The 2022 NFL Draft was very important in different ways for each and every NFC North Team. Some teams needed to fill a few key spots, while others needed to fill many more. Some needed “splash” picks, while others needed stable picks. You get what I mean. Anyways, our first action in the NFL involving these rookies is coming up in training camp, so I thought it would be fun to give my thoughts on all of the NFC North Team’s draft, including an added opinion of the best, worst, and most intriguing picks from each.
#1: Detroit Lions – 9/10
The team with the best 2021 draft class is the Detroit Lions; who’s draft seemed to go exactly how their fans wanted it to: with splash picks in all the right places.
In the 2021-2022 NFL season, the Lions had the 28 ranked rush defense. In response, they used the second overall pick on Aidan Hutchinson, the best edge rusher in college football last year. Along with that, they were able to snag Josh Paschal, a player I personally loved watching in college just because of how involved he got in each play. Those two being paired together may make for a great potential future duo. While the Lions focused the majority of their draft towards defense (where six out of their eight picks went), they did not go without a splash pick on offense. After trading up with the Minnesota Vikings to acquire the twelfth overall pick, the Lions took Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams. With speed, route running and great football and receiving IQ, Lions fans hope Williams can be a great player for them for years to come. To put all of this into simple terms, this was a great and franchise-turning draft for the Detroit Lions.
#2: Minnesota Vikings – 8/10
Coming in at the second best draft in the NFC North: the Minnesota Vikings. The new Vikings management approached the draft heavily relying on trades; and I think it’s safe to say that it worked.
It was no surprise to anyone what the Vikings selected with their first two picks: secondary and secondary. However, it was surprising as to who they drafted. Not only were they able to steal Andrew Booth in the second round, but were also able to acquire Lewis Cine, a very solid safety for the best defense in college football. Cline shows great signs of intelligence, speed, and aggressiveness. Following these picks, the Vikings gathered three more defenders in the next four picks, and in total had five defensive picks and five offensive. Overall, this Vikings draft was very good because it filled the positions that they desperately needed help at and used lower remaining picks on players with potential to improve their other lacking positions.
#3: Green Bay Packers – 7.5/10
The third best draft in the NFC North came from the Green Bay Packers. As the Packers have few key holes and more leniency in their picks, players who had potential were obviously the attraction for the Packers management.
Green Bay started their draft by selecting two players from the great Georgia defense: Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt. Wyatt was a great pick, but Walker simply wasn’t. Walker is not a particularly special player, and there were better and equivalent options later on in the draft. With the Packers already rostering De’Vondre Campbell, an all-pro inside linebacker, the selection made even less sense. The brightside for the loyal cheeseheads is that the Packers have historically been great at developing interior linebackers, meaning it’s not likely for Walker to stay in a limited role. Following this, the Packers had some very interesting picks to address their more pressing needs. Along with the high-risk, high-reward receiver of Christian Watson, the Packers also picked Romeo Doubs, and both could fit in very well alongside Aaron Rodgers. Additionally, the Packers added great value picks in offensive linemen Zach Tom and Sean Rhyan, who can both play a plethora of positions on the offensive line. After four straight offensive picks, the Packers did a 180, drafting three defensive players in a row. This draft was a clear indicator that the Packers wanted an equal spread of their picks, as five went to the defense and six went to the offense. Following the selection of Quay Walker, this was a really good draft by the Packers, as they ultimately gained many players that have high potential to be great in future years.
#4: Chicago Bears – 6/10
To finish it off, the worst draft in the NFC North belongs to the Chicago Bears. With the Bears, each pick was more solid than splashy. This was certainly a different draft than what Bears fans expected, but it still gives Bears fans reasons to be excited.
Similar to the Vikings, the Bears started off with selections of a cornerback and safety to add to their secondary, which ranked 31 in the league last year according to Pro Football Focus. While one of those selections was expected to be on a wide receiver, both picks were an attempt to select the best player on the draft board. For their third selection, the Bears ended up getting a receiver, but not exactly the type we thought. Velus Jones Jr. was a stud returner and all around player at Tennessee. While Jones Jr. was successful at Tennessee, he is not regarded as the much needed wide receiver two the Bears need to support second year quarterback Justin Fields. After the first three picks, the Bears made the offensive line a priority by using four of the next six selections to bolster one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. This brought the selection of new Bears to four defensive players, six offensive players, and one special teams player. In general, they were all good and reasonable picks for the Bears in the 2022 draft, however they largely failed to address the gaping holes in the team.
With training camp and the season coming up, I can’t wait to see all of these players in action. I hope all of you are excited to see the impact that these players have for your team. The 2022 NFL draft will be one each team’s fandom talks about for years to come!