Martin to solve that? At #96 overall?? I’d have been upset as a Lions fan. They select a rotational NT that could’ve easily been there in Day3
That’s just perplexing to me.
 
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I'm not as down on the Lions draft. I think Gibbs could be the best back in football in the next 2 years, and much better than Swift. Campbell is a very instinctive, athletic, and aggressive. He will have a great career. Both will be very impactfull as rookies. I would have gone in a different direction on these picks, but I get it.

I think both the Bears and the lions screwed the pooch by not taking Jalen Carter. Could end up being a player that takes over games. I know there is a lot of risk that he has issues, but on a player of that magnitude, you have to roll the dice on greatness.
 

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I'm not as down on the Lions draft. I think Gibbs could be the best back in football in the next 2 years, and much better than Swift. Campbell is a very instinctive, athletic, and aggressive. He will have a great career. Both will be very impactfull as rookies. I would have gone in a different direction on these picks, but I get it.

I think both the Bears and the lions screwed the pooch by not taking Jalen Carter. Could end up being a player that takes over games. I know there is a lot of risk that he has issues, but on a player of that magnitude, you have to roll the dice on greatness.
Lions have floundered in years they had a very good draft. Maybe with one not so good it will reap some reward for a change. Not that I want that.
 
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I'm not as down on the Lions draft. I think Gibbs could be the best back in football in the next 2 years, and much better than Swift. Campbell is a very instinctive, athletic, and aggressive. He will have a great career. Both will be very impactfull as rookies. I would have gone in a different direction on these picks, but I get it.

I think both the Bears and the lions screwed the pooch by not taking Jalen Carter. Could end up being a player that takes over games. I know there is a lot of risk that he has issues, but on a player of that magnitude, you have to roll the dice on greatness.
We can agree that he’s a great RB and will have success. The NFL is still geared towards passing, with more successful teams leaning that direction putting up 4500-5,000 yards.

What do Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry, and Nick Chubb have in common? They all rushed for 1,500 yards and none of them saw post season.

Draft me some Aaron Jones (5th) a Dalvin Cook (2nd) or a Miles Sanders (2nd) that is very effective, but not necessarily show stopping either. Let them take away just enough attention from Defenses to open the Passing game up. Those are guys you can often get in Day2-3.

I’m not suggesting having a great RB is not important, we all want one. I am also not suggesting to pass on Gibbs, he could be a top 25 overall impact. I am more suggesting not to use a top12 type selection on one unless they are either a generational talent or they are Sproles or Kamara or McCaffrey in the Passing attack

All that said I understanding reaching a little if your guy is a great fit or if there’s a relative shortage (there was). Keep in mind McCaffrey #8 overall put up 4,500 all purpose in his final 2 college seasons. Gibbs put up 2,500 all purpose
 
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RIP Jim Brown. Still the only RB to average more than 100 yards per game.
I literally just watched a few interviews and highlight reels etc. just amazing. It was like putting an NFL All Pro against College players. He was way ahead of his time. 230lb RB when the average OL was 238lb. That would be like having a 6’5” 295lb Guy that ran a 4.45 40 time and moved like a halfback in todays sport. Good Luck!
 

milani

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I literally just watched a few interviews and highlight reels etc. just amazing. It was like putting an NFL All Pro against College players. He was way ahead of his time. 230lb RB when the average OL was 238lb. That would be like having a 6’5” 295lb Guy that ran a 4.45 40 time and moved like a halfback in todays sport. Good Luck!
And I hear players say that even at the time. He was so superior.
 

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We can agree that he’s a great RB and will have success. The NFL is still geared towards passing, with more successful teams leaning that direction putting up 4500-5,000 yards.
I agree with all of your post.

A great RB is just another tool in the toolbox. And I would say it can be more necessary for us outdoor cold weather teams.

Those high producing RBs are helped in that their teams have below average passing attacks and they get more carries. Having a great RB will force defenses to respect the run and open up the secondary a bit.

I wasn't a big fan of the Lions pick of WR Williams last season. Injury and character issues, but he is very talented. With Amon and LaPorta, that is a potent mixture of speed, ellisiveness, and athleticism. They will be limited by Goff, who is average to a little above average, but Gibbs may elevate the passing game.

Having a balanced threat of run and passing is important, I guess is what I am trying to say.
 
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I agree with all of your post.

A great RB is just another tool in the toolbox. And I would say it can be more necessary for us outdoor cold weather teams.

Those high producing RBs are helped in that their teams have below average passing attacks and they get more carries. Having a great RB will force defenses to respect the run and open up the secondary a bit.

I wasn't a big fan of the Lions pick of WR Williams last season. Injury and character issues, but he is very talented. With Amon and LaPorta, that is a potent mixture of speed, ellisiveness, and athleticism. They will be limited by Goff, who is average to a little above average, but Gibbs may elevate the passing game.

Having a balanced threat of run and passing is important, I guess is what I am trying to say.
It’s really important. Maybe this years draft was an exception. Detroit felt like it needed a RB1 and there really wasn’t a big selection in that top #75 area (an area that you can generally get a Starter capable RB)


I still don’t understand why teams like the Lions don’t use a slight trade back though. Maybe they truly see themselves as a few weapons away from being great idk. My more general point with them is they should’ve fixed their Defense first. It’s just my opinion, but they could’ve at least traded back into that later teens /early 20’s area and recouped a 2nd Rounder. If Gibbs is there take him. Then use that 2nd Round collateral to help fix the horrendous Detroit Run Defense. You get Gibbs at #20 overall area and then use that acquired 2nd Rounder and package both 2nds in a hard move up to get Brian Bresee etc. 60%. What’s more perplexing for me than drafting at RB isnr as much about Gibbs as it it is this. Drafting Gibbs doesn’t do you nearly as much good if it means your opponent gashes you right back for 5+ per carry all year.
 
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AmishMafia

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It’s really important. Maybe this years draft was an exception. Detroit felt like it needed a RB1 and there really wasn’t a big selection in that top #75 area (an area that you can generally get a Starter capable RB)


I still don’t understand why teams like the Lions don’t use a slight trade back though. Maybe they truly see themselves as a few weapons away from being great idk. My more general point with them is they should’ve fixed their Defense first. It’s just my opinion, but they could’ve at least traded back into that later teens /early 20’s area and recouped a 2nd Rounder. If Gibbs is there take him. Then use that 2nd Round collateral to help fix the horrendous Detroit Run Defense. You get Gibbs at #20 overall area and then use that acquired 2nd Rounder and package both 2nds in a hard move up to get Brian Bresee etc. 60%. What’s more perplexing for me than drafting at RB isnr as much about Gibbs as it it is this. Drafting Gibbs doesn’t do you nearly as much good if it means your opponent gashes you right back for 5+ per carry all year.
They loved Gibbs. I heard on NFLN that they would have taken him at 6 if they didn't find a trade back.

For the record, I would have taken Carter with 1st pick, Nolan Smith with 2nd, if i was the Lions GM, because they really needed to help that defense.
 
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They loved Gibbs. I heard on NFLN that they would have taken him at 6 if they didn't find a trade back.

For the record, I would have taken Carter with 1st pick, Nolan Smith with 2nd, if i was the Lions GM, because they really needed to help that defense.
Makes sense, they saw him as the top RB in this draft. I can live with that then and I respect that. I certainly don’t know more about the guy than they do, they obviously studied him intently.
 

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The ONLY thing that makes the Gibbs pick palatable to me from a Lions perspective is they didn't just get him with that pick...essentially they added draft capital AND got him. I in ZERO way am taking a running back in the first round...but you pull a guy you have as your RB1 AND additional draft equity it is again palatable.
 
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The ONLY thing that makes the Gibbs pick palatable to me from a Lions perspective is they didn't just get him with that pick...essentially they added draft capital AND got him. I in ZERO way am taking a running back in the first round...but you pull a guy you have as your RB1 AND additional draft equity it is again palatable.
Thats exactly what I inferred by trading bank. Although I think the Lions #12 could’ve easily been #15,#17 #19 without any significant risk of losing Gibbs. Just my opinion.

Seattle was the first team that I saw that wanted a RB (as seen by Day2) and posed any threat. Although I don’t know if Seattle would’ve taken Gibbs that high. My guess is maybe 30% chance, but I’d wager they don’t pass on Smith-Njigba to get Gibbs

@tynimiller You followed the draft pretty closely. Where do you think Gibbs gets drafted (placing) if not at #12?
Just in a guess?
 
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tynimiller

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Thats exactly what I inferred by trading bank. Although I think the Lions #12 could’ve easily been #15,#17 #19 without any significant risk of losing Gibbs. Just my opinion.

Seattle was the first team that I saw that wanted a RB (as seen by Day2) and posed any threat. Although I don’t know if Seattle would’ve taken Gibbs that high. My guess is maybe 30% chance, but I’d wager they don’t pass on Smith-Njigba to get Gibbs

@tynimiller You followed the draft pretty closely. Where do you think Gibbs gets drafted (placing) if not at #12?
Just in a guess?

Without trade ups I think he makes i to the final four picks of the first at the absolute earliest. Personally I am ******* RBs and had him as a day two guy not day one. But he is the perfect example of a guy who I knew may go before I personally valued him.

Quinten Johnston was another guy I expected to go first most likely despite me never drafting him day 1.
 
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Without trade ups I think he makes i to the final four picks of the first at the absolute earliest. Personally I am ******* RBs and had him as a day two guy not day one. But he is the perfect example of a guy who I knew may go before I personally valued him.

Quinten Johnston was another guy I expected to go first most likely despite me never drafting him day 1.
That kinda more that consensus area. Now had he went #25 overall or even #22? Not a big shocker there. That #12 came out of left field. I hope he’s not really worth that because he’ll be ripping our NFC North heads off for the next 6-8 years. Hopefully he’s more a little more Montgomery and a little less Cook
 

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That kinda more that consensus area. Now had he went #25 overall or even #22? Not a big shocker there. That #12 came out of left field. I hope he’s not really worth that because he’ll be ripping our NFC North heads off for the next 6-8 years. Hopefully he’s more a little more Montgomery and a little less Cook
Last season the Vikings ranked 20th in defense against the run, that was the best in the NFCN. Packers were 26th and bears 31st.

That's six games for the Lions. I suppose that may have played a role in their decision process.
 

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