Free Press sports writer Dave Birkett details everything he knows about how the Detroit Lions fared in the 2020 NFL draft.
Detroit Free Press
Hope springs forever and there is no better example of unbridled optimism in the sport than the NFL draft.
the Detroit The Lions have universally received high marks for their 2020 draft class. But now is the time to see how the other three NFC North teams did in the draft and how it has helped their prospects for the season.
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Chicago Bears (seven choices)
Choice: Round 2: Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet (No. 43 in total), Utah CB Jaylon Johnson (50). Tour 5: Tulsa LB Trevis Gipson (155), Georgia Southern DB Kindle Vildor (163), Tulane WR Darnell Mooney (173). Channel 7: Colorado G Arlington Hambright (226), Tennessee State G Lachavious Simmons (227).
How they look: The Bears responded to their most urgent need – the quarterback (replacement or starter according to your belief in Mitchell Trubisky) – during the off season by swapping a compensatory fourth round choice at Jacksonville for the former quintessential Super player Bowl Nick Foles. They had no choice in the first round due to the 2018 trade for Khalil Mack.
They made a strange choice with their first choice by taking Kmet when they have tons of tight ends on the list, including former Pro Bowler Jimmy Graham. But they responded to an urgent need around the corner with Johnson and probably strengthened their defense to eighth with an escaped producer like Gipson.
There is little that a team can do in the repechage with seven choices and no first round. But the Bears spread their picks well on both sides of the ball and gave themselves a good chance to bounce back from an extremely disappointing 8-8 final last year.
Green Bay Packers (nine choices)
Choice: Round 1: Utah State QB Jordan Love (26). Round 2: Boston College RB A.J. Dillon (62). Round 3: Cincinnati TE Josiah Deguara (94). Round 5: Minnesota LB Kamal Martin (175). Round 6: Michigan G Jon Runyan (192), Oregon C Jake Hanson (208), Indiana OT Simon Stepaniak (209). Round 7: TCU S Vernon Scott (236), Miami DE Jonathan Garvin (242).
How they look: Picking Love sent a seismic shock across the NFL. The Packers have said they are ready to move on to franchise icon Aaron Rodgers, a likely Hall of Famer in the first round who last season led them to a 13-3 record, a Super victory Bowl. With the Packers at the dawn of a championship, it is difficult to understand why they would spend their first choice for such a low need.
The jury is very attached to Love, who has stepped back from his wonderful 2018 season. If he turns out to be the next Patrick Mahomes, general manager Brian Gutekunst will end up looking like a genius. Otherwise, Gutekunst could end up looking for another job.
The Packers want to focus on racing, so choosing Love makes sense if the team’s appraisers think Love is the real deal and too good to pass up. With the Packers’ top three picks on offense and three more on the offensive line, it is clear that the team wants to fortify an attack that ranked 18th in yards and scoring.
Minnesota Vikings (15 choices)
Choice: Round 1: LSU WR Justin Jefferson (22), TCU CB Jeff Gladney (31). Round 2: Boise State OT Ezra Cleveland (58). Tour 3: Mississippi State CB Cameron Dantzler (89). Tour 4: South Carolina DE D.J. Wonnum (117), Baylor DT James Lynch (130), Oregon LB Troy Dye (132). Tower 5: Temple CB Harrison Hand (169), Miami WR K.J. Osborn (176). Tour 6: Oregon State OT Blake Brandel (203), Michigan S Josh Metellus (205). Channel 7: Michigan State DE Kenny Willekes (225), Iowa QB Nate Stanley (244), Mississippi State S Brian Cole II (249), Washburn G Kyle Hinton (253).
How they look: With the most picks in the repechage, the Vikings went after all positions except the back and the close end. The most obvious need they filled was with Jefferson, who should replace Stefon Diggs, who was traded to Buffalo.
Cleveland was considered a good value pick in the second round and keep an eye on Dye because Mike Zimmer knows how to make linebackers into superb weapons in the double A spread blitz.
With all of this new staff and the potential it brings, it’s hard to imagine that a 10-6 playoff team hasn’t improved; they could be the favorites to win the division.
Contact Carlos Monarrez at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.