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NFC North Draft Outlook Part 1

Football, NCAAF, CFB, NFL article at Knup Sports

With the Super Bowl now over it is officially the NFL off-season. NFL teams have been able to adjust their scouting process to account for CDC and NFL guidelines. This means fewer in-person visits, less live training to watch, and more responsibility for a scouting department to do their diligence to identify the talent that can help the team.

For some teams that is easier said than done. Never let Ryan Pace and the Chicago Bears forget the fact that they chose Mitchell Trubisky, a one-year starter at UNC over national champion and Heisman Trophy finalist Deshaun Watson.

Or that the Eagles took JJ Arcega-whiteside over DK Metcalf, Darius Slayton, Diontae Johnson, and Parris Campbell. That’s just the wide receivers they could have drafted.

This article will look at the NFC North and breakdown the team needs and draft capital available for the upcoming April 2021 Draft.

Green Bay Packers 2021 Draft Guide

  • 2020 record: (13-30 NFC North Champions, Lost in NFC title game
  • Draft Picks:
    • RD1 #29
    • RD2 #62
    • RD3 #93
    • RD4 #126
    • RD5 #157
    • RD6 # 190
    • RD7 #221
  • Team Needs
    • Tier 1: CB, WR, LB
    • Tier 2: IDL, IOL, S
    • Tier 3: RB, TE, OT 

Matt Lafleur will never be able to live down his decisions from the NFC title game. The play calling was questionable most of the game, he relied too heavily on Aaron Rodgers’ greatness and failed to capitalize on multiple Buccaneers turnovers. Still the team is in an overall better position than when Mike McCarthy was in command.

Aaron Rodgers MVP season should not keep the Packers from giving him more help. Devonte Adams had a phenomenal season, but it was evident in the NFC title game that when he wasn’t performing well the Packers were extremely limited.

The Packers’ biggest needs are cornerback, wide receiver, and linebacker. The Packers need to bring in either a free agent wide receiver or actually utilize another deep wide receiver class to help. At pick 29 the top corners will already be off the board. Leaving either LB or WR as the options.

The Packers will need to make some money-saving decisions on players like Christian Kirksey (LB) and Preston Smith (Edge). The Packers failed to draft a single WR last year. Despite Aaron Rodgers winning MVP he isn’t getting any younger and QB in waiting Jordan Love will need weapons as well.

I like Terrance Marshall JR (WR-LSU) or Kadarius Tony (Slot WR- UF) in this spot to help free up pressure on Devonte Adams. If the Packers look for WR help in free agency Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is an athletic and intelligent LB that can work the middle as well as the blitz.

Chicago Bears 2021 Draft Guide

  • 2020 Record (8-8)
  •  Draft Picks
    • RD1 #20
    • RD2 #52
    • RD3 #83
    • RD5 #163
    • RD6 # 83
    • RD6 #218
    • RD6 #223
  • Team Needs
    • Tier 1: QB, WR, OT
    • Tier 2: IOL, CB, EDGE
    • Tier 3: RB, IDL, LB

The fate of the entire coaching staff and front office members hinges on this draft. In other words, they should probably dust off their resumes. The Bears have been one of the more confusing teams in recent years.

They will go on short runs rattling off four straight wins and make viewers believe they have finally clicked, only for them to get blown out and lose three or more games in a row. The defense has undoubtedly been the heart of this team ever since the Khalil Mack trade in 2018.

Here are splits between the offensive and defensive rankings over the past three years

2018: D #1/ O #4

2019: D #4/O #29

2020: D #12/ O #23

For an offensive-minded coach, Matt Nagy’s offenses have been pretty bad. 2018 was his first year as head coach so teams didn’t have the film to study his schemes. After being able to adapt to the Bears’ schemes, teams have had success against their offense.

Having Mitchell Trubisky certainly has not helped Nagy either. This is why the collaborative efforts of head coach, general manager, and scouting department is so important. If they aren’t all on the same page and working together then a team will end up with a bunch of players a coach can’t use.

The Bears are in a tough spot. They don’t have much cap space, Nick Foles is the only QB under contract, an old and depleted offensive line, an aging defense, and not a lot of draft capital.

There is no way the Bears bring back Trubisky, the experiment has blown up. Picking 20th is too far for a quality QB prospect. The front office regime can’t fall back on a rebuild and need immediate impact players.

Look for the Bears to try to surround Foles with some offensive help. Alijah Vera-Tucker (USC) is an incredibly clean offensive line 1st round prospect after securing pass-blocking grades of 87.9 and 84.2 at left guard and left tackle, respectively, the past two seasons.

A late-round pick up to watch is Tamorrian Terry. Poor QB play hurt his production at FSU but he possesses the speed (4.49) and size (6’4 205) that can translate to the NFL.

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