2018 CPGM Interactive Mock Draft Grades – NFC North
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Minnesota Vikings @NFLDraftTalker
Minnesota’s offensive line was improved in 2017 but fell apart in the latter stages of the season due in part to attrition. There is no position group more important than the offensive line and with the 30th overall pick the Vikings selected offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey. The former Notre Dame standout has seen his stock fluctuate throughout the pre-draft process but in the pantheon of OTs in the 2018 NFL Draft Class McGlinchey offers the highest floor out of the bunch. He isn’t a dancing bear and could struggle with the more twitchy pass rushers but he’s technically sound, intelligent, tough, and should start and improve Minnesota’s offensive line immediately. In the second round the Vikings added cornerback Carlton Davis out of Auburn. Davis lacks polish but he is a man-to-man corner thru and thru and fits the mold Mike Zimmer looks for in his defensive backs. He’s going to get great coaching but as customary of a Mike Zimmer defense, he likely won’t be asked to contribute in his rookie season. With the 94th overall selection the Vikes addressed the trenches once again with Jamarco Jones out of Ohio State. I appreciate the continued effort to bolster the offensive line despite Jones having an awful scouting combine performance. A ballyhooed recruit, who never established himself as a dominant force, Jones projects more as a swing tackle than a starter but if he commits to his craft and develops a bit of a nastiness he could be a decent starter. McGlinchey is the crown jewel of the Vikings draft class while Davis offers the most upside. Corner and offensive tackle are cornerstone positions on any NFL team and to acquire players that the majority expects to be quality NFL starters, at those positions is significant. However, Minnesota has a few key players entering the final year of their respective contracts including: Stefon Diggs, Danielle Hunter and Eric Kendricks. The Vikings may not be able to re-sign all three and didn’t see fit to mitigate those potential loses.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: B-
Detroit Lions @Top2Matt
The Lions did a great job acquiring additional picks and players at value. Detroit was originally slated to make its first selection with the 20th overall pick. Instead, they made a trade with the Cleveland Browns netting them the 33rd and 35th overall picks at the top of the second round. With the additional draft capital the Lions selected running back Sony Michel and defensive tackle Taven Bryan respectively. Bryan has continued to see his stock rise throughout the pre-draft process and is probably the 2nd best interior pass rusher in the class. Sony Michel has received some first round buzz as well but represents much better value in the second round. He and free agent acquisition LeGarrette Blount offer a substantial upgrade to the battery of Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. Detroit used the 51st overall pick and their third round selection on center/guard Billy Price out of Ohio State and tight end Dalton Schultz from Stanford. Schultz isn’t exactly a household name but he may be the best run-blocking tight end in the class. He was utilized sparingly through the air but offers some upside in the passing game as well. Price is yet another prospect that has received some first round buzz and could be a steal in the mid-to-latter portion of the second round. He like Michel and Schultz serve to improve a listless running game. Detroit has relied far too heavily on the right arm of Matthew Stafford and desperately needs more balance to their offense. Adding the 2017 Remington award winner, his impressive strength/leverage and nastiness is exactly what the doctor ordered and could be the panacea to the Lions running game woes. Overall, Detroit did an excellent job of maximizing their picks selecting players at value who will make an immediate contribution, including two starters in Bryan and Price out of the gate. The Lions also made a concerted effort to improve their running game and they have done so without question. Schultz is already a better run blocker than Eric Ebron ever was and if utilized properly could thrive in the passing game between the hashes. Detroit could have opted to add more playmakers to the defensive side of the ball but Bryan is a good start.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: A-
Green Bay Packers @bdepouw09
The Green Bay Packers were in an enviable position. Perched at the 14th spot in the first round with Baker Mayfield sliding in the draft Green Bay picked up the phone and made a deal with the Cincinnati Bengals in which they swapped first round picks (14th/21st), added a third round selection (77th overall) and acquired young standout cornerback William Jackson. The Packers have struggled at every level of the defense over the last few seasons and this trade represents a coup if you ask me. With the 21st overall pick the Packers selected edge rusher Marcus Davenport out of the University of Texas San Antonio. Davenport is a bit raw but he has immense potential. The strides he made from the beginning to the end of Senior Bowl week were staggering. If he continues to get the requisite coaching he’s going to be a really good one. Christian Kirk in the second round fits like a glove as he will assume the Randall Cobb role in the slot. Kirk, like Cobb, will make an impact in the return game early on in his career. He doesn’t have the shiftiness that Cobb has or had but provides more top end speed and explosion. Tight end Mark Andrews out of Oklahoma in the third could be viewed as a luxury pick with the free agent acquisition of Jimmy Graham in town but Andrews has considerable upside in the Packers pass-first offense. Andrews has the frame to be an in-line TE, but he’s a receiver masquerading in a tight end’s body. Yet another red-zone weapon for #12. And with the 3rd rounder they picked up from the Bengals, Green Bay added speedy linebacker Jerome Baker out of Ohio State. Baker is on the smaller side and won’t be a stalwart against the run but if you line him up on the weakside and keep him clean he is going to make plays sideline-to-sideline. He possesses the requisite foot speed and movement skills to be a difference-maker in terms of pass defense at the second level. Even if he doesn’t become an every down player Baker could star in sub-packages and on special teams. I can’t say enough about the William Jackson acquisition. I’ll put it in terms everyone can understand; Jackson is the only player I have seen do a job on Antonio Brown with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger under-center. In fact, in two games during the 2017 season Jackson shut Antonio Brown out when matched up with the superstar receiver allowing no catches with 4 pass breakups on 7 targets. According to PFF, Jackson was better in coverage in 2017 than fellow 2016 draft classmate Jalen Ramsey. If he stays healthy Jackson should start to garner national recognition in 2018. I may not have gone the Mark Andrews route but I can’t complain with any of the other moves Green Bay made. They have made considerable improvements to their defense, specifically the pass defense and have added new weapons for Rodgers that I believe will do a better job of creating separation. Well done.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: A
Chicago Bears @ChiRuxinDFS
The Chicago Bears only had two picks among the Top 100 but they managed to turn that draft capital into three players. In the first round, the Bears selected edge rusher Harold Landry out of Boston College. Landry may not be an every down player by Week 1 a la Derek Barnett but his ability to bend the edge paired with Leonard Floyd gives the Bears pass rush incredible speed and the bite it needs to slow down the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, and Kirk Cousins. I think the Bears saw their desired target come off the board before they could select him with the 39th overall pick so they opted to trade out of the second round completely by entering an agreement with the Giants. The 39th overall pick netted cornerback Eli Apple and the 66th overall pick which they used to select wide receiver D.J. Chark out of LSU. Apple apparently over-stayed his welcome in New York and when last we saw him wasn’t playing particularly well. Perhaps this change of venue/locker room is what the young defensive back needs in order to realize the potential the New York Giants saw in him. At a minimum Apple adds depth at corner, a position of need for the Bears. He’s still got upside, so this is more of a calculated risk as opposed to a “no-look” dart throw. Chark is the latest playmaker added to the roster in support of Mitch Trubisky. The Tigers of LSU struggled to find a quarterback who could execute the forward pass so Chark’s counting stats aren’t all that impressive. But, his yards per reception, Senior Bowl, and Combine performances demonstrate what type of vertical threat he can be. That speed alone enhances the running game and the short-to-intermediate passing game. Solid job by the Bears during the Interactive Mock Draft; they selected a guy in Landry that I believe can affect the passer on a consistent basis. Chicago also managed to turn their second round pick into two players. One being Chark, a legitimate deep threat who can stretch the field and take pressure off of Allen Robinson and Eli Apple a toolsy cornerback that needs to get his head on right but possesses the desired physical traits at the position.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: B-
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