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Grading the North: How Did Bears' Divisional Opponents Fare?

Packers strengthen their secondary, while Vikings, Lions add offensive weapons

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    NEWSLETTERS

    On the opening day of the 2014 NFL Draft, there were plenty of teams who made some huge moves in order to make their rosters better. The Buffalo Bills traded up five spots in the first round to grab wide receiver Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick, giving EJ Manuel a tremendous weapon to utilize. The Cleveland Browns landed both cornerback Justin Gilbert and quarterback Johnny Manziel, positioning themselves for a huge season. The New Orleans Saints traded up as well, landing wide receiver Brandin Cooks as a new weapon for Drew Brees to take advantage of.

    All of those teams obviously had good days as they addressed issues on their rosters, but for fans of the Chicago Bears, there is a simple question that needs to be asked: how did their divisional opponents fare in the first round of the draft? To answer that query, we took it upon ourselves to grade how each team did.

    Detroit Lions: B-

    The Lions needed to get quarterback Matthew Stafford some new weapons this offseason, and they’ve done just that, signing Golden Tate and now by drafting tight end Eric Ebron with the tenth overall pick in the first round of the draft.

    The pick was a decent one by the Lions, but there were other needs that the team glossed over that they could have addressed with the selection. They still need help at the cornerback slot, and a safety like Calvin Pryor or Ha Ha Clinton Dix would have really solidified their secondary. Ebron almost has the feel of a luxury pick in a spot that the Lions needed a game-changer on the other side of the ball.

    Green Bay Packers: A-

    The Packers had several areas of need on their defense, including at the nose tackle position, but they ultimately ended up going with a safety, selecting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix out of the University of Alabama. One of the top two safeties on the board, Clinton-Dix is viewed as an explosive playmaker with great speed and on-field awareness, and he was projected as a pick that would go in the first half of the round at some point.

    By nabbing him in the 21st slot, the Packers not only addressed a huge need on their team, but also ensured that they strengthened themselves in an area where the pickings were slim in this draft. Now, the team can focus on other areas, and with a deep draft class at tackle, they should be able to do so in the next few rounds.

    Minnesota Vikings: B+

    It was certainly an eventful first round for the Vikings, as they made a couple of trades as they moved around positions. They traded down a pick so that the Browns could draft Gilbert, and with the ninth pick Minnesota nabbed linebacker Anthony Barr. As the end of the first round neared, the Vikings made a swap with the Seattle Seahawks for the 32nd pick in the draft, which they then used to draft Teddy Bridgewater.

    Getting a quarterback who was at one point projected as the top overall player in the draft is a huge get for the Vikings, and while they may have reached a bit on Barr, they still addressed another one of their needs at the linebacker position.


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