Welcome to Mr. RODGERS neighborhood. The reigning NFL MVP is still looking for that elusive second Super Bowl ring. None of his division opponents have done much to close the gap, at least for the time being. They all won some, lost some in the VFA ring, while the Pack sat things out because of looming Salary Cap issues. So for the most part, any major improvement around this division is going to come from these Draft efforts. Both the PACKERS and VIKINGS have 10 Picks, while the division as a whole currently has 34 Picks.
Round 1, Pick 20 AZEEZ OJULARI OB/ER Georgia
Round 2, Pick 52 KELVIN JOSEPH CB Kentucky
Round 3, Pick 83 JAMES HUDSON OL Cincinnati
Round 5, Pick 164 ALARIC JACKSON OL Iowa
Round 6, Pick 204 JONATHAN MARSHALL DT Arkansas
Round 6, Pick 208 IAN BOOK QB Notre Dame
Round 6, Pick 221 DARRICK FORREST S Cincinnati
Round 6, Pick 228 DEON JACKSON RB Duke
The South side of Chicago is about an hour and a half from South Bend, IN and historically luvs DA BEARS to select some Domers during the NFL Draft. It was late this year, in Round 6, but the team selected IAN BOOK, the winningest QB in Fighting Irish history. He’s likely a career back-up as a pro, but don’t say that in any bar in Chi-town. If DALTON and FOLES falter, get ready for the screaming from Bears fans. OJULARI looks like an important acquisition to take some of the attention off of MACK in the pass rush. It will also likely allow the team to dispose of ROBERT QUINN’s heavy contract at least in 2022. KELVIN JOSEPH at CB is a bit raw, but you can’t argue about his ball-hawking ability and he may get the chance to prove himself as a Rookie now that FULLER has left town. The team may finally be acknowledging that their OL needs more talent. HUDSON is an athletic riser and ALARIC JACKSON was once more highly regarded at Iowa than WIRFS, now in Tampa. However, an injury in 2019 seemed to derail his career. JACKSON is more likely to battle for a job at OG, while HUDSON gets the shot outside to replace MASSIE. FORREST from Cincinnati, is underrated coming into this Draft, IMO. He may have starting potential next to JACKSON back deep.
Round 1, Pick 7 MICAH PARSONS LB Penn State
Round 2, Pick 41 JEVON HOLLAND S Oregon
Round 3, Pick 72 QUINN MEINERZ C/G UW/Whitewater
Round 3, Pick 101 ROBERT ROCHELL CB Central Arkansas
Round 4, Pick 112 TAMORRION TERRY WR Florida State
Round 5, Pick 153 ROBERT HAINSEY OL Notre Dame
Another new regime takes over in Detroit and after an up and down VFA signing period, it was time to execute the 6 Picks left to them by the old QUINN/PATRICIA regime. So HOLMES/CAMPBELL set out to get the most that they could out of those Picks. PARSONS is an immediate starter in a somewhat patch work LB group. If he’s not an immediate starter something is rotten in Michigan. HOLLAND should not have to wait long to secure a starting role either. MEINERZ and HAINSEY are both primary IOL guys, though HAINSEY might get a chance at OT if the vets don’t improve. MEINERZ has been a revelation (or mirage) since he showed up at the Senior Bowl and dominated a lot of defenders. He should fight with STENBERG for the RG slot. ROCHELL may be a bit raw to shine right away, but he looks to have better long term potential than most of their current CB crew. TERRY is a solid, physical guy (6’3/207) that should be able to handle a lot of what GOLLADAY did for them, but at a Rookie level. This is good work, with 6 useful guys. Now they all need step up as Rookies.Watch for the possibility that for the right price the Lions might move back some spots to acquire a couple of extra Picks.
Round 1, Pick 29 ELIJAH MOORE WR Ole Miss
Round 2, Pick 62 ALEX LEATHERWOOD OL Alabama
Round 3, Pick 92 MARVIN WILSON DT Florida State
Round 4, Pick 135 DIVINE DEABLO LB/SS Virginia Tech
Round 4, Pick 142 RACHAD WILDGOOSE CB Wisconsin
Round 5, Pick 173 CHRIS EVANS RB Michigan
Round 5, Pick 178 ISAIAH DUNN CB Oregon State
Round 6, Pick 214 JAYLON MOORE OL Western Michigan
Round 6, Pick 214 LUKE FARRELL TE Ohio State
Round 7, Pick 256 RAYMOND JOHNSON DE/ER Georgia Southern
Some people believe that some of the “issues” developed between RODGERS and the PACKERS management when they let his buddy, and slot guy, RANDALL COBB leave in Free Agency a f ew years ago. No one has stepped up to fill that void since. Luckily for AARON, I had the fast, quick, and elusive MOORE ranked in the 30’s making him available, perhaps in a steal. He should finally round out their receiving corps with an explosive, elusive, and elite slot guy. The only guy on the roster that may appreciate this more than AARON is a guy named ADAMS. With a late Pick, the team may have gotten the blocking TE replacement for MARCEDES LEWIS (maybe next season) in the Buckeyes FARRELL, that blocks like a demon. He also has soft hands as a receiver. In Round 2, they grabbed ALEX LEATHERWOOD, a 3-year starter for ‘Bama. He will likely get a look at RT, but may be best suited inside at OG. Either way, he should be starting somewhere soon as a talent upgrade. Another draftee that may help that OL group is JAYLON MOORE from Round 6. He too will likely get some looks at RT, but his lack of elite length may force him inside as well. CHRIS EVANS will try to add add some quality depth in the RB room with JAMAAL WILLIAMS, now with the Lions thru VFA. MARVIN WILSON may be asked to add a few pounds back on to his frame because they need him most on the Nose. DIVINE DEABLO will join their Defense as a LB/S hybrid. WILDGOOSE & DUNN will be given every chance to earn playing time on the Corners. The team felt it did not have the Cap space to bid on VFA, so they are rolling the dice that they have used their 10 Picks wisely in this Draft. This group looks a bit more promising than what they did in the 2020 Draft.
Round 1, Pick 14 JEREMIAH OWUSU-KORAMOAH OLB Notre Dame
Round 3, Pick 78 SPENCER BROWN OT N. Iowa
Round 3, Pick 90 AMON-RA ST. BROWN WR Southern Cal
Round 4, Pick 119 KELLEN MOND QB Texas A&M
Round 4, Pick 125 TREY SERMON RB Ohio State
Round 4, Pick 134 JEROME JOHNSON DT Indiana
Round 4, Pick 143 ELERSON SMITH DE/ER N. Iowa
Round 5, Pick 157 AR’DARIUS WASHINGTON S TCU
Round 5, Pick 168 TOMMY TREMBLE TE/H-B Notre Dame
Round 6, Pick 199 EVAN McPHERSON K Florida
As much as I believe in the Draft, the Vikings seem to be using it to make up for excessive spending on some of their vets. They had 15 Picks last year, and quite frankly it was too many to absorb all at once on an NFL roster. They have 10 Picks this year, and once again need to hit pay-dirt on many of them. Finding a role for the versatile/athletic OWUSU-KORAMOAH shouldn’t be be hard, but defining that role and sticking to it is essential, lest he be out there just chasing the ball around aimlessly. He has the athleticism to play every down in a defense. DT JEROME JOHNSON was a highly productive, impact player at IU. The Vikings need him in a depleted DT room. ELERSON SMITH is a pass-rushing DE with great length. He showed very well in Senior Bowl action. I know we say this every year about a couple of guys, but S WASHINGTON would be gone in Round 2, if he were 3″ taller. Great instincts, high FBI, and energy galore more than make up for his lack of size, as long as he can stay on the field. Offensively speaking, ST. BROWN may be the most important of the Rookies this season. He should fill the slot position and has a chance to contribute big things as a Rookie. SPENCER BROWN in Round 3 has the looks of an NFL starter, but N. Iowa is a lot further from the Twin Cities than the mileage might indicate. For their sake, I hope all his prep work with ex-NFL vet JOE STALEY shows out in Training Camp. Their most interesting Pick may be KELLEN MOND and trying to figure out how he fits in an Offense designed around a pocket passer like COUSINS. They have to figure that out, because right now there is no true veteran back-up for KIRK. I gave them a new Kicker with their final Pick because ZIMMER seems to obsess over his Special Teams personnel, looking for problems before they even surface at times.
Some astute picking here from everyone, and there needed to be plenty of it. Even the PACKERS needed to choose wisely and get players that will boost the team in both depth and future starters. 34 Picks for the division in total and only 5 guys from my Top 50 in that mix. Here’s hoping the VIKINGS have the time and energy to get last minute scrutiny on late Friday night, so they use those four 4th Round Picks on players that can contribute sooner rather than later. No complaints with me this time around AARON. I got you speed and quickness for the slot.
Next up, last but not least, the AFC North.