Grading the draft: NFC North
NFC NORTH REPORT CARD
1. Kevin White, WR, West Virginia (7)
2. Eddie Goldman, NT, Florida State (39)
3. Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon (71)
4. Jeremy Langford, RB, Michigan State (106)
5. Adrian Amos, FS, Penn State (142)
6. Tayo Fabuluje, OL, TCU (183)
With multiple needs, the Bears could truly take the best player available, and they stayed true to that philosophy. White needs some work on route refinement and will have to be more precise in Adam Gase's offense than he was asked to be at West Virginia. But he has all the physical tools, including exceptional size-speed combo and great big-play ability to replace Brandon Marshall. Goldman is the young, massive nose tackle they need for their conversion to a 3-4 defense. Grasu is undersized and can be overpowered, but he is technically sound, athletic, agile and he started 52 games in Oregon's up-tempo offense. Langford will begin as a complementary player behind Matt Forte and could replace him by next season. Langford may not be durable enough to be a workhorse like Forte, but he could be a significant contributor in a two-RB scheme with his speed and big-play potential. Amos brings good cover ability to a position that has been a Bears weakness for years. He's considered a good ball athlete but is a subpar tackler who doesn't play a physical game. Fabuluje has overcome some significant hurdles, and he's a raw project with just two years of college experience. But he has athleticism rarely found in a 6-foot-6, 353-pound man.
1. Laken Tomlinson, OG, Duke (28)
2. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska (54)
3. Alex Carter, CB, Stanford (80)
4. Gabe Wright, DT, Auburn (113)
5. Michael Burton, FB, Rutgers (168)
6. Quandre Diggs, CB, Texas
7. Corey Robinson, OT, South Carolina
The Lions needed a run-blocking guard, and Tomlinson is a road grader and was arguably the best guard in the draft, but it was still a reach. They also need much more production from the ground game, and Abdullah will be the most talented RB on their roster with Reggie Bush gone, though Indiana's Tevin Coleman was also available and could be a better fit as an every-down back. Carter, who is the son of former Redskins/Bears/Bengals CB Tom Carter, is the eventual replacement for 34-year old Rashean Mathis. He has all the measureables but is not a ball athlete or playmaker. Burton was described by a scout in Nolan Nawrocki's NFL Draft 2015 Preview as "your typical Jersey meathead," which is what you want in a fullback. A solid blocker, he can also catch. The Lions went back to the secondary, another area in need of improvement, with Diggs. He fits best as a slot CB because he lacks the size and deep speed to match up outside, but he's a willing tackler who plays bigger than his size (5-foot-9, 196). Robinson could be a huge steal if they can find a way to motivate him to play hard all the time. When he does, he has starter ability, but he's extremely inconsistent.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
1. Damarious Randall, DB, Arizona State (30)
2. Quinten Rollins, CB, Miami (Ohio) (62)
3. Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford (94)
4. Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan (129)
5. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA (147)
6. Aaron Ripkowski, FB, Oklahoma (206)
6. Christian Ringo, DE, La.-Lafayette (210)
6. Kennard Backman, TE, Alabama-Birmingham (213)
The Packers needed to replace CBs Travon Williams and Davon House and used their top two picks to do so. Randall is a safety-corner 'tweener with excellent coverage skills but lacks size for safety and could fit best as a nickel. Rollins is a rare athlete who played just one year of college football after four years of basketball. He is a great ball athlete who doesn't shy from contact. Montgomery is "slash" type who might be better at RB because his hands are very questionable. But he is an elite return specialist, which addresses the most glaring team weakness. ILB is another need, and Ryan was a value pick, especially if he can step in as a starter immediately, which is possible. Hundley could turn out to be a huge steal if he can get get his throwing mechanics to the level of his athleticism, which is excellent. He's a developmental project but has the size and arm strength teams covet. With a trio of 6s, the Packers rolled the dice. They got John Kuhn's possible successor in Ripkowski, who is strictly a blocker, and developmental players in Ringo and Backman.
1. Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State (11)
2. Eric Kendricks, LB, UCLA (45)
3. Danielle Hunter, DE, LSU (88)
4. T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh (110)
5. MyCole Pruitt, TE, Southern Illinois (143)
5. Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland (146)
6. Tyrus Thompson, OT, Oklahoma (185)
6. B.J. DuBose, DE, Louisville (193)
7. Austin Shepherd, OT, Alabama (228)
7. Edmond Robinson, LB, Newberry (232)
Waynes was the consensus best CB in the draft and one of the five fastest players. Paired with 2013 first-rounder Xavier Rhodes, Waynes gives them a pair of big, young, talented CBs. Kendricks in undersized, but tremendously instinctive and productive. He excels in coverage and can make plays sideline to sideline because he takes good angles and and is a student of the game. On paper, Hunter looks like a pass-rushing stud, but he lacks instincts, his production has never matched his measureables, and he's a major project who may never pan out. Clemmings has second-round talent but plummeted because of a foot injury and because he's raw and is not a quick study. He's a project but could wind up being one of the best bargains in the draft. Pruitt isn't going to destroy anyone as an in-line blocker but he was an extremely productive pass catcher, leading all D-1 tight ends in catches (81), yards (861) and touchdowns (13). Diggs can run and could be an effective receiver outside the numbers, but he lacks the bulk to go over the middle. DuBose could contribute as a rotational player but his college production was underwhelming. Thompson and Shepherd are similar underachiever types who have been injury prone and don't play with much passion. Thompson is more athletic and could become a starter, while Shepherd is good enough to make a roster but not much better. Robinson has enough speed and athleticism to make the jump from small school to the NFL.
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