You would be hard pressed to find a more intriguing division in football right now to draft for then the NFC North. Chicago owns the number one overall pick and seems intent to trade it. The Lions have two first round picks and could go in a number of directions. The Packers are poised to trade away aging veteran QB Aaron Rodgers. And finally, the Vikings were a fraudulent playoff team last year with many holes on the roster, how do they seal over their many problems? This article is gonna breakdown a first round mock with all four NFC North teams and provide explanations for each move.
QB Anthony Richardson, Florida
DT Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh
Lions fans may hate this but this is a phenomenal first round if the Lions want to be contenders now and in the future. To start, Lions fans please stop pretending Jared Goff is your future at QB. Last year’s Super Bowl winners and perennial playoff contenders the Los Angeles Rams drop kicked Goff out the building the moment they had a chance at an upgrade and for good reason. Goff is a good quarterback no question about that. But his upside is relatively low, maybe top ten if you are really lucky in any given season. Anthony Richardson is the perfect QB for Detroit. A hard working, ultra athletic player that, while doesn’t necessarily need to sit his rookie year sitting could certainly help him. The Lions could even sit him for two seasons if really needed, although this is very unlikely. Then at pick 18 the Lions are taking DT Calijah Kancey. Kancey is an undersized DT that exploded onto the scene at the combine this past weekend. An uber athlete, pairing Kancey with an already good pass rushing unit could certainly increase the upside of this Lions defense. Unfortunately with being undersized, he is somewhat of a liability in run defense, but this can be worked around with an addition of a veteran run defender in free agency.
Trade – Chicago Sends:
Pick 1, 2024 5th, Carolina Sends:
Pick 9, 39, 2024 1st, 2024 3rd, Edge Brian Burns
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
After much consideration Chicago ends up sending the first overall pick to the Carolina Panthers for a haul including a first and third in 2024 and Edge Brian Burns. Chicago has all of the money in the world and Burns is soon gonna need to be given an extension. Who better than the Bears who at the moment have nobody on the defensive line. The Bears also receive several picks to continue to build the roster, while receiving an extra first next year as insurance if Jusin Fields does not take a step forward in 2023. Very similar fashion to the Philadelphia Eagles last offseason. With pick nine in the draft the Bears selected Justin Fields former Ohio State teammate Jaxon Smith Njigba. Pairing any QB with their former college receivers is a good idea. But the Bears are incredibly desperate for playmakers. The Claypool trade appears to have been a bust so far and Mooney and Velus Jones Jr. do not make a quality receiving corp. The Bears have holes in every position on the roster, but the priority should be giving Justin Fields all the help he needs in order to develop.
Green Bay Packers
– Green Bay Sends:
QB Aaron Rodgers, New York Jets Send:
Pick 13, 2024 2nd (Becomes a 1st if Rodgers plays in 2024.)
Edge Nolan Smith, Georgia
TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
Green Bay’s entire offseason is surrounded in a shroud of mystery with the Aaron Rodgers situation. In this mock Rodgers gets shipped to New York in exchange for pick 13 and a future 2nd that can be turned into a 1st if Rodgers plays in 2024. With the Jets pick at pick 13 the Packers obviously need to continue their obsession with the Georgia defense. The team selects Nolan Smith, a freak athlete on the edge who can rotate in with Preston Smith in his rookie season. This insurance allows for the team to possibly free up money in 2024 by cutting Preston Smith, opening up money for a Rashan Gary extension. At pick 15 the team finally adds a real TE to its offense in Michael Mayer. Mayer is not some athletic receiving freak, rather he is a well balanced TE that can block but also play a role in the underneath passing offense for Jordan Love. Mayer will transition into the hybrid role of Allen Lazard who served as a defacto blocking TE for the Packers but he will also become another playmaker in an offense that is desperate for receiving weapons still.
WR Zay Flowers, Boston College
The Vikings have many different ways they can go in the draft. But a sneaky, not talked about need is WR. The team has Justin Jefferson but after that there are question marks surrounding Adam Thielen who may end up as a cap casualty and even if not, has clearly lost a step the last year. K. J. Osborn shined as a low end third receiver but with this the team still needs another option in the receiving game. Zay Flowers is a fast and shifty receiver who would bring a unique skillset to this Vikings offense, one that would allow them to continue to roll with Kirk Cousins at QB and fight for the playoffs every year.
This mock draft went very heavy on the playmakers, something that could easily become reality for all of these teams this April. If all four of these end up with drafts like this, the NFC North could very well become a bloodbath in the chase for the playoffs in 2023. Only time and free agency will be able to tell what each of these four teams will actually end up doing, but all of these picks and trades are very realistic options.
[…] more muddy then it once was. The Chicago Bears have traded the first overall pick to the Panthers. (Check out the last version of this, this trade was called already!) The Lions have gone from a weakness in their secondary into their secondary being a great one. The […]