NFL Draft Grades – NFC North

For months the media and analysts like myself have watched hours upon hours of film. I have started to dissect the 2022 NFL Draft and dish out the draft grades. I couldn’t start anywhere else other than the division my beloved Minnesota Vikings are in, The NFC North.

The Packers stacked up on defensive reinforcements and some receivers to fill those vacated targets from Davante Adams and Marques Valdes-Scantling. Chicago had to move around and make the most of their late picks having traded for Justin Fields last year. The Lions added two elite players with Aidan Hutchinson and Jameson Williams whilst the Vikings had a solid draft and addressed their needs.

Chicago Bears

Recap of players drafted

Selections: 2.39: Washington CB Kyler Gordon; 2.48: Penn State S Jaquan Brisker; 3.71: Tennessee WR Velus Jones; 5.168: Southern Utah OT Braxton Jones; 5.174: Miami (Ohio) EDGE Dominique Robinson; 6.186: San Diego State OG Zach Thomas; 6.203: Baylor RB Trestan Ebner; 6.207: Illinois C Doug Kramer.

My Verdict

With no first round picks the Bears they had to find value elsewhere. They were able to pick up Kyler Gordon and one of the top safety talents Jaquan Brisker, securing two fringe first round talents in the second round which is great business. Both players will end up as key pieces in the Bears defense for years to come.

Furthermore, the Bears continued to get value from the draft as they selected one of the standout performers from the Senior Bowl, Dominique Robinson. In a few years time the Bears could transform the raw talent of Robinson in to the steal of the draft.

Chicago may have avoided any flashy picks but they locked in some great value picks despite having no first round capital. B

Detroit Lions

Recap of players drafted

Selections: 1.2: Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson; 1.12: Alabama WR Jameson Williams; 2.46: Kentucky DE Joshua Paschal; 3.97: Illinois S Kerby Joseph; 5.177: Virginia Tech TE James Mitchell; 6.188: Oklahoma State LB Malcolm Rodriguez; 6.217: Jackson State EDGE James Houston; 7.237: Arizona State CB Chase Lucas.

My Verdict

The Lions managed to secure the top talent of the 2022 class as the Detroit native Aidan Hutchinson fell on to the Lions lap. This is a guy who knows the culture of Motor City. He will be a home run selection and make an instant impact.

The Lions appear to be putting their trust in Jared Goff for a further season. The consensus top rated QB Malik Willis dropped in to day two and the Lions still passed on the opportunity which signals they may look at next year’s QB class should Goff fail to impress again.

Jameson Williams is the pick that impressed me the most as they have secured arguably the best receiver in the class. They have a long term franchise WR1 without paying over the odds and he could be the quickest receiver that the franchise has had since Megatron.

Hutchinson and Williams are future faces of the franchise however the Lions also managed to find great value in day 2 as they picked up Zach Paschal, all of a sudden Detroit appear to have great depth with their front seven. A great draft has led me to grading their draft as an A.

Green Bay Packers

Recap of players drafted

Selections: 1.22: Georgia LB Quay Walker; 1.28: Georgia DT Devonte Wyatt; 2.34: North Dakota State WR Christian Watson; 3.92: UCLA OL Sean Rhyan; 4.132: Nevada WR Romeo Doubs; 4.140: Wake Forest OL Zach Tom; 5.179: South Carolina LB Kingsley Enagbare; 7.228: Georgia Tech S Tariq Carpenter; 7.234: Miami DT Jonathan Ford; 7.249: Penn State OT Rasheed Walker; 7.258: Nebraska WR Samori Toure.

My Verdict

The Packers had two first round picks and their fans appeared rather underwhelmed as they didn’t select a wide receiver on day one to fill the void left by Davante Adams. However, the receivers that the Packers would have had their sights set on were more than likely off the board. This allowed them to secure other talents such as Quay Walker who has the ability to be a big playmaker and Devonte Wyatt who is an absolute beast, unspectacular but necessary.

The fact that the Packers traded up with NFC North rivals Minnesota to draft their wide receiver seems an expensive price to pay, ultimately the Vikings appeared to be the big winners in that trade. Yes, the Packers drafted a receiver who appears a great scheme fit however Christian Watson dropped an average 1 of every 11 of his targets. I’m not sure A-Rod will be as patient as those before him if this is a trend that continues.

Day three for the Packers appeared to be more about adding depth to what they already have. Their final pick on Samori Toure could be great value, he’s a player I had as one of the hidden gems of the receiver class and take some of those departed MVS targets for the Packers. Overall, it’s difficult to say how I’d grade this draft as a lot depends on Watson. If he makes an impact it could be a A- however for now I’m going with a B.

Minnesota Vikings

Recap of players drafted

Selections: 1.32: Georgia S Lewis Cine; 2.42: Clemson CB Andrew Booth; 2.59: LSU OG Ed Ingram; 3.66: Oklahoma LB Brian Asamoah; 4.118: Missouri CB Akayleb Evans; 5.165: Minnesota DE Esezi Otomewo; 5.169: North Carolina RB Ty Chandler; 6.184: Illinois OT Vederian Lowe; 6.191: Michigan State WR Jalen Nailor; 7.227: South Carolina TE Nick Muse.

My Verdict

As a Vikings fan I’m still a little annoyed that we traded back in the first round especially after seeing the standout safety of the class Kyle Hamilton fall to the Ravens. I still think that Andrew Booth would be a Vikings player even if we didn’t trade and therefore I feel we took a big hit on value.

Nevertheless, I am still very happy. We have one of the best safety talents of the class and Booth is an instant starter, he’s a player that fell down the board a little due to pre-draft injuries however if he stays healthy he could be the best value pick of the whole draft. Could this finally be the year we make up for our previous cornerback draft selection nightmares!

The Vikings made some great picks throughout by selecting Ed Ingram and Brian Asamoah whilst also providing cover at tight end for Irv Smith Jr who missed last season and the departed Tyler Conklin.

Overall I am impressed with our new front office in their first draft for us however… the fact we traded with our divisional rivals to allow them both to move up for a receiver to go up against us (Lions with Jameson Williams and the Packers with Christian Watson) if these players hit their full potential we could have put the nail in our own coffin in the NFC North, B.

That’s it for the NFC North. Which grades do you agree/disagree with? You can follow Luke on Twitter @MCRsBlue to keep up with his work. Keep your eyes peeled for morearticles from our great team, too!

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