clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL Draft grades 2016: Bears lead the way in NFC North, Packers get slew of Bs

The Bears landing a promising pass rusher pleased the draft-industrial complex.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

With the 2016 NFL Draft done and dusted, it's time to pore over the grades handed out to see which teams were perceived to have come away with hauls worth touting.

In the NFC North, the Minnesota Vikings are looking to make sure that their 2015 division title isn't just a blip on the Green Bay Packers' radar. To that end, they wanted to upgrade Teddy Bridgewater's arsenal of wide receivers in the draft, and continue to add depth to a secondary that had to turn to ancient Terence Newman late last season.

The Packers' greatest need immediately after the 2015 season was the return to health of Jordy Nelson, which had nothing to do with the NFL Draft, but B.J. Raji's surprising decision to take a one-year hiatus from the game made defensive tackle a position of need for Green Bay. Ted Thompson also wanted to get Clay Matthews back outside with the acquisition of an inside linebacker, and after a rash of injuries led to a thin offensive line putting Aaron Rodgers in more danger than usual, depth up front was a key.

The Chicago Bears haven't been to the playoffs since 2010, and didn't seem particularly close to a return in 2015 under John Fox, but did improve by a game on a disastrous 2014 season. Now, they're aiming to remake themselves in Fox's image, restoring a defense that had aged past its sell-by date at the end of the Lovie Smith era and scuttled Marc Trestman's stint in the Windy City. A premier pass rusher was their most crucial need entering the draft.

Detroit's fortunes changed for the worse when Calvin Johnson announced his stunning retirement early in 2016, and left the Lions needing to do something to replace their potential Hall of Famer's production.

Chicago Bears

The Bears' first pick was their most controversial: Leonard Floyd has the skills and athleticism to be a potentially disruptive edge rusher, but he may not have the size to meaningfully play the run, leaving the Bears hoping he doesn't turn into the second coming of Barkevious Mingo. From there on, the Monsters of the Midway just made valuable pick after valuable pick. Cody Whitehair was maybe the draft's best guard, and has position versatility. Jonathan Bullard gives the Bears a different kind of defensive end to pair with Floyd. Nick Kwiatkowski is a hard-nosed run-stopper. Daniel Braverman could be the sort of annoying slot receiver the Bears haven't had in quite some time.

SB Nation: B+
CBS Sports: A
Sports Illustrated: B
Pro Football Focus: A-

Detroit Lions

The Lions needed tackle help, and picked Taylor Decker to pair him with Riley Reiff as bookends for several years. A'Shawn Robinson provides needed menace for a line that lost Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in recent years (and can't count on Haloti Ngata forever), and Miles Killebrew is a third-level pounder with a wonderful name for delivering bone-jarring hits from the safety position. But Jake Rudock was an odd pick at quarterback with some more intriguing sleepers on the board, and the lack of a wide receiver means the onus is almost entirely on former Bengal Marvin Jones to step into the massive void left by Calvin Johnson's retirement.

SB Nation: B
CBS Sports: B-
Sports Illustrated: B
Pro Football Focus: C

Green Bay Packers

The Packers' haul was solid, but thoroughly unspectacular -- only one of the team's seven picks was at a position that lines up outside the tackle box. Green Bay went with consistency and versatility when it grabbed UCLA defensive tackle Kenny Clark over players like Myles Jack and Robert Nkemdiche in the first round, and nabbed a fine developmental tackle in Indiana's Jason Spriggs in the second round, even if Ted Thompson had to execute a rare trade up to do it. Linebackers Kyler Fackrell and Blake Martinez could help alleviate the pressure on Clay Matthews to excel at both inside and outside linebacker roles, and allow him to move back outside to his natural position. There's not much to rave about here, but nothing to hate, either.

SB Nation: B-
CBS Sports: B
Sports Illustrated: B
Pro Football Focus: B

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings managed to grab two of the draft's better talents in Laquon Treadwell and Mackensie Alexander -- especially for position -- without giving up anything to move and get them. While Treadwell isn't a burner and Alexander had no interceptions in his collegiate career, each was among college football's most talented players, and both picks filled needs nicely. Analysts also loved the pickup of Missouri tackling machine Kentrell Brothers, and the use of a sixth-rounder on intriguing German wideout Moritz Boehringer and a seventh-rounder on Alexander's Clemson teammate Jayron Kearse gives the Vikings some upside at the back end of their draft class.

SB Nation: A-
CBS Sports: B-
Sports Illustrated: B
Pro Football Focus: B-