NFC North NFL Draft Grades: Vikings Smartly Trade Up; Packers Reach

Teddy-Bridgewater-VIkingsThe Minnesota Vikings might have finally solved their need at quarterback.

Drafting Christian Ponder No. 12 overall three years ago turned out to be a mistake, so the Vikings jumped at the chance to trade back into the first round of the 2014 NFL draft to select quarterback Teddy Bridgewater when the Seattle Seahawks offered on Thursday.

The Vikings might have found their franchise signal-caller, the Chicago Bears filled a big need in their front seven, the Detroit Lions added another offensive weapon and the Green Bay Packers hedged their bets to find another wide receiver.

NESN.com will grade the picks made in each division this week, so let’s see how the NFC North teams fared.

CHICAGO BEARS

Round 1, No. 14 overall: Kyle Fuller, cornerback, Virginia
Round 2, No. 51 overall: Ego Ferguson, defensive tackle, LSU
Round 3, No. 82 overall: Will Sutton, defensive tackle, Arizona State
Round 4, No. 117 overall: Ka’Deem Carey, running back, Arizona
Round 4, No. 131 overall: Brock Vereen, safety, Minnesota
Round 6, No. 183 overall: David Fales, quarterback, San Jose State
Round 6, No. 191 overall: Pat O’Donnell, punter, Miami
Round 7, No. 246 overall: Charles Leno, Jr., offensive tackle, Boise State

Apparently, the Bears weren’t very confident with their defensive tackles going into the 2014 season. Chicago has to assume that either Ferguson or Sutton can take over for Henry Melton, who left in free agency to the Cowboys.

Fuller could wind up being the best cornerback in this draft class, and Vereen and Fales could look like steals a few years down the road.

Grade: B

DETROIT LIONS

Round 1, No. 10 overall: Eric Ebron, tight end, North Carolina
Round 2, No. 40 overall: Kyle Van Noy, linebacker, BYU
Round 3, No. 76 overall: Travis Swanson, center, Arkansas
Round 4, No. 133 overall: Nevin Lawson, cornerback, Utah State
Round 4, No. 136 overall: Larry Webster III, defensive end, Bloomsburg
Round 5, No. 158 overall: Caraun Reid, defensive tackle, Princeton
Round 6, No. 189 overall: T.J. Jones, wide receiver, Notre Dame
Round 7, No. 229 overall: Nate Freese, kicker, Boston College

Ebron adds another dangerous weapon to a Lions offense that already features Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Reggie Bush. Van Noy is versatile linebacker who can cover, rush the passer and defend the run.

Webster will be a project, and it always seems like a bit of a waste to draft a kicker.

Grade: B

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Round 1, No.21 overall: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, safety, Alabama
Round 2, No. 53 overall: Davante Adams, wide receiver, Fresno State
Round 3, No. 85 overall: Khyri Thornton, defensive tackle, Southern Miss
Round 3, No. 98 overall: Richard Rodgers, tight end, California
Round 4, No. 121 overall: Carl Bradford, linebacker, Arizona State
Round 5, No. 161 overall: Corey Linsley, center, Ohio State
Round 5, No. 176 overall: Jared Abbrederis, wide receiver, Wisconsin
Round 6, No. 197 overall: Demetri Goodson, cornerback, Baylor
Round 7, No. 236 overall: Jeff Janis, wide receiver, Saginaw Valley State

The Packers certainly loaded up on wide receivers, and they’re nearly guaranteed to hit on one of Adams, Abbrederis and Janis. Clinton-Dix was the perfect fit for the Packers’ defense, but Rodgers was a bit of a reach at No. 98 after the top tight ends were off the board.

Grade: B

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Round 1, No. 9 overall: Anthony Barr, defensive end, UCLA
Round 1, No. 32 overall: Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback, Louisville
Round 3, No. 72 overall: Scott Crichton, defensive end, Oregon State
Round 3, No. 96 overall: Jerick McKinnon, running back, Georgia Southern
Round 5, No. 145 overall: David Yankey, guard, Stanford
Round 6, No. 182 overall: Antone Exum, cornerback, Virginia Tech
Round 6, No. 184 overall: Kendall James, cornerback, Maine
Round 7, No. 220 overall: Shamar Stephen, defensive tackle, Connecticut
Round 7, No. 223 overall: Brandon Watts, linebacker, Georgia Tech
Round 7, No. 225 overall: Jabari Price, cornerback, North Carolina

The Vikings obviously felt they needed help in the pass rush after losing Jared Allen to the Bears. Barr is a high-upside player who can play linebacker or defensive end, and Crichton can play left defensive end on first and second down and slide inside in sub packages.

Apparently, the Vikings think Bridgewater can be the face of their franchise, which other teams reportedly were concerned about. Bridgewater could make the Vikings look like geniuses for trading back up into the first round.

Grade: B+

Check out our other draft grades: AFC East|NFC East|AFC North|AFC South|NFC South

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