Draft Day needs: Defensive Tackle and Guard.
Picks in rounds 1, 2, 3, 5, (three in 6) and 7
When you look pretty dominant all season long and then get embarrassed in the NFC Championship game, the disappointment will be pretty tough to brush off your shoulders for the coming months. The Vikings showed no faith in any quarterback that was on their roster last year and let them all go in free agency. Luckily for them, they won “the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes” so that is one less position to worry about in the draft.
Having the 30th overall pick isn’t too sexy of a first round pick, but it also shows that you’re a good team that needs “just a little more” to push them to that next level. There are some pretty good guards in this draft but they’d need a miracle to land Quenton Nelson and some of luck for either Will Hernandez or Isaiah Wynn to fall to them at 30. Texas tackle Connor Williams seems like someone who just may fall to them though. In the second round, they may land a talent like USC Rasheem Green, who is a versatile and athletic defensive linemen who can line up at defensive tackle but would probably be best suited attacking from the outsides. When you’re a good team, you can also afford to be a little cute in the third round, like getting a wide receiver/special teams threat such as Dante Pettis or a guy who is a nice polished receiver like Daesean Hamilton out of Penn State. Either one of these players can go in the third or fourth, and with no fourth round pick, the Vikes would have to make up their mind quickly here. Later in the draft, watch for another sleeper pick in the receiving core like South Florida’s Marquez Valdes-Scantling, or someone to add to their defensive rotation like Ohio State’s Chris Worling.
Draft Day needs: Linebacker, Defensive tackle and Running back
Pick in every round except for the 6th:
Let’s just be honest when it comes to the Lions: they are mediocre at best. Sure with a new head coach comes a newfound optimism, but we all know what Matthew Stafford is a stat filler, who is praised by the Fantasy Football geeks that poorly masks the limitations of their roster. With the twentieth pick in the first round, their best bet is to go “best player available.” If they are lucky they should be able to get one of tho Alabama alums on their front seven. Linebacker Rashaan Evans or defensive tackle Da’ron Payne could fill right in and be a day one starter. In the second round, they could find themselves an athletic linebacker in South Carolina State’s Darius Leonard.
Offensively they’ve needed a running back since Barry Sanders, and this draft has plenty of them. The Lions, could hold out until the third or fourth and get themselves a quality back. Arizona State’s Kalen Ballage is a nice sleeper who could go in that third or fourth round area. Ballage is a big back (6’2″, 228 lbs) with power, speed and good hands who can prove to be a sleeper for any team in need of a back. With a defensive minded coach though, he may look at some sleepers on defense in the sixth and seventh rounds like Tre Flowers, safety out of Oklahoma State, Garrett Dooley, linebacker out of Wisconsin or Troy Apke, a safety out of Penn State. Apke is projected to go late in the draft, but adds some top level speed to the position.
Green Bay Packers:
Draft Day needs: Corner back, guard and tight end
Packers have 12 overall picks (one in each of the first three rounds, two in the fourth, three in the fifth, two in the sixth and two in the seventh)
The NFL is just dying to help out Aaron Rodgers, so they gave them four compensatory draft picks this season. Rodgers doesn’t like his organization or his coach much and at this point the two sides seem like a marriage who will stick it out “for the kids.” With that being said they are, as of now, the second best team in the division and need to compete with top tier teams in this league.
Although the goal with the 14th overall pick should be to take a corner, it might be hard for them to pass up a pass rusher like Marcus Davenport if he is around – but luck may be on their side and they’ll be able to nab the corner out of UCF Mike Hughes or even the safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who’s versatility all over the secondary and tackling ability would help them from day one. This is another team that can go running back crazy in the third, fourth or maybe even fifth rounds.
Jimmy Graham has been added to a list of targets for Aaron Rodgers which includes Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, but Cobb at this point is just an overpaid part of this puzzle. A sleeper wide receiver that I see fitting in well with Green Bay is Boise State’s Cedrick Wilson. He’s a hard worker, with good hands and route running ability. He’s also a tall receiver with speed who can be a red zone guy AND a deep threat. The Packers have so many picks, their scouting team must be looking at players like Wilson and even more players like him who are on an even smaller radar with a high upside. . .
Draft Day needs: Offensive Line, Linebacker, Corner back
Draft Picks: 1, 2, two in round 4, 5, 6 and 7
The Bears were the talk of last year’s draft who moved up to get “their guy,” quarterback Mitch Trubisky of UNC. Mitch didn’t look like a franchise guy last year, but the Bears barely resembled much of a football team in general in 2017. The Bears addressed their wide-receiver issue by signing Allen Robinson as their new top wideout and they even added Taylor Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton for good measure. The offensive line seems to always be an issue with the Bears, even when they get it right personnel wise – an injury or two wreaks all kinds of havoc. The Bears are hoping and praying they land Quenton Nelson, the Notre Dame guard who might not only be the best offensive lineman in the draft but one of the draft’s best players overall.
If the Bears don’t land him in the first, they may try to trade back to land either Georgia guard Isaiah Wynn or another Notre Dame talent, the tackle Mike McGlinchey. Chicago kept themselves busy in the offseason and even signed linebacker Aaron Lynch from the 49ers, but that’s not the “umph” that will help to put this linebacker rotation into the next level. Much like what was mentioned earlier with the Detroit Lions, Chicago may find themselves looking at South Carolina State’s Darius Leonard or maybe even the freakishly athletic linebacker out of Georgia, Lorenzo Carter. The Bears will look to get some depth and hopefully some sleeper talent with the corner position, and they may be able to find that in later rounds with Arizona’s Dane Cruikshank or Illinois State product Davontae Harris.